• Residential Treatment Program for Teens 14-17

Mental Health

LGBTQ teens and bullying

Family Support Reduces Risk of Bullying Among LGBTQ Teens

Family Support Reduces Risk of Bullying Among LGBTQ Teens 2560 1922 srtc_admin

Adolescence is an especially critical time for LGBTQ teens who show higher rates of suicide attempts or thoughts, substance abuse, and depression, and higher rates of being bullied. Those who lack support from family or friends are even more likely to struggle with their mental health. One of the biggest fears teens have is not whether they will be rejected by their peers at school, but rather how supportive their family will be if they ask for help. While these may seem like separate issues, family support reduces the risk and impact of bullying among teens. 

The Role of Family Acceptance

In a study investigating protective factors against bullying, researchers found that LGBTQ teens were more than 25% less likely to be frequently bullied at school if they were from supportive family backgrounds. As people develop their sense of self and beliefs about relationships early in life, family support during adolescence helps teens build their sense of identity, self-esteem, and control.

Most people who struggle with low self-esteem have had experiences where they have felt isolated from others and rejected by others. This contributes to feeling insecure about accomplishments and being scared of failure in terms of reaching their goals and meeting other people’s expectations. 

While parent support may not necessarily be able to prevent bullying at school, it has a positive impact on a teen’s self-esteem, which influences how they may respond to being bullied or rejected by classmates. Teens who feel confident about who they are and what they like to do are less likely to let other people’s opinions shake their self-esteem and resilience.

How Family Relationships Affect Peer Relationships (and vice versa)

Positive relationships with parents cultivate self-esteem in children, which leads to more positive relationships with peers in adolescence and young adulthood. Young adults who have struggled to connect with others through childhood are more at risk of being bullied, which reinforces low self-esteem. 

A study at Northwestern University found that LGBTQ youth who have a strong network of support from their peers and their significant other not only showed lower levels of distress but also experienced increased support from their family over the course of adolescence. This demonstrates that support can have a domino effect. When teens feel more supported in their lives, they are also more likely to trust others and attempt to expand their circle.

Increasing Family Support for LGBTQ teens

Families recognize that creating success may involve making changes on their end to support a healthier relationship with their child. The relationships that teens develop with their parents are often their most long-lasting relationships, regardless of how often they see each other through adulthood. For this reason, rebuilding family relationships is an important part of helping teens make lasting changes in their lives. 

As lack of communication and misunderstanding between parents and their children are the main sources of family conflict, one of the goals of family therapy is to help families improve their communication styles by facilitating interactions in various settings.

Family Involvement in Residential Treatment may include:

 

  • Letter writing
  • 90-minute family therapy sessions weekly by phone or video conference
  • Face-to-face therapy sessions
  • Therapy assignments or readings for parents
  • Weekend visits on or off-campus
  • Multi-day family seminars every quarter
  • Home visits once approved

 

 

Solstice West Can Help 

Solstice RTC is a residential treatment center for young girls ages 14-18 who struggle with issues such as anxiety, depression, trauma, addictive behaviors, and/or relationship struggles. This program provides individual, group, and family therapy to help students heal and improve from every angle. Fitness, nutrition, and academics also play an important role in this program. Solstice gives young women the skills and support they need to transition into the world feeling confident, happy, healthy, and capable of self-managing. We can help your family today!

Contact us at 801-919-8858 to learn more about our family programming.

mental health days

Should High Schoolers Have Mental Health Days in School?

Should High Schoolers Have Mental Health Days in School? 2560 1943 srtc_admin

High schoolers face a lot of stress outside the classroom that can impact their ability to stay present in class. Mental health issues among teens have skyrocketed in the past decade. While doctor’s appointments are considered excused absences, mental health is not treated the same as physical health in the school system. High schoolers are encouraged to take sick days to rest and catch up on schoolwork from home, but taking a mental health day to take care of themselves and mentally prepare to focus more on assignments is often considered school refusal. Some public schools have proposed that high schoolers should be allowed to take up to five mental health days off per semester to improve academic performance. 

What are Mental Health days?

