Weekly Parent Support CallMay 16, 2023
Parent Support Calls: Therapist-Facilitated Group Conversations
Our recently implemented parent support call has been a tremendous resource for families of currently enrolled students. These therapist-facilitated group conversations offer incredible support while normalizing the difficult peaks and valleys of each family’s healing journey. Parents often feel they are struggling alone with a young adult who isn’t launching, so offering a weekly space to connect with families experiencing similar struggles creates a sense of community.
This addition enhances the in-depth family programming already in place at Trails Momentum, including family therapy sessions and a family workshop. The support call offers an opportunity for parents to connect with each other, build community, and get parent-to-parent support. It also offers a non-judgmental environment for parents to openly share their experiences.
The parent support group has previously covered topics including neuro-psych testing, receiving new diagnoses, siblings, letter writing, and the impact that having a young adult struggling to move towards independence can have on families. We have a wide variety of crucial and meaningful discussion topics planned for future calls. Calls include parents new to the Trails Momentum program as well as parents closer to graduation who can offer insight from their journey. This range of experience and connection gives parents hope that their young adult will also find success.
The Power of Community for Parents
Parents need access to community and peer support just as much as their young adults do in order to heal. Being a part of a community or support group can be a particularly powerful way for people to feel accepted and validated. Parents often think and feel the challenges they are facing are uncommon or that they are alone in their experiences, when in actuality they are not. It’s important for families to realize this firsthand and understand that their struggles do not require exile.
Parents who find peer support and reliable, positive self-care approaches are better able to care for their children. We cannot pour from an empty cup. At Momentum, our goal is to connect parents to a network of resources, including other parents and therapists, in order to build their support system and guide open communication. We know that effective communication and collaboration between clinicians, parents, and other family members positively affect outcomes and lead to better overall well-being.
Research shows that parent support groups provide hope, healthy guidance, and peer-to-peer support, and are essential for helping families develop necessary parenting tools and skillsets.1 To support parents, our primary therapists bring expertise based on their professional experience and/or parenting young adults with social, emotional, behavioral, or substance use challenges, as well as specialized training. The group is therapeutically curated to be a comfortable environment to give feedback, search for creative solutions, and offer opportunities for reflection.
Momentum Therapist Sarah Broughton on Leading the Support Calls:
Primary Therapist Sarah Broughton, LCMHC, LCAS, facilitates the weekly Zoom call with parents. Sarah explains the calls are an opportunity for parents to express themselves fully and comfortably with the group:
“We started the call to create a space for parents to process their experiences with other parents who have had similar experiences, and also to practice the communication skills they are learning and using with their young adult. The group is structured similarly to our Honor Circle, the nightly process group our students participate in. This also gives parents the opportunity to experience what it’s like for their young adult to be vulnerable in sharing their thoughts and feelings with others.
We’ve had some of our first parents transitioning out of the group as their young adult transitions out of Momentum, and we continue to receive feedback about how integral the group has been to their own process as parents.”