There are a lot of young adults reading the facts on All Kinds of Therapy. This is one of several blogs written to share what the whole treatment world is all about. With that in mind, I thought sharing a discussion with some young adults who have been through treatment would assist young adult readers, and their families who are gathering the facts and assessing their own path.
Where were you a year ago?
A year ago, I was in a residential treatment program in Utah. I was beginning my senior year of high school while also working on skills that would help me as I prepared to either go home or head to college.
What has been the largest change in your life? (Was there one or two particular interventions?)
I learned in residential treatment about honesty and accountability and I use those things to be closer to my family and to help me work with the coaches in the transition program that I’m in. In the last 3 years I’ve gone from struggling with things at home and school to working through residential treatment, finishing high school and coming to Chicago to start college. I was excited to come back to Chicago but also knew it would be hard because it’s very different than being in treatment. The structure of the (teen) treatment program meant not having access to my phone or social media so I could intentionally not distract from more important things. Now I go about daily life as any other college student would, but I have the help of coaches and social events in the program. I’ve learned to set aside my phone and to be present at activities and to focus on my school work. We students are required to attend community events throughout each week which is a good way to engage and make friends. It’s helped me to set up a base for relationship building outside of the program [Edge Learning & Wellness Collegiate Community].
So, to what do you attribute that change in commitment, focus?
Learning a lot about myself and how to take responsibility for my life has made me successful. Overall, I personally feel really supported through this chapter of my life. The program has helped me keep structure in my life without being controlling over what I do, but guiding me.
What has changed the most with your family?
Family plays a big role in my life. I learned how to communicate better with my parents when I was in treatment** and I missed being near my family. In the program I’m in now, I am learning to not rely on family as much as I learn to be independent.
[** many students say that they learned how to communicate with their family - that how that happens depends on the family & what the student needs.]
Where do you want to be in 5 years?
I want to graduate from college with a major in special education. I plan to have a job, teaching students with special needs. I’ve always wanted to be a teacher, and I think kids with special needs get pushed to the side. I want to make an impact in their lives and help others.
Is this goal different than a year ago?
Since I was little, I have wanted to be a teacher. I find enjoyment in working with people in their day-to-day settings. Over the past year, seeing how much my life has changed, graduating high school, and all that I’ve achieved has given me more self-confidence. These things have increased my drive to be more successful and help others. Just as others have helped me.
Bryan* is now in a transitional program, Edge Learning & Wellness Collegiate Community, in Chicago, IL. He turned 18 in June, 2016. He successfully completed a residential treatment program in Utah. His goal is to be at Edge for 8 months. During his time at Edge, he is a part-time student. Bryan has volunteer commitments, a cell phone, a social media presence, and continues to develop authentic relationships with his family and friends. All the while, he is currently applying to other 4 year schools.
* name is changed for privacy.