As specialists who have worked with parents, and because many of us are parents ourselves, we know how very upsetting it is to have a child with an alcohol or other drug (ATOD) problem. We want to do everything possible to help your child. There is reason for optimism: Our agency uses The Seven Challenges® Programs (Seven Challenges and Brief Challenges) which have been proven to be successful in helping young people overcome their drug problems. Research has also shown it to be successful in helping them overcome underlying psychological problems that often go along with drug abuse or drug dependence.
We want to introduce you to The Seven Challenges Programs (Seven Challenges and Brief Challenges) so you understand our approach and we will better be able to work together in helping your child:
- By the time adolescents enter drug (ATOD) counseling programs, they have already heard about the dangers of drugs. Most of them have been told they need to quit. Many have been told they must quit. However, skilled counselors know that when we try to twist their arms to make them quit, we get bad outcomes: Young people either lie to us, or dig in their feet and resist us. Even if we could temporarily force them to quit using drugs, as soon as they were out of our sight, they would still do whatever they wanted to do. We know that the best way to get good outcomes on the long term is to help young people pause, think, and make their own wise decisions to change. As we work toward this end with youth in The Seven Challenges Program, we will make sure that young people hear our concerns about the dangers of drugs and also our support for them in making wise decisions. We want to be successful in counseling teens, so we have developed clever strategies that are much more effective than trying to force them to quit.
- Here is how we work: First we create an atmosphere in which youth will open up and talk honestly about themselves and about their lives. We can then help them look at why they are using drugs. Whether they realize it or not, they are using drugs for a reason. Often it is to cope with psychological problems, or skill deficits, or problems in coping with life at home, with friends or at school. We want to help them understand what they are seeking from drugs, and then help them develop the ability to meet their needs in healthy ways. When they learn to deal with life without drugs, they can make sincere decisions to overcome drug problems and then successfully follow through.
- As much as we adults may wish that youth would decide to quit using drugs right away – and mean it – that usually is not the case. Even among those who really do want to quit, precious few are prepared to succeed in making such a change when they enter counseling. We need to recognize the depth of the underlying problems and stick with strategies that work. Even though it takes a lot more than telling teens to SAY NO, rapid progress can be made with The Seven Challenges programs. In these programs, we fully support even a small impulse to quit using drugs, or to begin to make changes. We also immediately address the problems that motivate the drug abuse or dependence.
Our wish is to work with you to help your child overcome their problem (with alcohol or other drugs) and succeed in life. To begin the program we meet with each youth and their parent to talk about the attendance expectations of the group and what the youth can expect from the counseling sessions. One of the priorities of Seven Challenges and Brief Challenges is working with the families to help the youth. We look forward to facing this challenge together.