This is where to begin if your teenager or college-age student is struggling at home or in school.
Clinical and Substance Abuse Assessments and Treatment Planning
Young people often have a complex array of problems that need to be assessed and understood. We have years of experience helping students to open up and talk about their issues with substance abuse, learning differences, and emotional challenges. With a clear picture of what’s going on in the student’s life, we are able to help to create a treatment plan that addresses the student’s and family’s needs on a variety of levels: substance abuse treatment and recovery; educational; emotional/psychological.
Potomac Pathways’ counselors have years of experience in helping young people feel comfortable and safe in the therapeutic relationship. Our approach involves building rapport with the teen, and working together to increase motivation to make positive changes. Many teens are unaware of the tremendous strengths that they possess and the positive accomplishments that they have had even while also taking some steps backward. We help the teenager in recovery to: build self-esteem; decrease problematic thoughts, feelings and behaviors; connect with a positive sense of life purpose.
Group therapy at Potomac Pathways is based on the idea that positive peers who have made great strides in their recovery can assist other teens in gaining insight and moving forward. All of our therapy groups incorporate “peer mentors”—teens who have returned home from residential treatment and successfully learned how to manage the challenges of school, friends and family without relapsing into drugs or other negative coping patterns. The groups are a safe place to form healthy peer relationships, to give and receive supportive feedback, to practice open and honest communication, and to get inspiration to move forward in recovery.
Family therapy is tailored to the individual needs of each family. Generally, family sessions create an environment that allows family members to acknowledge and recognize each another’s strengths and accomplishments while at the same time opening up a forum in which concerns can be expressed and heard. We define “functional family”—not as a family that doesn’t have any issues or problem— but as a family that has figured out a process for talking about and working on issues on an ongoing basis. Family therapy allows each family member to experience their individual role in contributing to positive growth for the whole family.
Preliminary assessment of learning differences
Many, or even most, of the students we work with have prominent learning differences that sometimes make learning difficult and uncomfortable in a traditional school environment. Potomac Pathways is able to do an assessment of the student’s learning differences, using standardized instruments developed by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Our approach to the assessment and treatment of learning differences helps to decrease the stigma and allow students to begin to appreciate the strengths in learning they possess that they may not be aware of. The assessment helps to identify the specific areas of strength in learning and the challenges to learning, and suggest directions for support.
Potomac Pathways can help to formulate IEPs and monitor IEP implementation. We also provide case management for high school and college students struggling with learning differences. A Potomac Pathways counselor can work closely with the school and the family to help monitor the student’s progress and take advantage of available resources to help the student succeed.
Advocacy at school and court hearings
For teens who may have court involvement or school board hearings, Potomac Pathways can prepare appropriate clinical reports and treatment plans for presentation at the hearings. We regularly attend school and court hearings to advocate for appropriate treatment options for teens that can often provide a way forward that may enable the student to avoid more serious or less desirable consequences.