While school-related stress affects the mental health of 61.5 percent of students, only 26.1 percent of them have ever taken a mental health day. The intention behind allowing for mental health days is that teens who leave school for therapy appointments, teens who have a panic attack in the morning and show up late, and teens who have experienced significant loss or trauma that need time to grieve will have excused absences. The goal is to bridge the gap between how we treat physical and mental health. Taking a mental health day from school is a chance for teens to reset their nervous system and get out of fight-or-flight mode. It’s a break from the everyday stress of tests, deadlines, and social pressures. Plus, it provides time for rest, reflection, and recharging. 

Many parents are concerned that missing classes will mean that their teen will get behind in school, reinforcing their low self-esteem and lack of motivation. Teaching children to work hard, show dedication, and always do their best is important. However, it is equally important to teach them how to listen to themselves, slow down, and recognize when they are not getting their needs met. Allowing them to take a break when overwhelmed can save them from spiraling deeper into depression. 

Teen mental health days bring awareness to the challenges that today’s adolescents face and foster open dialogue about this issue. As a result, the concept of taking a mental health day from school has the potential to reduce stigma around mental illness.

How do Residential Treatment Centers Encourage Mental Health Days?

Academic programming at residential treatment centers is designed to integrate mental health education and awareness into the classroom. Qualified teachers are trained to identify signs that students are struggling and offer accommodations to better support their learning. Teachers understand that sometimes students will have therapy appointments during class or that they may need to step into the hallway when they are feeling overwhelmed and work with students to ensure that they stay caught up.

Our attitude is that mental health should be prioritized. We understand that many students who have struggled with mental health issues have had negative experiences at school, problems with attendance, and difficulty planning for their futures.  Our accredited academic program prepares students for college by emphasizing experiential learning and study skills that motivate students to be enthusiastic about what they learn. Regardless of their academic performance, students struggle to feel accomplished when their mental health is compromised. 

Ways to Integrate Mental Health Education into Academics

  • Offer creative electives. Visual art, music, and journaling are beneficial activities for processing emotions and tapping into creativity. Electives are graded based on investment rather than quality of performance, which allows students to explore topics they find interesting without feeling as much academic pressure. 
  • Spend time in nature. Teens spend a large chunk of their day in indoor classrooms, which can contribute to restlessness and low energy. Teachers often suggest holding class outdoors, as spending time in nature is proven to lower the stress hormone cortisol. As a result, stress, depression, and anxiety levels go down.
  • Cultivate authentic connections. Supportive, caring relationships are essential for adolescents. In small class sizes, teens have the opportunity to speak up in class and feel a sense of community with their peers. Teachers make an effort to build close relationships with students outside the classroom by offering additional academic support and college counseling. Teachers become invested in teen’s therapeutic growth by working closely with the clinical team to understand students’ needs in the classroom.
  • Block schedules.  As a year-round schedule with five quarters, students have the opportunity to catch up on credits, get ahead, or integrate more electives into their schedules. Classes meet for half days to make room for group therapy, therapy appointments, and study halls to help students work on their personal and academic goals. As classes meet four days a week, students have Fridays off to participate in recreation activities in the community.

Solstice RTC Can Help

Solstice West is a residential treatment program for young girls ages 14-18 who struggle with issues such as anxiety, depression, trauma, and/or relationship struggles. This program provides three types of therapy: individual, group, and family therapy to allow girls to explore themselves in a variety of ways. Through groups on various topics, girls learn to become more aware of their emotions and to express them appropriately to others. Students will leave with the skills they need to transition into the world feeling confident, happy, and able to manage their emotions.

For more information, call 866-278-3345. We can help your family today!

Goal Setting During Hero’s Journey at Residential Program

Goal Setting During Hero’s Journey at Residential Program 1440 2560 srtc_admin

When people set long-term goals to change unhealthy behaviors, they often refer to their progress as a journey, which can involve more twists and turns than they initially expected. This doesn’t mean that the obstacles that they face are insurmountable, but it may suggest that most goals feel out of reach without shorter-term goals and patience. The Hero’s Journey, a popular literary trope, is used as a template for goal setting at residential programs to empower teens to recognize they are the heroes of their own stories.

Who is a Hero?

