Social Health

 

Teenage friends (15-18) taking photo of themselves on beach, smiling --- Image by © Ocean/Corbis

 

In addition to the important physical and mental development which adolescents experience, there are also an important number of social milestones, during the teen years.  Unfortunately, sometimes mental health and/or substance abuse disorders can disrupt and/or negatively affect these important social developments.  In order to help teens address their social needs and support them in forming healthy social relationships, we’ve designed a Social Health program, which is incorporated into all teen treatment plans here at Paradigm San Francisco.

During adolescence, peer relationships are very important and therefore, we work with teens to develop the skills necessary to interact socially and form healthy peer relationships.  To this end, our therapists work with teens to create a healthy, supportive group environment in which teens can practice participating and sharing.  While therapists guide these groups intentionally as to be therapeutic, they also allow for dynamics to play out organically, as teens learn how to communicate in health ways with each other.  By allowing teens the opportunities to “practice” engaging in social situations, such as outings, community activities, group discussions, and other activities, the teens are able to build comfort and confidence in these situations, and no longer need to turn to drugs or alcohol, in order to relate or “connect” with others.

 

The Twelve Steps

At Paradigm San Francisco, we incorporate the 12-steps as one useful therapeutic tool, in treating teens with mental health and substance abuse disorders.  For many teens, the 12-step community can provide a strong community of support for teens, as well as providing them with helpful, tangible practices to help them create healthier social relationships in their lives.  Many of the support groups are excellent environments in which teens can share experiences, inspire and encourage each other, confide, and gain hope.  To read more about our use of the 12-Step Program, click here.

 

Social Skills Training Curriculum

At Paradigm San Francisco we also offer a social skills curriculum which has been designed specifically for youth, struggling with substance abuse and/or mental health conditions.  Different aspects of this curriculum may be interwoven or focused on in a number of different groups, so that teens continue to practice and progress in their healthy interactions with others.  Just a few of the skills which we focus on within this curriculum include: Practicing New Reactions to Anger; Creating Clear Statements of Goals; How to Solve Arguments; How to Address Embarrassment; How to Share Feelings; How to Refuse Drugs; and different skills revolving around relaxing and decreasing stress. To read more about our use of the Social Skills curriculum, click here.

 

Sober-Social Recreational Activities

One aspect of our Social Skills program is to reorient and familiarize youth with new, productive, fun sober activities.  Because many teens with us at Paradigm San Francisco may have spent recent months in an environment that revolved around drug and/or alcohol use, it’s often very helpful to “remind” teens as to how to enjoy their lives sober. Some of the specific sober activities we incorporate for teens include things such as:

  • theater outings
  • sport games
  • horseback riding
  • art projects
  • museum outings
  • surfing
  • hiking
  • beach time
  • amusement parks

All the different aspects of our Teen Social Skills program are interwoven into our teen treatment plans, in order to support teens in all aspects of their lives, and prepare them to return home to new and improved, healthier home environments and lifestyles.