Our Family Intensive program is a comprehensive, family-centered approach for young people who are struggling.
Before COVID struck, our Family Intensive program was called the “Weekend Evaluation/Intensive.” The cases usually involved a troubled or stuck teen or 20-something, and I would travel to the family to work with all of them, together and separately, in their home for a weekend. Working together, we would get at the roots of why the child was off the rails and come up with a plan for how the family could move forward.
Typical reasons I am contacted:
- Therapy was not successful.
- College is abandoned: a young person yo-yos home and doesn’t go back.
- Excessive gaming is a problem.
- Wilderness programs are being considered or were not successful.
- The child’s life lacks direction: they are often depressed, anxious, and don’t leave home much.
- COVID caused them to become unglued.
With COVID, I have had to change this program somewhat. Instead of a “Weekend Evaluation/Intensive,” I now offer a “Family Evaluation/Intensive” program. If we can safely meet outdoors or in a heated garage, then we can possibly meet in person. If not, then we can still get a lot done with Zoom. It isn’t ideal, but it is surprisingly effective. Zoom also gives us more flexibility in terms of time and budget, and I can talk more with extended family. Instead of doing all the meetings over a weekend, I have found that shorter, more frequent meetings are more effective with Zoom, although it is best to do the meetings over a week or two at most and not drag them out.
How it Works
As with the Weekend Intensive, I work with the entire family, including extended family where appropriate. A child rarely gets in trouble in a vacuum, so healing is optimized when the family can work on the problem together. One father said it best: “We got into this mess as a family, so we’re going to get better as a family.” We work together to evaluate the issue(s) and develop a plan for moving forward. If we think I can be useful long-term, I continue to be involved via regular visits or via Zoom/Skype/Facetime/phone/text. If the consensus is that I am not the best professional to help your family, I will make recommendations or help you find someone in your area. It is sometimes the case that I work with one family member and other family members see other professionals.
The Family Intensive is often cost-effective, because at the end of the initial meetings I give you an evaluation as well as a clear path forward. This program is very efficient because it gives me the opportunity to spend extended time with the entire family. I get a clear picture of the whole family dynamic and can make connections more quickly than a traditional therapist who only sees an individual client for 50 minutes a week in their office. If you have been considering a wilderness program, hospital, or therapeutic school, the Family Intensive is often more effective because the family, working together, gets at the root cause of the problem and works together to change the family and individual dynamics. This often results in a marked, lasting improvement in the child. Parent motivation is key.
I usually like to follow up with at least a few sessions. I can follow up with Zoom/Skype/Facetime sessions, plus phone and texting, although occasional in-person visits always help, if possible.
I encourage you to call or email me so we can discuss your family’s situation and see whether the Family Intensive is a good option.