Building Bridges provides a supportive & structured environment designed to create opportunities for healthy growth & development
Through the use of multiple, complimentary counseling approaches we encourage students to find healthy outlets for their time and energy, rewarding positive behaviors as they are demonstrated. This is an approach that mimics real world circumstances and creates a true platform upon which each young man can continue to build for the rest of his life. The process can take time, and there will be challenges along the way, but with the support of his peers, family, and counselors, each student learns to develop the confidence and strength to create a manageable and healthy life for themselves. Along the way, family bonds will be strengthened; new sober friendships will be created; and each young man will develop his own individual ‘toolbox’ to help them overcome the challenges that life presents to each of us.
Our program incorporates many different tools and methods to reach each student. Beginning with an individual Treatment Plan, the young men in our program will begin to focus on their struggles with substance use, family, self-confidence, and behaviors. To guide them along this path, we follow a strong 12-step program and attend at least 2 AA meetings a week. Several weekly group sessions provide an opportunity for peers to provide important and meaningful feedback, which is often a reaffirmation of feedback that may be shared during the student’s one-on-one sessions with his counselor. Family sessions, visits, and regular phone calls reinforce the a students work on strengthening his family relationships.
Our therapists’ schedule is specifically designed to align with the student’s time at the residence. The therapists take part in the same day-to-day activities our students experience. This creates a natural environment for issues to be addressed real-time with peers and staff, without the formality of a scheduled group or individual session. The informal and ‘live’ nature of this response allows for a more natural and real response with emotions that are not as hidden as they may be in a formal session.
These are the opportunities that regularly present themselves and allow for the application of the coping techniques our students are learning. In the moment, well-constructed feedback from both staff and peers, can lead to a highly teachable moment which can later be carried into a more formal session.
The importance of input from peers simply cannot be overstated. Advice from a respected and positive peer can reach a fellow student in a way difficult to replicate. We provide multiple opportunities for students to provide this feedback in a formal environment. With up to nine formal group sessions each week, students become comfortable in group sessions and come to understand the benefit of supporting their peers in this way. While the nature of these groups is more formal than a milieu setting, the weight of feedback in group sessions carries the additional weight and importance that formal sessions bring. The feedback and response of the student can also be carried over into an individual session to help the student process.
Each of our students participates in a minimum of one, hour-long individual session with their therapist every week. This is a time for a student to address their overall progress and discuss their most pressing issues, on a deeper level than may be possible in a group or milieu environment. Individual sessions allow for any number of therapeutic techniques to be employed.
Given the nature of our reality-based environment, structured individual sessions are just one instance where a student and therapist have the opportunity to connect privately. In any given week, there maybe half a dozen or more impromptu individual sessions based on observed behaviors. While not always a set length, this type of individual session allows the therapist to capitalize on the student’s current, and sometimes transient, emotional state to bring into focus an issue that may have been difficult to expose any other way.
Building Bridges recognizes that a student’s success may be strongly associated with the growth and strength of their family unit. In order to provide a more complete therapeutic environment, we have an entire segment of our process dedicated to help parents understand their son’s process, guide them as they work through their own growth path, and challenge them to take an active role in the family’s therapeutic process. Our families participate in weekly individual sessions with their son’s therapist to gain insight and knowledge of their son’s progress, family sessions with their son present, individual sessions with our family therapist, and two on-site multi-day family conferences in the fall and spring.