Not all heroes wear capes. Anyone who sets personal goals for themselves strives to be more “heroic.” The hero’s journey deconstructs the idea of a “Superhero” by revealing that challenges are part of the journey. Many teens struggling with low self-esteem and confidence hold out hope for people who are willing to offer them a hand and struggle to recognize that the power might be within. People assume that the role of a “hero” is to help other people. Instead, the hero’s journey suggests that in order to do so, individuals must learn to confront their own insecurities and continue to follow their goals. 

Elements of Goal Setting

Studies suggest that people who set their own goals are more likely to follow through than people who accept challenges from others, as they are more intrinsically motivated. When people write down their goals, they are 33% more successful in achieving them than those who formulated outcomes in their heads. Goal setting involves careful planning, prioritizing self-development, and looking for other resources.

Evaluating Goals Through Hero’s Journey

Many people think that goal setting involves checking off a to-do list sequentially. Instead, stages of change may be more gradual and relate to themes based on short-term goals rather than goals themselves. Residential programs use the model of the Hero’s Journey as a road map to help teens evaluate their goals.

Separation: At this phase, teens often feel lost and accept that there are many changes they may have to make in their lives. As they recognize they have a lot to learn, they accept the challenge of leaving his comfort zone to follow his adventure. Often, they are consumed with fear and insecurity about what may await. 

Threshold: This phase refers to first embarking on the adventure and trying to prepare for future challenges they may face. Once your daughter embraces the idea of change, she encounters a new culture with different rules, expectations, and relationships. This stage involves accepting help from others who offer insight, training, and guidance. 

Initiation: After the hero has crossed the threshold, she begins to take responsibility for the outcomes of her choices and sets personal goals for moving forward. Supportive mentors help your daughter in this stage as she learns new coping skills and gains confidence. At this stage of self-discovery, there is “no turning back.” 

Transformation: The hero begins to transform as she gains a deeper understanding of the challenges she faces and is able to apply the skills she has learned to real-life experiences. In this process, she realizes her old patterns of living are no longer relevant and uses her new skills and strengths to transform the way she lives her life.

Atonement: This period of transformation is marked by a new sense of inner peace and accomplishment. As she has addressed his fears, she has become more wise, independent, and optimistic about her future. 

Return: During this phase, the hero prepares to transition home and share the skills she has learned with others. For some heroes, they see their return as coming full circle, while for others, it is a launching point for their next journey. With the transition and family therapy resources provided along the way, families also have the skills to create a structured, supportive environment to welcome their daughter home.

Solstice Can Help

Solstice West RTC is a residential treatment program for young girls ages 14-18 who struggle with issues such as anxiety, depression, trauma, and/or relationship struggles. This program provides three types of therapy: individual, group, and family therapy to allow girls to explore themselves in a variety of ways. Through groups on various topics, girls learn to become more aware of their emotions and to express them appropriately to others. Solstice Residential Treatment Center is dedicated to teaching young women how to incorporate healthy habits into their lives. Students will leave with the skills they need to transition into the world feeling confident, happy, and able to manage their emotions.

Contact us 866-278-3345. We can help your family today!

 

coping after loss

Coping After Loss: Grief or Trauma?

Coping After Loss: Grief or Trauma? 2560 1504 srtc_admin

Our society does not give people much room or time to grieve. Many teens are not taught how to grieve or how to support others experiencing loss. Instead, they are taught that losses of all kinds are inevitable and that people learn to move on eventually. While this is true, many teens struggle with coping after loss for an extended period of time. In order for parents to understand how to help their child, it is important to differentiate between if they are experiencing grief or trauma.

What is Grief?

Grief is a “normal emotional response” to not only the death of someone you love, but any loss – loss of health, romantic relationships, friends, or even faith. When we lose someone or something we have held dear or have felt attached to, we grieve. 

Labeling grief as a “normal” response to loss does not mean that traumatic grief is an “abnormal” response, but it suggests that it is natural to feel sad, anxious, or hopeless in the aftermath of loss. While people should check in and offer support, it is important to allow people time and space to grieve without judging the way they are processing their loss. 

What is Traumatic Grief?

One cannot underestimate the impact of personal factors like emotional regulation, cognitive responses, secondary stressors, coping style, prior history of trauma, and access to support and resources in determining how a person responds to an event.  It is true that certain types of loss happen in a way that they are more likely to be experienced as traumatic, but it isn’t a given that someone will be traumatized by an event or that everyone involved will be affected in the same way.

