Therapeutic Approach to Treatment

Family First Adolescent Services specializes in treating mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD, as well as substance abuse disorders related to the use of drugs and alcohol. Our Residential  clients attend weekly Individual Therapy Sessions, Family Therapy Sessions, and Group Therapy with their primary counselor. We believe it is critical to have a clinician involved in the daily lives of clients, which is why all clients have onsite access to a full-time Master’s level therapist to address issues as they arise.

Our clinical staff comes from a diverse range of backgrounds – each having a wealth of training and experience in their particular field. We promise to give every one of our clients the understanding, support, and care they deserve. By incorporating a blend of motivational interviewing, cognitive behavioral therapy, solution-focused therapy, and family systems therapy, we ensure that our clients receive the most comprehensive and relevant treatment available.

The Family First Adolescent Services theoretical approach to treating mental health disorders such as PTSD, early childhood traumaanxiety, and depression rely heavily on a comprehensive treatment philosophy. Our treatment incorporates dialectical behavior therapy, reality therapy, NueroAffective Relational Model (NARM), and psychodynamic psychotherapy to provide clients and their families with the support they need.

As part of our therapeutic approach to treating adolescents who struggle with addiction to drugs or alcohol, we host in-house Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings. Clients are recommended to obtain a sponsor. Sponsors will meet with the Family First staff and clients onsite in order to complete step work.

It is our goal to transform lives. We want every person who passes through the doors at Family First Adolescent Services to have the required tools to be the best version of themselves. We want them to live a life of meaning and fulfillment. A life free of substance abuse and the difficulties of an untreated mental health disorder. 

base clinical programming

The following is what we call “the base” of our programming. Every client will go through these stages while in treatment with us. In addition to this work, there are weekly “focuses” that the whole group is involved in. These focuses are to build group cohesion and self-esteem while clients are going through the ups and downs of the base clinical program.

  • Origins Stage

    Brother – At intake, clients will be paired with a peer who is close to or on the demonstration phase to tour facility and go over general house rules and expectations.

    Banyan Egg – The Banyan Egg is a two-part exercise that incorporates a visual display of clients’ perceived family system, personal beliefs, and major life events. The exercise allows clients to take an inventory of emotional pain that took place in their lives and begin to identify, and challenge, belief systems created during these times. Clients are provided a template, worksheet, and counselor assistance to draw out all of these events and relationships. After completion, clients present their egg to the group. After this presentation, clients have another session with their egg where they flip it upside down to draw a visual display of those who they feel “carried” them through rough times.

    Testimony – Clients share their life story now that the large pieces of the past have been described in detail during the egg presentation. This gives the group and staff an idea of other potential issues that client is facing in daily living. This process is also important for clients to understand that treatment isn’t only about major issues, and that things that seem “small” can make a large impact on recovery.

  • Core Stage

    The Mask – This assignment focuses on our clients’ defense mechanisms and how they avoid confrontation and rules. A paper mache mask is created by clients and designed with art that represents the ways that the client defends themselves against perceived threats. This mask is hung above their bed once completed and shared about.

    Love letter – The love letter is a template that teaches clients how to communicate fully with someone they care about. This letter ranges from anger to regret to fondness for the one they love. Clients identify and express the full spectrum of emotions that are attached to a close relationship.

  • Change Stage

    Sobriety Definition – Client describes what sobriety means to them (do cigarettes count, or drinking). Sobriety is broken down in this assignment to physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual behavior. Client presents their definition of sobriety to the group.

    Creation of an action plan – Clients create a discharge plan with their counselor and family that outlines the continuing care plans for both the client and the family upon discharge. This plan includes treatment recommendations, boundaries in the home, and consequences that are family driven if client isn’t able to maintain appropriate behavior after treatment.

    Peer evaluation – Clients is paired with a peer and reviews what four aspects of themselves they feel are crucial to change if they are going to have success outside of the residentail setting. Clients then complete a visual display of the behaviors or attitudes that need to change in them and hang this as a poster in their room. As clients fall back into those defaults, their peer support puts a check mark on the board. Clients are able to track their emotional/behavioral progress based on this exercise.

