Phases of Treatment

Exploration Phase (“Fire”)

At Oakwood, we believe that families are capable of creating significant change. The Exploration Phase begins with assessment, goal setting, and the development of supportive alliances. At this time the Oakwood staff also establishes a preliminary treatment plan for the family which will be used as a road map to meet the unique needs of the family throughout the treatment process. Simultaneously, group, individual, and family therapy all begin, helping the parent(s) and adolescent or young adult to take the first steps in creating change.

A critical component during the Exploration Phase is the parents’ commitment and involvement. The program’s progress and success cannot take place without sustained parental effort. Research has clearly shown that parent and family involvement has a greater effect on treatment success for the adolescent. Oakwood’s ability to join with the parent(s) and work together closely is an essential component in creating an environment conducive to change.

Many times our parents enter treatment feeling understandably defeated and exhausted. In most cases, they have attempted various forms of parental intervention, over a period of time, hoping to address their child’s challenges through “normal” avenues. The parent who is willing to be led and who is open to change will integrate into the community earlier and begin creating and facilitating change with their child sooner.

Discovery Phase (“Wind”)

During the Discovery Phase, change is clearly in motion. The teen or young adult and parent(s) have a solid understanding of the foundational components of treatment and now begin to demonstrate integration of these building blocks into their day-to-day lives by internalizing the therapeutic strategies taught. Thus parents and teens engage new strategies, response patterns, and belief systems with a sense of fluency that was not present in the initial phase of treatment when these strategies were novel.

At-risk behaviors continue to diminish, with the most high-risk of these behaviors having ceased entirely. Teens consistently apply better judgment, demonstrate less impulsivity, and are guided to engage more frequently in esteem-building acts. The key is that the teen is committed to the process of recovery and is moving towards developing new habits and exhibiting improved life skills.

Recovery Phase (“Water”)

The Recovery Phase builds directly upon the client’s affirmed and demonstrated therapeutic growth. In order to enter into this phase of treatment, the teen’s core personal and family work has been not only initiated, but the teen has made significant strides in exploring this core work in depth. The young person’s commitment to change is evidenced by consistent, positive decision-making, constructive problem solving, and demonstrated work ethic.

It is at this stage in the treatment process that the reintegration of the client back into his or her larger community begins to take place. Newly granted responsibilities allow the teen to begin engaging more fully in age-appropriate social, scholastic, and life-skill-building activities. Throughout this process the teen’s ability to create healthier relationships, facilitated by discerning judgment and enhanced self-esteem, is supported and encouraged. The teen’s ability to begin establishing a more robust interpersonal life is essential, and is the main focus of this phase of the treatment process.

As with all the phases, parents’ ability to establish and maintain clear boundaries at home and manage their family relationships remains key. In the Recovery Phase, parents consistently utilize these skill sets as the adolescent negotiates newly granted responsibilities and engages more fully in age-appropriate social, scholastic, and life-skill-building activities.

Potential Phase (“Earth”)  

This fourth and final phase involves the teen and family’s progression out of the intensive outpatient treatment milieu. It is the phase in which the family system prepares to fly solo — without the extra support of an intensive outpatient program. Life needs to be lived and the seeing and implementation of long-term goals that build upon the teen’s recovery are now a key part of the treatment process.

As the family enters this final phase of the treatment process unpredictability, fear of the unknown, and waiting for the other shoe to drop are now notions of the past. In addition, family relationships have drastically improved over the months of therapy and repair. Rather than returning to “life as usual” with the culmination of treatment, both parents and teen enter a new phase of living in which the family system enjoys the benefits that their transformative therapeutic work has brought to fruition.