Traumatic grief can significantly impact one’s health, relationships, and outlook on life. Teens may take on responsibility for the event and become hypervigilant that they will re-experience the event. Even if they were not directly impacted, secondary trauma can have a similar effect as being personally victimized.

How are responses different?

There is not a time limit on the length it takes to heal after loss that sets grief apart from traumatic grief. While there are many similarities, traumatic grief tends to be internalized more and is associated with other emotional issues.

  • While grief reactions generally stand alone, trauma reactions include grief reactions. 
  • The most common reaction to grief is sadness. The most common reaction to trauma is terror. 
  • Many people who have experienced traumatic events struggle to talk about what happened, while people who are grieving are more likely to want to talk about painful reminders.
  • Grieving is often focused on what life is like in the absence of something. Trauma distorts one’s self-image and sense of safety.
  • When grieving, many people express anger toward an event, while people healing from trauma are more likely to internalize anger or express it towards others.

Ways to Support Your Daughter Coping with Loss:

 

  • Validate the pain of their loss. Many teens are in denial after loss and try to repress intense emotions. Mourning requires teens to acknowledge the pain they are experiencing and to search for meaning. As your teen grieves, you may feel impacted by their pain. Reassure them that it is natural to be significantly affected and that they are not expected to move on immediately.
  • Give them appropriate “breathing room.” Don’t take it personally if they are struggling to open up and talk about what they’ve experienced. Social withdrawal is a common response. They may feel distant from others and the person they were before the event. They may feel overwhelmed getting back into their normal daily routine and need more time to readjust. 
  • Let them know you are always there for them so they feel comfortable talking to you whenever they are ready. Ask open-ended questions about how they’re doing and offer to support them in whatever way they might need. Don’t judge the way they are dealing with their situation.
  • Find resources available to help your teen cope with the loss they’ve experienced. If you are concerned about how they have been coping, reach out for professional help for guidance. It is common for teens to feel hopeless as they grieve and they are more likely to participate in risky behaviors. Learning more about the impact of trauma teaches you how to support them better. 

 

Solstice Can Help

Solstice West is a residential treatment center that creates a supportive space for teenage girls ages 14-18 to process loss that they have experienced and grow emotionally. We take a relationship-based approach to healing from personal trauma that encourages friendship, peer support, and mentorship through group therapy and teamwork. Our treatment model incorporates adventure therapy, fitness, artistic expression, and community service to encourage normal adolescent experiences, social skills, and independent living skills.

 

Contact us at 866-278-3345 to learn more about trauma and grief. We can help your family today!

trauma sensitive mindfulness

Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness: Deepening Awareness of Others’ Individual Needs

Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness: Deepening Awareness of Others’ Individual Needs 5774 3243 srtc_admin

David Treleaven, author of “Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness: Practices for  Safe and Transformative Healing” defines trauma as “any experience stressful enough to leave us feeling helpless, frightened, and profoundly unsure. After such experiences, we are left with a diminished sense of security with others and in the world, and a sense of feeling unsafe inside our own skin.” Treleaven suggests that integrating Trauma-informed techniques into mindfulness practices helps make the benefits of mindfulness more accessible to everyone.

How Traumatic Stress Interferes with Mindfulness

David Treleaven discusses the subtler ways that our body can be traumatized by certain experiences and how these experiences can get in the way of being fully present during traditional mindfulness practices that are intended to reduce symptoms of traumatic stress rather than trigger them. In traditional settings, it can be difficult for mindfulness teachers to pick up on signs that their students may have a history of trauma; however, they can pick up on body cues that signal discomfort, tension, or insecurity. 

4 R’s of Trauma-informed Therapy: 

 

  • Recognizes symptoms. Our therapists conduct thorough assessments of students and discuss their trauma history directly, but they also observe their triggers and the way their body responds when discussing trauma and in their everyday lives.
  • Realizes the impact. Our therapists have years of experience working with teen girls who have a history of trauma and have seen how it can impact multiple areas of their life, including relationships, academic performance, and self-esteem.
  • Responds by integrating knowledge about trauma into policies. They are sensitive to their student’s history and use strategies that emphasize self-regulation and nonjudgment. 
  • Resisting re-traumatization is the end goal of trauma-informed therapy: students have learned to identify triggers, challenge negative thoughts, and choose a different path. 

