At Paradigm San Francisco, we incorporate traditional and progressive therapeutic modalities, in order to provide teens with the most positive, precise, and effective treatment experiences possible. In order to do so, we design treatment plans from a holistic approach, from the belief that mental, physical, and emotional health can’t be separated and therefore, shouldn’t be treated separately either. Along these lines, many of the different programs and modalities we offer here are of an interdisciplinary nature, which support teens’ mental, physical, and emotional health, as well as the connections thereof. One of these programs is our Teen Meditation Therapy, which is part of our Alternative Therapies programs. While the term meditation can have a range of meanings of varying spirituality, in the therapeutic context it means to create a mind-body connection, which serves to calm the mind and relax the body.
With the goal of treating and supporting all aspects of teens’ health and well-being, we must view their current struggles and symptoms from this standpoint as well. For example, symptoms of anxiety can aggravated by environmental or relational factors, but can also be triggered by hormonal imbalances and/or endocrine system disruptions and can even be affected by food allergies, which disrupt the digestive system. Therefore, when designing treatment, we want to examine and address all different present factors, so that the teens have the best possible opportunity to make full and lasting recovery. To this end, one of the wonderful benefits of Teen Meditation Therapy is it can be used to address physical, mental, and emotional symptoms, all at once.
Meditation as a therapy continues to become more prevalent in the treatment realm in the United States and the world, including treatment for mental and physical therapy, as well as clinics and hospitals. Research has shown Meditation to be useful for a number of different aspects, including but not limited to treatment of: high blood pressure, anxiety, chronic stress, chronic pain, PTSD, blood cortisol levels, depression, and more.
One of the important aspects of our mental health and substance abuse treatment plans here at Paradigm San Francisco is we teach teens skills and tools that teens can practice, in order to navigate challenges, in healthy ways. For many of the teens that we work with, it’s common to experience a quick rush of incoming thoughts, which might be the beginning of any number of cycles, including things like panic attacks, negative judgments, acts of self-harm, and/or other negative symptoms. Meditation can be a very useful tool to help teens to slow down their thoughts and gradually learn to observe them. By learning to do this, teens can gain the power to overcome those triggering thoughts, thereby avoiding the more severe symptoms.
There are many different types of meditation. Some of the meditation techniques we commonly teach here at Paradigm San Francisco include breathing exercises and visualization. Breathing exercises usually involve some simple intentional breathing that serves to help teens tune into their bodies, and create a connection between their minds and bodies. An example of a breathing exercise might be to inhale and exhale for a certain count, while listening to the breath. Breathing exercise also help to slow down the mind, as the mind gets “distracted” by having to focus on the sound of the breath. An example of visualization might be to lead teens to try to visualize a certain “happy or positive space,” when they are starting to feel poorly. By visualizing specific aspects of this positive space, such as what it feels like, looks like, and sounds like, again teens’ minds slow down and they’re able to find the space and time to fight off the negative symptoms, which they’re usually prone to.
Our Teen Meditation Therapy is always taught by a professional therapist, highly skilled in Meditation Therapy. Our Teen Meditation Therapy sessions are incorporated in conjunction with teens’ other talk therapy and group therapy sessions.