The Importance of Feeling Safe for Adolescents in Addiction Treatment


The Importance of Feeling Safe for Adolescents in Addiction Treatment

In the process of healing from addiction, adolescents go through many changes. This often includes addressing the root causes of addiction, improving overall awareness, and making behavioral changes that facilitate long-term recovery. Addiction treatment at Sustain Recovery occurs in a safe and loving environment, which helps adolescents to feel secure and relaxed when they are facing uncomfortable truths and learning new skills. When an adolescent feels safe, they are more likely to be able to make neccessary changes and build a foundation of skills that can carry them forward into their lives without falling back into substance abuse.

Comprehensive Addiction Treatment

At Sustain Recovery, addiction treatment is comprehensive and multifaceted. Feeling safe is vital in each piece of addiction treatment, including clinical intervention, 12-Step Recovery, and holistic modalities. The result of this comprehensive treatment for adolescents is improved awareness and behavioral changes that help them in returning home.

Clinical Interventions

There are a variety of evidence-based clinical interventions for treating addiction. These are designed to help adolescents improve awareness of their challenges with addiction and make changes, both internally and externally, in their lives. Such interventions often include individual therapy, group therapy, and family therapy.

Feeling safe via clinical interventions is vital for them to be effective. When an adolescent is speaking with a therapist about their challenges, they are more likely to be open with themselves and the clinician if they feel safe. Admitting deep feelings like shame, fear, and anxiety can be very difficult for anyone, especially an adolescent. If they do not feel safe, it is unlikely that they will be comfortable owning up to deep feelings that play a role in their struggle with addiction.

Additionally, clinical interventions for an adolescent often include family therapy. Family therapy can be particularly challenging in treatment. Many adolescents may feel the repercussions of admitting their difficulties to their family, and shame or embarrassment can lead them to not open up. However, being open and honest is the only way for them to heal. Feeling safe helps them to know they can be open to learning and growing with the support and care of their family.

12-Step Recovery

In 12-Step Recovery, an adolescent goes through each of the Twelve Steps in order to heal and recover from addiction. These steps involve admitting many challenging aspects of their addiction. Examples include admitting mistakes and those they have hurt. Additionally, 12-Step Recovery involves peer support groups where an adolescent can and will share their experiences and listen to others’ experiences and challenges with addiction.

Admitting you have wronged others and made mistakes is difficult for anyone. If an adolescent does not feel safe, they are unlikely to open up and participate in the 12-Step process. However, when an adolescent feels they are safe, they can admit things they have kept inside for a long time. In the healing process, this is vital. It allows them to partake in a peer support environment, which can help them to stay sober long-term.

Holistic Modalities

Sustain Recovery offers many holistic modalities that can help adolescents on their journey of recovery. Modalities like experiential therapy, music therapy, and nutritional guidance can plan an important role for adolescents in their journey. These involve activities that help an adolescent work through challenges with addiction in a less direct way than one-on-one therapy. These modalities allow adolescents to develop skills that can help them in maintaining their mental health and staying away from substances.

However, to be effective, adolescents must dive in and participate in these types of therapies. Often, when an adolescent does not feel safe or comfortable, they will hold back. This might look like making fun of the activity or simply staying quiet and not participating. When an adolescent feels safe in the environment, they can actively participate, which will allow these holistic modalities to really facilitate change.

Feeling Safe Improves Change in Addiction Treatment

Addiction treatment is a long and challenging process of change. Change is difficult for anyone; however, for adolescents, it can be especially difficult. Adolescents often have more anxiety and are experiencing certain feelings and emotions for the first time. Additionally, adolescents commonly have lower self-awareness, which makes change and growth even more challenging.

Feeling safe is extremely important to help an adolescent to change. This is because the process of change takes time, awareness, and exploration. Safety helps in all of these aspects. When adolescents feel safe, they feel okay taking the time they need during the process. This involves taking the time to develop the skill of awareness and exploring pieces of their internal and external world that they may have never felt comfortable even looking at.

Expecting adolescents to change without feeling safe is unrealistic. While change occurs from within, the environment plays a crucial role for adolescents to feel comfortable taking steps toward a new life where they can recover from addiction.

When an adolescent is healing from addiction, they will need to face many truths and make many changes. This requires them to feel safe, as this helps them to improve their awareness and develop new skills. Within comprehensive addiction treatment, feeling safe is important at every step along the way. At Sustain Recovery, we have created an environment that facilitates change. Our programs are built around the understanding that feeling safe is imperative for adolescents to recover from addiction. We focus on helping adolescents to make changes in their lives that will help them now and into the future. To learn more about our programs or speak with a staff member, call (949) 407-9052 today.