Phoenix House Counseling Center Arlington now offers a new service to clients and families as part of the teen outpatient programs. Beginning in late July, clients and families are now referred to the Family Orientation Group on Tuesday evenings. Intended to include all active adults who are involved in the adolescent client’s life, clients and participants are introduced to the group during the first week of treatment, which helps families become invested in the treatment process and aware of the changes they should be making in themselves. The group also introduces parents and families to treatment and recovery, including reviews of treatment plans and goal setting. “The treatment process is disorienting, so the basics become very valuable to families,” explained Kristin Burdge, MSW, primary counselor at Phoenix House Counseling Center Arlington. Burdge leads the groups and has been impressed with the families’ willingness to change.
The idea of the group was born out of a desire to increase retention of clients and engagement in treatment. Burdge explained that there has been an increase in family participation in services such as Al-Anon and Phoenix House Mid-Atlantic’s Concerned Person’s Group – services that provide support to those living with someone affected by substance use disorders. Burdge continued, “Family involvement is critical during outpatient treatment because the adolescents are out of sight of the treatment team the majority of the time.” Many families find value in these services because they are uncomfortable with conflict at home. Most families agree that if more attention could be directed toward one issue, it would be communication. Families enter the program willing to look at themselves and make individual goals for themselves, as well as for the family as a whole.
The Family Orientation Group has added value to the treatment experience at Phoenix House Counseling Center Arlington. With that, there is hope for increased involvement in long-term treatment, including maintained recovery.