Parent education can be defined as any training, program, or other intervention that helps parents acquire skills to improve their parenting of and communication with their children. At CERTS we take this concept seriously. We feel that the healing therapeutic process for a student is dramatically improved when the parents are involved in learning and changing. Research demonstrates that one of the keys to the success of adolescent treatment is parental involvement and parent education. At the CERTS programs emphasis is placed on helping the family system by providing the family with the tools they need to make the successful transition home after treatment. Because most of our parents are unwittingly locked into an unhealthy dance step of control battles and manipulation with their children prior to admission, proper training and education to help parents break out of this pattern is a key factor for long-term success.
There are three major ways that CERTS helps educate parents to learn and practice new skills:
Parent Webinars: Live webinars are provided to parents up to three times per month. Webinars are taught by clinical and academic staff from all of the CERTS Programs and include topics from understanding different diagnosis to helping parents navigate transition and just about everything in between. Webinars are interactive. During webinars parents are able to interact with the instructor asking valuable questions. CERTS also has a Parent Education Channel where parents can view on-demand all recorded webinars at their convenience. La Europa Academy also provides parents with a weekly DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy) Support Group where parents can learn specific DBT Skills.
Family Weekends/Parent Seminars: Each CERTS Program–Kolob Canyon, La Europa Academy, Moonridge Academy and Mountain Springs hold regular Parent Seminars. Kolob, LaEuropa and Moonridge hold seminar weekends quarterly, while Mountain Springs hold parent weekends three times per year. Parent Weekends are filled with intensive parent education workshops, parent support groups, family therapy and recreational activities. Parent Education Workshops are a key part of seminar weekend, providing parents with an opportunity to learn skills such as validation, helping your child who might be emotionally unregulated, understanding suicide and self-harm behaviors. Workshops also cement skills that parents have been working on in family therapy. Parent weekends also allow parents and children to have free time together to practice new skills and improve communication. Some of the CERTS Programs also provide a family seminar once per year. Kolob Canyon takes all of their families including siblings on a 3-day river trip. It makes for a fun outdoor adventure with the support of therapists and staff.
Family Therapy: Families at all of the CERTS Programs participate in Family Therapy. At Kolob Canyon, La Europa Academy and Moonridge Academy families participate in weekly therapy sessions. At Mountain Springs students receive clinical services from community based therapists. These community therapists and the families determine what amount of family therapy is needed. During family therapy parents and their children learn ways to better communicate and develop skills to improve their relationship. Family therapy is a time for parents and children to talk through specific issues with the guiding hand of a therapist. Parents might also be given specific “homework” assignments such as reading a specific book, watching a specific webinar or completing some other kind of therapeutic learning experience.
With each of these parent education opportunities, CERTS is helping parents take back the reigns of the parenting process and decision making. This is so essential to the therapeutic and healing process.