A crucial part in any form of growth is self reflection. For recovering teens existential psychotherapy or counseling gives them an opportunity to work with a skilled therapist who will help them reflect on their life and the choices they made. Unlike an intervention which focuses on challenging one’s way of feeling, behavior and thinking, psychotherapy allows teens to look back on why they felt they had no choice or why they lacked access to choices and required an addictive program to survive.
During this process the most common response reported is that they were not at fault or the blame was placed on someone else. These thoughts are often due to the fact that we accept that the choices we have in this world are very limited.
These limitations arise from the universal nature of unquestioned myths that blind us into believing we can’t, mustn’t and shouldn’t do certain things. As an example, let’s talk about a fictional character named John whom due to the stress from trying to get into a great college and maintaining perfect grades he relied on drugs or alcohol to cope. In therapy John is asked why he thinks he needed these drugs as a crutch and his response is because he couldn’t get by without it and if he wasn’t pressured so much he could do fine without them.
Existential Therapy can be defined as a tutorial on how to live, celebrate our uniqueness and encourages teens to look at their subjective experiences. As stated in the example above John will be taught to identify what his values, beliefs and occurring patterns are so he can evaluate the choices he made and their consequences.
Existential therapy allows teens to move from unconsciously making decisions to actively being in control of the choices they have in life and one that is supported by Inspirations for Youth and Families as a part of treatment for teens in addiction recovery.