At True North, we place a strong emphasis on supporting parents at every stage of the program while simultaneously repairing, shifting or strengthening the relationships between parent and child. It is critical that we address the family as an emotional unit that impacts all members of the system. Students frequently report that as a result of their struggles, they have felt like “the problem” in their family, and they often share how comforting it feels to know that their parents are also engaging in the program and working towards improved individual and family health.
As parent therapists, we facilitate a parallel process for parents, encouraging them to explore their own history, their parenting styles, patterns of interaction and engaging in their family system and to increase their own self-awareness and ability to communicate from an emotional platform. As parents are guided through their weekly calls with their dedicated parent therapist, they are given the space to address their own needs, reflect on the history of their relationship with their child and other family members, and are given the tools and strategies to manage their interactions with their children more productively.
Strengths of this intervention lie in learning to value relationship over outcomes, accepting each other’s authentic selves and truly hearing one another. We often hear how powerful this process is and how it affords both parents and students a chance to shift their relationship in a meaningful way. Our goal is to provide families with the best possible support, assessment, intervention and resources while they are engaged in our parent program process.