All Kinds of News for May 06, 2020
Onward Transitions has been helping emerging adults and their families move toward their shared goal of individuation since 2016. Weekly family work focused on boundary setting, empowerment and developmental psychology has included therapy sessions, parent coaching, progress updates, and collaborative planning with referring educational consultants. This week the program based in Portland, ME will launch its parent portal internal website and host the first of twice-monthly virtual parent groups. The effort, spearheaded by Program Director and Therapist Austin Mehlhorn, LCPC-cc and Clinical Director Andy Derstine, LCSW will add a level of peer connectivity for families as they work through the process of moving towards a more adult relationship with their children.
Derstine stated his hope that a “deeper understanding of the therapeutic process will help families support Onward members as they move forward with their goals in the face of COVID-19.” He added that “for members who are living at home and working with us remotely, I hope that we are better able to support parents in maintaining adult-to-adult relationships, maintain healthy boundaries and expectations, and help them better understand the developmental aspects of emerging adulthood and how this plays out in day-to-day family life.” Derstine will co-facilitate each family group session with a rotation of Onward staff based on the particular theme of that meeting.
Mehlhorn manages the technical aspects of Onward’s HIPAA-compliant G-Suite, and created the parent portal with the hope of balancing ease of use with strict privacy protocols. The intention of the new programming is to provide a space for families to feel a level of togetherness, explore common and general issues in parenting and provide more direction for their family therapy sessions. Simultaneously, Onward needed to find a way to protect and respect the privacy of their members’ individual stories. “Google's cloud platform provides advanced security and allows administrators to set permissions and controls for different areas of our service delivery,” Mehlhorn explains. “The family site will be accessible only by the families that choose to enroll in the service.” He continued to explain that “the family forum group is set so that families can interact with and post questions to staff and therapists, in a confidential manner, directly to and visible only by the staff facilitator. This will help to protect the anonymity of specific members and then refer those particular issues back to family therapy.”
About Onward Transitions
Onward Transitions (OT) in Portland, ME is a small, independent, owner-operated program for bright, motivated, emerging adults in the final stages of learning to live on their own. OT supports actual sustainable independent living and autonomy from two city locations. Participants (members) ages 18-29 never live with us; they live in their own apartments, scattered throughout the city. Members' challenges include anxiety, depression and executive functioning.