 

Goals of Trauma-informed Mindfulness: 

 

  • To minimize distress for people practicing mindfulness
  • To forward a systemic understanding of trauma
  • To advocate for a continued partnership between mindfulness practitioners and Trauma professionals

 

Integrating Mindfulness into Trauma Therapy

We integrate a variety of evidence-based techniques into our treatment model for trauma, including mindfulness, somatic experiencing, EMDR, and Brainspotting. By focusing on the relationship between how the body stores traumatic stress and how the mind processes it, we are able to help students begin the healing process. These techniques encourage students to slow down and increase awareness of their inner experience. 

While many mindfulness practices may involve controlling the breath and focusing on specific things, the goal of Trauma-sensitive mindfulness is to notice whatever is happening in your body and to let go of judgments about what your practice is supposed to look like. This may include changing settings, moving more often, playing certain songs, or scratching sitting all together and looking for other ways to find your flow free from judgment and fear. Mindfulness practices and mindful living principles are an integral part of our program as coping mechanisms and healthy habits.

Solstice RTC Can Help

Solstice Residential Treatment Center is a program for young girls ages 14-18 who struggle with issues such as anxiety, depression, trauma, and relationship struggles. We offer a multidisciplinary holistic approach to trauma recovery, including mindfulness, EMDR, and Brainspotting. Solstice Residential Treatment Center is dedicated to teaching young women how to incorporate healthy habits into their lives. Students will leave with the skills they need to transition into the world feeling confident, happy, and able to manage their emotions. We can help your family today!

Contact us at 866-278-3345.

family therapy for teens with depression

We are Family: Family Therapy for Teens with Depression

We are Family: Family Therapy for Teens with Depression 5758 3839 srtc_admin

When teens struggle with depression it can affect the whole family. In order for a family to give their teens the help and support they need—their own health needs to be a priority. This is why research says parents may benefit from treatment too. It is not uncommon for families to set their own issues aside to focus their energy on getting their teen better. However, this can be unhealthy and pose long-term negative effects

  1. Irritability coming from a depressed teen can cause conflict and alter family dynamics. 
  2. Negative thought patterns can become contagious and cause increased pessimism in the house. 
  3. Depressed teens may withdraw themselves from the family which hinders relationships. 
  4. Major responsibilities can shift. 
  5. A general burden of stress can grow in the household. 

These are the truths of how families can be impacted by depression. Family therapy for teens with depression is beneficial for more reasons than just “putting things back together”. This type of therapy creates an opportunity for families to reconnect and create a healthier environment for themselves. 

Family First Approach 

While having one’s family a part of their healing journey is important, the healing experience for the whole family unit is just as important. The process may not be easy, but it will be worth it. A family is like a team—you need everyone on the same page to effectively function. When everyone’s health and happiness is in check, the family dynamic is much stronger and well-equipped to support each other during challenging times. Family therapy has been proven a critical part of achieving long-term success for teens recovering from depression. Family therapy for teens with depression can work on confronting the following things:

  • Focus on healing damaged relationships 
  • Restore healthy connections within the family dynamic 
  • Create new healthy ways to cope with emotions 
  • Talk through one’s current struggles 
  • Establish lasting changes within the family 

Residential Treatment: Where does Family Fit?

Teens with depression can gain great benefits from enrolling in residential treatment. This allows them to remove themselves from their life and focus on healing from every angle with the help of professionals. The good news? Often times residential treatment programs strive to make the family a huge part of the healing process—not only their child’s healing but the family’s too. Don’t be afraid to reach out and seek resources to help your family as a whole. 

Solstice can help

Solstice Residential Treatment Center is a program for young girls ages 14-18 who struggle with issues such as anxiety, depression, trauma, and/or relationship struggles. This program provides three types of therapy: individual, group, and family therapy. Solstice Residential Treatment Center is dedicated to teaching young women how to incorporate healthy habits into their lives. Students will leave with the skills they need to transition into the world feeling confident, happy, and able to manage their emotions. We can help your family today!

