The South African bishop and theologian, Desmond Tutu, once said, “You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.” There is some serious truth in that. It seems like such an obvious concept, but sometimes we forget the last part and just focus on the “not choosing” part. Yes, sometimes family life can indeed be filled with strife. This is especially true when a child is struggling with issues of mental health or self-medication. When this happens, the entire family must receive help, not just the individual. One of the tools that can help with this is attending a parent workshop.
Sometimes parents scoff at the idea that they need to work on themselves when it is their child who is struggling. This is unfortunate and should be reframed. It is not that they “need” to do the work; it’s that they deserve to do the work. This work can begin by attending a parent workshop.
Here at Clearview Girls Academy, we believe in healing the entire family. This is because issues of mental health don’t just take their toll on the individual, but they can bring a strain on the entire family. Because of this, we offer ways in which the entire family can recover. We also focus specifically on the parents. One of the ways we do this is by offering parent weekends.
Understanding the Importance of Full Family Recovery
There can be a lot of emotions that arise when a child is struggling with their mental health. There can be fear, guilt, blame, and shame, just to name a few. However, it is important to remember two things regarding these emotions. One, issues of mental health are rarely any individual’s fault. Two, all of these emotions are normal and okay to feel.
When a child is struggling with their mental health, they can be like a tornado that sucks up and devastates everyone and everything in their path. This is especially true within the family. After all, immediate family members are the closest ones in proximity to the chaos.
When an individual finally gets the recovery help that they need, that does not mean that the “broken pieces” of the family are suddenly put back together. Just as the child must get the recovery help they need to restore themselves, the family needs some restorative help as well. Regarding the parents, a parent workshop is a great way to begin this restoration.
What Exactly Is a Parent Workshop?
At its core, a parent workshop is a place where parents can begin to do some work to recover from the stress of self-medication or mental health issues occurring in their family. Yet, a parent workshop is much more than simply putting in a little requisite self-work. It is also an opportunity to build a foundation that can help parents as they move forward on their family-recovery journey.
What Does a Parent Workshop Weekend Look Like?
While no two parent workshops may look the same, they all have the same goal in mind. They are meant to start the healing process of the entire family. This works by first addressing things directly with the parents. Then it may work by bringing in other family members who have been affected. Then a staff member will work with the entire family, including the family member who is directly in recovery.
This is how we work our parent workshops at Clearview Girls Academy. For the first couple of days, we work directly with the parents. We work on communication and we work on what it means to focus on the self. From there, we work on techniques that will help them as their daughter continues in their recovery. We also go over what it will look like when their daughter leaves our recovery center.
On the last day of the parent workshop, we include their daughter in the workshop. At this point, we work on the tools and techniques we discussed in the previous two days. We also discuss how these tools can be implemented to help the entire family with its healing as they continue down the road of recovery.
The Long-Term Benefits of Participating in a Parent Workshop
A parent workshop is not meant to be an isolated event. It is meant to be the beginning of a family-recovery journey. A parent workshop can provide information, support, and guidance to continue the journey of healthy communication and functioning well after the workshop.
This continuation of support may include family therapy sessions, local support groups specific to parents, and potentially even hiring a parent coach that can continue the direct communication and advice that some parents prefer.
Just as issues of mental health can begin to break a family down, the work of family recovery can build the family back up. This can begin with a parent workshop. However, it doesn’t have to stop there. This workshop can be the beginning of a better-functioning family unit in which everyone can truly thrive.
Medical and recovery professionals have long agreed that self-medication and mental health are not just individual diseases, but they are also “family diseases.” That is because these issues can affect everyone in a person’s life. It is for this reason that recovery must expand beyond the individual who is struggling. A family disease needs a family recovery. One way of achieving this is through family workshops, and for parents, through more focused parent workshops. If your family is being affected by issues of self-medication or mental illness, we can help. For more information on how parent workshops can be a crucial part of family recovery, please reach out to Clearview Girls Academy today at (888) 796-5484.