An affirming treatment approach for LGBT+ Identified Youth
“Young adults with emerging identity distinctions experience higher rates of depression, anxiety, substance abuse, self-harm and suicidality. Our compassionate, evidence-based treatment is built upon a foundation of LGBT+ affirmative practices and therapeutic philosophies making Paradigm a truly unique sanctuary in the residential treatment landscape. We firmly believe in working closely with family members of identity-variant young adults, because we respect the collective process for recovery and affirmation of a child who may identify within the LGBT+ spectrum.”
For all adolescents, life is full of questions about identity. Our culture and our families place significant pressures on teens to conform to societal norms and expectations. All adolescents experience significant emotional challenges as they work to integrate a healthy self-concept. Children that express themselves in ways that fall outside the prevailing trends often are ostracized and become victims of hateful bullying.
At Paradigm, we believe this journey is exceedingly challenging for teens who identify as something other than heterosexual. When confronted with external pressures, these lesbian, gay, bisexual, bi-curious, pansexual, demisexual, asexual, questioning and gender expansive youth often shut-down, become depressed, highly anxious, or turn to substances, and engage in other unhealthy or risky behaviors including self-harm and suicide in order to cope with their chronic internal discomfort. These self-soothing behaviors sometimes signal the existence of a confusing internal struggle related to acknowledging one’s uniqueness and contemplating how to share these aspects with others.
At Paradigm we impart a treatment philosophy that embraces the broad and beautiful spectrum of identity and celebrates individuality across all orientation and gender dimensions. We provide a safe space for youth to explore, understand, and integrate aspects of their identity which may have been lost or repressed in childhood. Our staff is uniquely educated and trained in supporting the particular needs, challenges and goals of teens who are trying on and owning their individual sexual identities. It is also a delicate time for families, which is why we incorporate a 360° perspective. Our therapies affirm the client’s unique identity, while providing a safe space for parents and siblings to ask questions, receive valuable psychoeducation, and engage in their own emotional processing.
Key Ingredients to Paradigm’s Identity Programming:
- Commitment that a principal member of the Treatment Team will be a skilled LGBT+ Affirmative Psychotherapist.
- Engagement in two (2x) Identity-Centered Process Groups weekly and participation in one (1x) LGBT+ Client Community Group weekly.
- Collaborative creation of a Welcoming-In narrative and contract that explores and explains critical characteristics of clients’ LGBT+ identities.
- Expressive Art Therapies, Performing Art Therapies, Recreational Therapies, Mindfulness/Meditative Training and Experiences customized through the LGBT+ lens.
What Clients and Families Can Expect
- Safe, community-based residential environments with an average of six (6) clients
- Therapists and staff who provide a LGBT+ affirming approach in all client interactions and activities
- Daily individual therapy sessions
- Five (5) hours of family therapy, support, and multi-family sessions available each week, including focused LGBT+ parenting groups
- Identity-centered process groups at least twice (2x) weekly to insure that all community members are knowledgeable and affirming of orientation-variant and gender expansive youth
- Comprehensive diagnostic testing & evaluation
- Expansive academic programming with collegiate tutoring
- Collaborative discharge planning with LGBT+ aftercare recommendations and consultation to clients and families
- Specialized groups for adolescents with athletic, arts and academic strengths