Contact us at 866-278-3345 

Teenage Mood Swings Can Be a Warning of Greater Issues

Teenage Mood Swings Can Be a Warning of Greater Issues 150 150 Solstice RTC

Teenagers are known for going from talking a mile a minute to slamming their bedroom doors and taking vows of silence the next. It can be just as confusing for your child as it feels to be on the receiving end of their sudden changes in mood and attitudes. Some degree of mood swings in teenagers in normal, as they experience a sudden influx of hormones and are struggling to navigate the bridge between childhood and the adult world, but teenage mood swings can be a warning sign for bigger issues. 

Why Are Teens so Moody?

There are multiple reasons teens are prone to moodiness and none of them occur in isolation. 

  • Puberty involves a lot of biological changes, both physically and neurologically. Being unfamiliar with these intense bursts of hormones can feel overwhelming. Hormone imbalances can lead to 
  • Lack of emotional awareness. A common theme in teens is being able to admit their emotions are all over the place, but not really being able to explain what they’re feeling or where it’s coming from. Teen’s emotional brains develop at a more rapid pace than parts of their brain responsible for decision making. 
  • Changing social norms. Middle school is hard. High school is hard. Teens place a higher value on peer acceptance and feel pressure to conform to certain standards. In childhood, relationships aren’t based around social rules, at least not on a conscious level. However, as teens get older, they are more likely to struggle with trying to fit in, which can be an impossible task when trying to fit a certain mold.
  • Higher levels of stress. Adolescence is a period of a series of major life changes, often all at once. It is not surprising that teens are just as stressed out as adults, if not more. According to a recent survey, over a third of teens report that their stress levels have a significant impact on feelings of depression and exhaustion. 
  • Sleep deprivation. Teens need more sleep than any other age group and between school, extracurriculars, and socializing, they also get less sleep than other age groups. While they may not be pulling all-nighters all the time, over time, getting less sleep than their bodies need can lead to exhaustion and moodiness.

When to Reach out for Support

While most teens go through “phases” where their mood changes frequently, variability between extreme emotions usually decreases over time. Adults still experience the full range of emotions, but not quite as rapidly and they report having a greater sense of control over their emotions. For some people, this emotional roller coaster isn’t limited to adolescence. It is difficult to diagnose mood disorders, like bipolar, in adolescence because there are so many different factors that affect their mood swings. The biggest indicator that their mood swings may be a warning sign for something greater depends on how it impacts their daily functioning. 

Finding appropriate help depends on possible reasons for mood swings. In addition to bipolar disorder, they are also common in teens struggling with depression, ADHD, and post-traumatic stress.

Mood swings are associated with:

  • Difficulty managing intense emotions, like anger or hopelessness
  • Increased impulsivity and risky behaviors
  • More interpersonal conflict
  • Longer-lasting periods of intense emotions, such as days or weeks
  • Unstable sense of self

Solstice Can Help

Solstice RTC is a residential treatment program for young girls ages 14-18 who struggle with mental health issues, such as mood swings, anxiety, depression, trauma, and relationship struggles. We are dedicated to teaching young women how to incorporate healthy habits into their lives. Students will leave with the skills they need to transition into the world feeling confident, happy, and able to manage their emotions. We can help your family today!

For more information about mood swings in teens, call 866-278-3345. 

 

trauma focused therapy for teens

The Therapy that Works: Trauma Focused Therapy for Teens

The Therapy that Works: Trauma Focused Therapy for Teens 4993 3688 srtc_admin

Understanding all of the medical/scientific jargon related to trauma and therapy can be quite challenging as a parent. Trauma focused therapy for teens can quickly become an extremely important part of your teens life if they have experienced trauma in their life. This type of therapy plays a pivotal role in helping them to rebuild their lives in a healthy way.

Trauma focused therapy differs from other types of therapy because it is specifically aligned to meet the unique needs of the individual and their past experiences. This therapy type recognizes and emphasizes understanding how the traumatic experience impacts a child’s mental, behavioral, emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being. Through this recognition, therapists are able to work to understand the connection between the trauma experience and the child’s emotional and behavioral responses.

