Need a Counselor For Your Teenager or College Student? 
We can help you 
with that! 
Amber Hollingsworth
Licensed Professional Counselor
Chapter 1: How I Learned Everything I know the HARD WAY! 
Early in my career, I worked on the adolescent unit of a private psychiatric hospital, trying to help kids with drug and alcohol problems. 

One of my first assignments was to build an Intensive Outpatient Program for teens with drug and alcohol issues. 

Like with most treatment centers, most of my time was spent working with the teen and very little with the families.
Everyday my voicemail and email would be full of desperate parents calling me, begging me not to release their kid from the hospital. 
They were living in fear that their kid would hurt themselves or someone else because of their drug/alcohol use.

They were having to stand by and watch their kid ruin their lives, and felt powerless to do anything.

My heart would break for these parents, who had no where to turn. Everyone around them was telling them they had to wait until their kid decided they wanted recovery for themselves.

Their only hope was that being in the hospital was going to fix them. Unfortunately, we were just an acute care facility, and rarely kept people more than a week. 

We would have to release the kids back to their parents and the cycle would just keep happening..
Chapter 2: Eventually, I Realized I Had It All Wrong....
In a typical Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), the counselor spends about 9/hours a week in groups with the teenager & about 1 hour/week with their parents in large parent group. 
  •  90% of the information I had came from the kid (totally unreliable source!)
  •  Parents would call or email me about what ever "bad thing" their kid had done over the weekend, but I didn't have the time to sit with them and get all the history.
  •  I had such a limited amount of time with the kids, but was expected to make giant changes.
Chapter 3: I Finally Decided I Had To Do Things Differently! 

The best way to change a person (that has limited insight) is to change their situation, and only the parents can do that.  

Which meant, I should have been spending more time with the parents! 
So, I started to focus on helping the parents, which made them happy and helped everyone get better results! 
This turned out to be the KEY INGREDIENT! 
I taught the parents everything I knew about how to create the right circumstances that would create change! 

I would teach them counseling techniques to help them avoid arguing with their kid and also how to allow for the natural consequences of their son or daughters behavior. 

I'd also help them navigate all the difficult decisions they faced.

Eventually, I started a parent mentoring program so that alumni parents could help new parents as they went through the process. 
My parent group grew so large that it quickly outgrew the largest meeting space in the hospital! 
One of those parents felt the experience was so life changing she decided to go back to graduate school and become a counselor herself!
A few years later, Campbell and I decided to open a counseling center designed specifically to help families called HOPE FOR FAMILIES RECOVERY CENTER. 

We have since, outgrown two office buildings and are close to capacity again, so we've decided to use modern technology to try and help more parents and families. 

We reject the concept of powerlessness for families. 
When your kid’s life is in danger, you can’t sit idly by and wait for some miracle to happen
Beating addiction requires a lot of strategy (like winning a championship ball game), you need all kinds of contingency plans. 

Which is why we have developed a coaching program specifically for parents.

We know how kids on drugs think, what they’re feeling, and how they’re going to respond to parents and other authorities.
Almost everyone believes that the kid “has to hit bottom” or “want it for themselves” or that the parents must “kick the kid out”.

The more I learned about the science of addiction, the more I began to understand just how wrong (and dangerous) this thinking is. 
If this stuff sounds familiar, 
you should most definitely keep reading!!!
* Has your kid been telling you “everyone smokes weed”, “it’s natural”, “it’s less dangerous than alcohol” ?

*Does your kid project their anger onto one parent, while trying to get the other parent on their side?

*Do they seem unapologetic about the issue, in fact, they seem entitled to be able to use drugs.

* Have they’ve started hanging out with other kids who do drugs (at least one of which is driving you bonkers!), and spend less time with childhood friends?

* Do they adamantly deny they have a problem, in fact they think YOU are the problem?

* Have they cut way back (or completely stopped) doing all the stuff they use to do (ie: sports, obsessing about their appearance, hobbies, and other interests).

