Some have been labeled ADD, ADHD, GID, DID, OCD, ODD and more. But these labels only identify outward symptoms to an inner problem. Yet Mental Health professionals don't have a solution and they don't deny it.
Behavior modification involves changing visible behavior patterns of an individual. This may be accomplished through positive techniques such as point systems, phase levels, and consequences or through negative techniques such as intimidation, prescription drugs, mechanical restraints, or lockdown facilities. Techniques that achieve behavior modification may be relieving at best and appeasing at worst, but keep in mind that it's only a temporary “band-aid” solution. Good behavior can be imitated and used to manipulate. Teens easily learn to adapt and “work the system” in a way that outwardly looks like they have changed – but it is a false change. Once they return to the normal home environment, where the change is not enforced like it was at the treatment facility, they revert back to the life they knew before. Just as a rusty car can be painted over for appearance sake, so can a hurting person behave and smile outwardly. However, it’s only a matter of time before the rust seeps through the paint and the pain breaks through the smile.
Every treatment plan falls under one of two models: psychiatric or psychosocial. The psychiatric model focuses on behavior modification through mind altering drugs. The counseling is basically an assessment to determine what kind of medication the patient needs to take. There is no neurological testing; the doctor does not actually go into the brain. They simply make an inconclusive diagnosis based on statements made at face-value or behavioral observations. Any prescribed medication that is administered is purely experimental and to date has not resulted in any case studies showing any type of healing. Studies from major secular universities do show, however, that prayer does result in healing even when the patients are not aware of being prayed for. There are no case studies showing the effectiveness of psychotropic medications, especially on minors. In addition, psychotropic drugs cannot truly heal anyone; drugs can alter, but they do not really bring recovery. When a teenager stops taking their meds, he has not really changed – he is still thinking the same destructive thoughts, but he now has toxic doses of various drugs in his brain. Teens end up in a cycle of changing medications that they can never really get off of, and the side effects of the drugs can be just as disturbing as their pre-medication actions. We see a generation of children numbly facing life due to psychotropic medications that do not affect the deeply-rooted, spiritual problems.
Our treatment plan, on the other hand, is known as the pyscho-social model and is accomplished in the real world. Treatment and assistance come through various social systems: school, church, friends, family, and entertainment. At Hope4Teens, these social systems are also placed within the values and morals of a Christian framework. Teens who are struggling with various issues have the opportunity to adapt in a real life environment, which means they are better equipped for facing life once the treatment program is over. This treatment model encourages real change - not just a drug-induced change or a behavioral change - but a change that comes from deep within, at the heart of the matter.
The Hope4Teens model is based on a five-point treatment plan:
V. CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT
The five-point treatment plan is worked out in three phases.
Phase 1 lasts for a minimun of one month to three months and is the most structured phase with the highest level of supervision.
Phase 2 lasts for six months and allows more freedom, but still includes moderate supervision. The controls are reduced to moderate-level supervision and runs in six month terms. We try to simulate the freedoms one would normally have at home within the reason of age. For high school graduates, Phase 2 offers a vocational training program where students can learn skills which greatly increases their self worth. Course electives available are theatrics, business, ministry, multimedia, and more.
Phase 3 can last for an indefinite period of time as the student learns inter-dependence under low-level supervision but high personal accountability. Phase 3 is mostly for older teens and adults, though younger ones have been accepted in rare cases.
Some families choose Phase 4, where they actually relocate to Phoenix permanently, join the church, integrate into the community in order to live in ongoing success.
God is so amazing. He used the Hope for Teens program in Arizona to rescue my daughter Ashley from a life of destruction. He is transforming her before our very eyes. I want to thank God for His faithfulness, and I want to thank the leaders for being obedient to the call on their lives. I have not seen a ministry like this anywhere else! God gave this scripture to me while praying for Ashley, and now it all makes sense:
Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the desert
and streams in the wasteland.
Each student has access to spiritual, emotional, academic, social, and physical assistance. One-on-one counseling sessions are at the heart of our success and take place during frequent intervals in informal settings. We believe it is next to impossible to break off defense mechanisms and open hardened hearts within a clinical setting. A formal counseling session for a student who is not willing is a complete waste of time - not only will she not cooperate, but she will start hating the concept of counsel, which is a bad thing. It is for this reason that our coaches and pastoral counselors take a personal interest with each student, fostering trust and building relationships.
In addition to the counseling sessions, each teen also works with an accountability team made up of same age to college age friends. They bridge the generation gap and are not only trained but are loyal to pastors and parents. There are junior pastors from the church whoare responsible for small groups of 10, but there is also a pastor who runs each home. We call them home pastors because we believe anyone working with these students has to have a pastor’s heart, because their love and his commitment will be tested. Mentors are young adults, usually ones who have gone through the program and are now living victorious lives, who now volunteer as a positive influence in the program. There are also same age peer mentors and friends, who we can trust to be a good influence and source of accountability.
Each day, our staff works together as a team with each client. Each week, our staff meets together to discuss each client's progress and to plan an individualized program for their remaining sessions with us. There is a tremendous benefit in having a team effort in providing treatment, as we are able to pool knowledge, wisdom and experience as we discuss how to best help students achieve success.
The team approach is vital to the success of the program. If the student starts defying one leader, somebody else will pick him up and go do something different. He’s going to have to burn out a whole team of people. In addition, the communication between team members means the teen is less likely to “work the system” through deceit or manipulation. The team discusses issues and actions, so any lies or tricks are uncovered and dealt with quickly.