Some of the main benefits of trauma focused therapy for teens include:

  • Teens will learn to practice trauma processing or integration
  • This therapy can identify triggers
  • Re-establish safety
  • Develop healthy coping skills
  • Learn about how trauma impacts them
  • Decrease in traumatic stress symptoms

All the Methods

As a part of the treatment process, clinicians will implement certain methods to help teens cope with their trauma and adopt healthy habits. Of course, these methods could vary based on your child’s specific needs and responses to treatment. However, here are some examples of trauma-based therapeutic methods that may be used to help treat your teen:

  • Drawing maps of your house or community to discuss “safe places” or where you find feelings of safety (or lack thereof)
  • Using Feeling Faces Flashcards (pictures of faces with different feelings) to identify emotions
  • Playing Feelings Charades – a game that requires youth to act out different sets of emotions
  • Teaching relaxation skills in youth-friendly ways (e.g. yoga, deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery)
  • Listening to music and reading lyrics to help reflect on the youth’s experience of trauma, safety, or other emotions

Solstice Residential Treatment Center can help 

Solstice Residential Treatment Center is a program for young girls ages 14-18 who struggle with issues such as anxiety, depression, trauma, and/or relationship struggles. This program provides three types of therapy: individual, group, and family therapy. Solstice Residential Treatment Center is dedicated to teaching young women how to incorporate healthy habits into their lives. Students will leave with the skills they need to transition into the world feeling confident, happy, and able to manage their emotions. We can help your family today!

Contact us at 866-278-3345

 

secondary trauma

What is Secondary PTSD And How Does It Affect Teens?

What is Secondary PTSD And How Does It Affect Teens? 4696 3456 srtc_admin

In the digital age, part of staying connected online is exposure to daily accounts of horrific violence across the globe and in our communities that shape our sense of safety and justice.

Although some media outlets protect the names of victims and censor their stories, teens who read these stories are sensitive to their rawness and are more vulnerable to absorbing the shock of their impact than adults who are better able to differentiate immediate from potential threats. Secondary PTSD is the emotional distress that results when an individual hears about the first-hand trauma experiences of another, either a close friend or family member or a stranger in the news.

What is Secondary PTSD?

Direct trauma can be just as impactful as indirect trauma. As many people with secondary PTSD are sensitive to or have taken on the suffering of others, many of the symptoms overlap.

Signs of secondary PTSD include:

  • Hopelessness
  • Preoccupation with the suffering of others
  • Intrusive thoughts about the event
  • Witnessing violence against another person
  • Holding onto family’s trauma
  • Being in a caretaking role for a survivor
  • Anger and cynicism
  • Hypervigilance and Hyperarousal
  • Sleeplessness or nightmares
  • Emotional exhaustion

Effects it has on Teenagers

 

  • Survivor’s guilt is a normal response to loss, even if it is not necessarily logical for someone to feel responsible for another person’s fate. This is especially common among teens who have had friends or parents impacted by a traumatic event. They might question whether the people affected deserved it or wish they could take their place. They might worry about ways they could have prevented the event or changed the outcome, even if they had no control over it.
  • Compassion Fatigue explains the exhaustion that accompanies caretaking. Some teenagers are desensitized to the effects of trauma, having witnessed it so frequently or having been put into a caregiving role. While they may remain empathetic to other people’s suffering on the surface, they may feel numb inside.
  • Mean World Syndrome refers to the phenomenon in which exposure to information in the media cultivates a negative worldview. If teenagers are flooded with stories of natural disasters, climate change, war, sexual violence, and murder, they will grow up fearing that the same things may happen to them. They see the world as a dark and hopeless place, regardless of whether their immediate environment has told them the same stories about the world.
  • Increased anxiety, depression, and lack of stable sense of self.

 

 

 

Ways to Address Secondary Trauma:

Developing an internal locus of control. Trauma affects one’s ability to feel like they can control anything around them. Beliefs may include Everything happens to me or I am a victim of circumstances. Recognizing that they may not be able to control events that occur, but they can control how they respond to them helps build self-esteem and reduce fear of the world.

Establishing sense of safety. Part of developing an internal locus of control is recognize whether the threat is real in their immediate environment or in the present. Seeking out safe spaces, supportive people, and practicing self care is a form of self-protection.

Selecting positive media. If exposure to negative media cultivates a negative worldview, choosing media with inspirational content can shape a more optimistic view of the world that empowers them to heal from fears associated with secondary trauma. Positive media challenges negative belief systems and allows them to recognize that there is a balance between good and bad in the world, but it is up to them to choose what they want to see.