* All the punishments/consequences you’ve tried haven’t worked (at least not for long)?

*Are you at odds with your spouse (or another family member) over this problem?

*When you catch them doing something wrong, do they turn it around on you and make you feel like the crazy person?
Saving you kid from addiction is like playing football 
against Superbowl Champions. . .
Just like in football things can change quickly, you need a play book with strategic plans for any given situation, and a coach that can help you make decisions as you go.
Have you ever been frustrated that a counselor or doctor didn't seem interested in what you had to say?!?! 
You're the parent and you know what's best for your kid,  so why don't mental health professionals seem interested in what you have to say? 
Allow Me To Explain...
If your kid is 16 years old (or older), they have to agree to put themselves in counseling or treatment (which is highly unlikely!). 

Even if they do put themselves in treatment, they’ll have confidentiality with their counselor, therapist, nurses, and doctors. 

This means that you wont know what they are saying or if they’re even telling the truth (also very unlikely!).

Most treatment professionals avoid talking to family members, Here's Why...
Warning, the following 3 statements might make you want to pull your hair out!
  •   They’re trying to protect the confidentiality of their client (which they have to do by law ).

  •  They feel trapped in the middle of what you want and what your kid wants. Their job is to help your kid meet their goals (not to help you meet your goal). 


  •  I hate to say it, but when clinicians do talk to parents of kids struggling with substance abuse problems, the parents usually come across like crazy over reactive control freaks, which only serves to validate what the kid has been telling them.  

Parents come across like this because they are...
scared to death, frustrated from all the past failed attempts to get them to stop, and mostly because they feel crazy because no one will listen to them!
Are you willing to wait until your kid thinks they have a drug problem and then hope they have enough insight to be upfront and honest with their counselor/doctor?!?!
I’ve been doing this work for a long time, &  I’ve never had a client with a substance use disorder (adult or kid) who had enough insight to give me all the information I needed to help them.

It’s just the nature of the problem. 
Let's Get To The Good News...
There are times when your kid will be open to getting help (I call them "moments of clarity"). 

When this happens, you need to know exactly what to do and say, because the window of opportunity usual only lasts from a few hours to a couple of days at most.
These "moments of clarity" usually come after something bad happens, so if you miss it, you'll have to wait until something else bad happens.
The first thing you need to learn is how to spot one of these moments & what to do when you see it. 
Addiction is the #1 killer of young adults in our nation.

More than car wrecks or any other cause of death, so don’t just sit back and wait and hope that it gets better!

Please don’t wait for the crisis to occur, you need to be making a plan now so you’re ready when it happens.
Warning, More Bad News Ahead! 
Unfortunately, our educational, mental health, and legal systems are broken when it comes to these matters.
No one else is going to intervene and rescue your kid or force them to get help.
Let me explain…
The Educational System Isn't Going to Be Helpful! 
Even if a teacher knows your kid is using drugs (or even selling drugs), they’re aren’t going to tell you.

They’re not allowed to tell you this information! The only thing the school can do is expel your kid from school if they find drugs on them at school. 

Then they’ll send them to some sort of alternative school, where they’ll be with lots of other kids who are using and selling drugs..
The Legal System Is Going To Let You Down! 
Even if you’re kid is our of control in your house (ie: stealing, coming and going as they please, sneaking people into the house, being belligerent, etc…) The law isn’t on your side.

Let’s say you call the police.
At best, some officer will give your kid a stern talk about how they need to straighten up (trust me, this won’t do the trick!).

At worst, they’ll look at you like you’re a horrible parent who can’t control their kid. I’ve even seen it backfire on parents so bad that DSS gets called!

If your kid does get arrested for some minor charge (ie: possession of marijuana, minor in possession of alcohol (MIP), or shop lifting, they’re just going to get a slap on the hand.