    Family Remodel – Clients’ families attend Family Program and have their first face-to-face session with their son. Clients and families both review the ways that their perceptions, communication, and behavior need to be remodeled in the home. By this time, parents and clients should have different insights on the family system and their roles in the positives and negatives in the home.

  • Demonstration Stage

    Be a Brother – Clients at this stage are expected to assist new peers entering treatment with getting settled and comfortable in the residential setting. Clients will greet and show new clients the property as well as explain expectations and the program.

education

We recognize the importance of education in the lives of our clients.

Family First Adolescent Services class room. Teen rehab center in Palm Beach Gardens, FL.

We recognize the importance of education in the lives of our clients. Students who reside at the Family First Residential Treatment Program continue their education on-site. Upon admission, a customized education plan is developed with each student, in collaboration with his parents and the treatment team, to meet that student’s unique needs and circumstances. Our education planning process considers each client’s personal and academic goals, strengths, graduation requirements, learning preferences, and treatment objectives.

All Family First students attend class each day from 9:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. where they are supported by a Certified Teacher/Educational Coordinator, professional math tutor, faculty from relevant and accredited high school or college on-line learning programs, and Family First support staff.

Family First counselors and instructors jointly emphasize learning beyond the confines of the classroom with a focus on intellectual, emotional, and social development. Classroom experiences allow students the opportunity to practice using effective problem-solving skills and learning strategies, capitalizing on their strengths and managing challenges in the safety of a small, supportive, educational environment.

Prior to departure, the Educational Coordinator helps students and families develop short and long-term academic transition plans, including the provision of a transcript that highlights completed coursework.

Two teens developing trust at Family First Adolescent Services in Palm Beach Gardens, FL.

Community

Family First deliberately emphasizes the power of a cohesive community in treating substance abuse. It is one of our great joys as professionals to watch the lasting and transformative power of a group of young men forming an accountable, supportive and healing community in which they learn to live a sober life.

We devote large amounts of time and energy to fostering this sense of unity by encouraging positive peer culture. Positive peer culture demands responsibility rather than authority, empowering clients to discover their greatness. Clients participate in weekly community meetings to address issues within the program, as well as experiential and team-building activities to foster trust and safety within the milieu.

Family Foundation

The following is what we call “Family Foundation” programming. As clients work on their treatment assignments we ask families to do the same. The following assignments are designed to coincide with the work that your child is completing. Your first family session will be scheduled once you complete your “Life Story” session.

  • Origins Stage

    Parent-to-Parent – At intake, families will be paired with an alumni parent to call for support while their child is in treatment.

    About You – We will be providing you with a template that reviews major life events, family dynamics from your upbringing, and other questions that help us gain insight on who you are as a whole person. After completing the template, you will be reviewing this information with our family therapist and preparing to have your first session with your child.

  • Core Stage

    The Parent Mask – Being a parent is often what defines “who you are” once you have the responsibility of a child in your life. This is a completely normal transition. This assignment focuses on the parts of you that have been lost in this transition or new parts of you that have formed or intensified due to your fears about your child. The goal is for you to discern what parts of you need to be reclaimed.

    Love letter – The love letter is a template that helps parents communicate fully with their child. Often times, parents have been engaged in crisis with their child before coming to our program and communication has been limited and focused on the problems at hand. This letter helps you identify and express the full spectrum of emotions that are attached to your relationship with your child.

  • Change Stage

    Sobriety Definition – Parents describe what sobriety means to them (do cigarettes count, or drinking). Sobriety is broken down in this assignment to physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual behavior. You will present your definition of sobriety during an individual session with your family therapist.

    Family Remodel – Parents attend Family Program and review the ways that their perceptions, communication, and behavior need to be remodeled in the home. By this time, you and your child should have different insights on the family system and your roles in the positives and negatives in the home.  After family program, you and your child will go on a leave of absence together and share some time outside of the therapeutic setting.

  • Demonstration Stage

    Creation of discharge plan – At this point, you will receive a discharge plan that outlines the continuing care recommendations for both you and your child. This plan includes treatment recommendations, boundaries in the home that you’ve helped create, and consequences that are parent-driven if your child isn’t able to maintain appropriate behavior after treatment.

    Parent for a parent – At this time, we will ask you if you would be willing to provide support for families once your child discharges.