How Solstice Can Help

Solstice RTC is a residential treatment program for teen girls ages 14-18 who struggle with issues such as anxiety, depression, trauma, and/or relationship struggles. This program provides three types of therapy: individual, group, and family therapy. Solstice Residential Treatment Center is dedicated to teaching young women how to incorporate healthy habits into their lives. Students will leave with the skills they need to transition into the world feeling confident, happy, and able to manage their emotions.

Contact us at 866-278-3345. We can help your family today!

how does mindfulness reduce stress

How Does Mindfulness Reduce Stress? 7 Outcomes of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction

How Does Mindfulness Reduce Stress? 7 Outcomes of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction 5956 3971 srtc_admin

In a 2014 national survey conducted by the American Psychological Association, 31 percent of adolescents aged 13 to 17 said that their stress increased in the previous year, and 42 percent said they were not doing enough to manage their stress. Many teens turn to external sources for support, such as friends, family, hobbies, or professionals, however they are less likely to turn inwards and look for their own insight. Mindfulness empowers individuals to use skills they already have to be more intentional about their interactions. When feeling overwhelmed, mindfulness can help reduce physiological symptoms of anxiety, identify sources of stress, break down tasks into simpler objectives, and set goals to achieve tasks without sacrificing mental health.

Mindfulness vs Meditation

“Mindfulness is not a magic panacea, it’s not going to fix everyone’s problems,” USC researcher Nicholas Barr claims, “But if you talk to anyone who has practiced for some time in a serious way, you just notice a difference.” Many people are unclear about what constitutes mindfulness. Meditation is seen as a practice of stillness and silent contemplation used in Buddhist and Yogic lineages, however mindfulness has been adapted to be integrated into aspects of everyday life. Mindfulness encourages you to be here now and to notice thoughts that arise throughout your day that either help you meet your goals or get in the way of doing what you want. We often go through life on autopilot without realizing how detached we are from our experiences. While it can be hard to step back and see the bigger picture, it is a reminder that everything we do affects the way we feel and the way we interact with our social environment.

The University of California – Berkeley, describes mindfulness as “a way of being aware of each moment in our feelings, thoughts, surrounding environment, and bodily sensations. It’s a way to pay attention to ourselves and not judge, but accept what’s going on.” General mindfulness lessons include paying attention, living in the moment, and practicing radical acceptance. Examples of exercises include body scans, walking, or a formal sitting meditation focusing on your breath and awareness of thoughts.

7 Outcomes of Mindfulness

 

  • Reduces negative emotions. Increases energy and mood while decreasing restlessness and overwhelming emotions. Lowers physiological stress responses.
  • Sets intentions. Focuses on defining and strengthening personal values and belief systems. Instead of setting achievable goals, breaks things down into how you approach those goals and their desired outcomes. Goals are then redefined towards personal development and self-actualization.
  • Builds self-esteem. Strengthening one’s belief system strengthens identity and confidence.
  • Builds compassion for self and empathy for others. One common technique known as loving-kindness meditation reduces suffering by acknowledging suffering in others and remembering that it is a universal experience. By focusing on the moment, it relieves responsibility of the past and pressure of future expectations and allows people to show themselves kindness in the moment.
  • Cultivates positive emotions. By focusing on cultivating positive intentions and healthy ways of relating to your social environment, mindfulness can increase levels of dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin while increasing alpha brain waves and neural connectivity. Mindfulness helps manifest self-regulation and pleasurable experiences.
  • Encourages openness to new experiences and ability to be present. Focuses finding a balance between grounding and receiving. Limits judgment and fear of experiences. Opens space for reflection and fully immersing yourself in your sensory experience.
  • Increases resiliency. Mindfulness practices are associated with recovery from substance use and trauma in redefining memories, reducing cravings, and making meaning of the healing process. People who experience chronic stress can learn skills to manage stressful situations and emotional responses when they arise.

Solstice can help

Solstice is a residential treatment center for girls, ages 14 to 18. Our girls struggle with managing stress and related mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, ADHD and trauma, when they come to us. Through a unique combination of therapeutic programs based upon both traditional and holistic mental health treatment, we treat our clients with age and gender specific techniques. We offer mindfulness, yoga, physical activity, and neurofeedback to encourage students to be fully present in their experiences and deepen their connection between their mind and their body.