At Paradigm San Francisco, we strive to be aware of all the different aspects that make each teen unique, and maintain sensitivity in working with youth that come from all different backgrounds. To address the specific, unique needs of teens of divorced parents, we make efforts to ensure that any potential conflicts or tensions are not only addressed, but supported, through this challenging time.
We understand that divorce can be a very difficult process, even despite it becoming increasingly common. Though of course every family is different, divorce can be difficult for teens to process because they’re at a unique time in life when they’re discovering who they are and how they fit into the world. Therefore, when something as rudimentary as the family unit shifts, it can be difficult for teens to adjust and understand their place in this new context. Divorce can especially be difficult on adolescents in circumstances where there have been traumatic experiences and/or if the teens are already struggling with something like a mental health or substance abuse disorder. Especially in instances where teens are already struggling with debilitating symptoms and/or skewed belief systems, it can be even harder for teens to accurately process what’s happening.
While it’s difficult to say exactly what effects a divorce has had on a teenager, because we design all of our treatment plans individually, we’re able to build in all pertinent affects, right alongside other factors such as symptoms, current struggles, academic challenges, and relationships. At the heart of all of our therapy programs is supporting teens to process and address what they’re going through with their families, including families with divorced parents. Because we understand that in some cases, the leftover pain and tension between divorced parents can still be palpable, our therapists will approach family therapy with patience and sensitivity, knowing that it may be difficult at first for teens and parents to work together and speak together, especially in this vulnerable time. Throughout family sessions we are committed to working with teens and parents in such a way that we can create a safe, comfortable, and supportive place for everyone to be involved and present, for the sake of the teen. Even in circumstances where this might be quite challenging at the beginning, what we’ve seen is that very often this experience not only is invaluably beneficial for the teen, but truly, for everyone involved.
Beyond the family therapy sessions, therapists will also work with teens to incorporate and address their experiences of divorce, within their broader treatment team. Additionally, Paradigm San Francisco offers a number of supplemental support systems and groups for parents, such as our Parent Effectiveness Training program.