And if your kid gets arrested for something big, it might end up ruining their life forever.
Expect To Be Disappointed By The Mental Health System!    
In the most extreme situations, you could have your kid committed to treatment (that means legally forced into treatment). This only happens in the VERY MOST EXTREME cases.

I use to be a designated examiner in these situations, and I can tell you, It’s almost impossible to get someone committed to treatment (especially for substance abuse reasons).

But let’s say you’re able to get your kid committed to treatment. They are only going to hold your kid for about 5 days or so, (long enough for your kid to say they’re gonna be good and promise they aren’t suicidal).

I’m sure you already know that 5 days isn’t going be enough to solve this problem!
You may have been told... 
you have to "wait until they hit bottom"
This is absolutely UNTRUE! 

There are Many things that can be done to help you kid start making better decisions. We'll teach you all the secret ninja tricks to shape their thinking and behavior. 
***Hint: It has nothing to do with making a home contract 
Here's the HARD COLD TRUTH....
Your kid isn’t going decide they have a drug problem (at least not one big enough to need treatment), the school system isn’t going to help you, the legal system isn’t going to help you, and the mental health system is just a revolving door.
Unfortunately, Friends & Family aren’t going to be very helpful in this situation either.  
It's COMPLETELY up to you to get your kid back on track!
Maybe you're not sure if you're really dealing with an addiction
Here are some clues to help you figure it out
  •  Kid’s that are addicted put drugs ahead of important things like family, school, sports, and even hobbies.
  •  Kid’s that are addicted keep using even though they’ve had big consequences.
  •   Kids that are addicted start to lose their interest in all the other activities they use to love. 
  •   Kid’s that are addicted split their parents against each other.
  •   Kid’s that are addicted tend to blame their parent(s) for the problems in their life instead of the drugs.
  •   Kid’s that are addicted use more frequently than just normal experimentation.
  •  Kids that are addicted will keep using even if you take their car away, etc.

The above signs are important, but the BIGGEST sign that your kid has a problem is...YOUR OWN INTUITION! 
I'll be happy to explain what I mean...

Parents (mothers particularly) are very in tune with their kids.
They notice when their kid seems off (even just a little).
Like when they are babies and you know that they’re sick just because of the slightest change in their cries.

When you have a child struggling with a substance abuse problem, at least one of the parents will be having a strong gut feeling that something is wrong.

Even if their spouse is telling them “it’s just kids being kids”, or “everyone does that in college/high school”, they know deep down inside that something is wrong. It feels like an alarm going off inside your head. It just keeps going off. Sometimes it gets a little better (for a short period of time), but it comes right back.

This is the most powerful piece of evidence that something really is wrong. Even if a parent has no other evidence, I believe them when they tell me somethings wrong!

We can help you develop a strategy based on
 your particular situation.
Based on: your kids unique personality, family dynamics, & their stage of change 
For parents who's kids don't think they have a problem
  •   We will teach you how to have a conversation with your kid about getting help.
  •  We will teach you how to help your kid recognize the problem.  
  •  We will help you get on the same page as your spouse.
  •  We will help you develop a plan for what to do when your kid has a moment of clarity and is ready for help.
For parents who's kid is ready to make a change
  • We will help you identify exactly what kind of treatment they need.
  •   You're kid is going to be learning via trial and error at first. We'll help you know how to respond during these ups and downs.
  •   We'll teach you how to interact with your kids medical providers (to make sure they have the whole story)
  •   We will help you make decisions about limits/boundaries.

For parent's who have a kid transitioning out of treatment
  •  We will help you develop a good aftercare plan.
  •  We'll teach what's appropriate as far as recovery boundaries.
  •   We'll teach you what to do in case of relapse.
  •   We'll teach you how to rebuild trust
  •   We'll teach you how to respond if they refuse to follow the rules/boundaries.
    We know addiction & you know your child 
    Together we can beat addiction! 
    I'm not telling you it's going to be easy...
    I'm telling you it's going to be worth it.
    ~ Art Williams ~
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