An After-School Program for Adolescents • Wheaton, IL
Breakaway is an intensive outpatient program (IOP) that was created by our staff to address the specific issues of adolescents 14-18 years of age. It provides a safe and unique healing environment for those struggling with issues such as depression, fears, anxiety, grief, addictions, compulsions, self-harm, poor self-image, stress, problems at school and home, family divorce, trauma, PTSD and poor relationships. The program is generally four weeks long and meets Monday through Thursday from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. so the student can continue to attend school during the day. The adolescents receive individual and group therapy and medication assessment, and parents are involved in a weekly educational support group. An aftercare group is provided for an hour, one day a week, for teens who have completed the Breakaway program. This is an excellent way for teens to continue building on the lessons they have learned and receive ongoing support as they make positive life changes. This program is currently only available at the Meier Clinics in Wheaton, IL.
How do I know if Breakaway is appropriate for my teen?
Breakaway is an intensive outpatient program (IOP) for adolescents 14-18 years old. Many times there are questions about whether Breakaway is appropriate and parents ask for help understanding the differences between outpatient counseling and an intensive outpatient program such as Breakaway.
Both outpatient and intensive outpatient (IOP) treatment can serve teens with almost any emotional, behavioral or mental health problem. There are a wide variety of symptoms that might cause you to notice the need for therapy, such as anger, defiance, using drugs or alcohol, sleeping problems, stealing, nightmares, worries, panic attacks, mood swings, exploitative or manipulative behavior, school problems, isolation, social problems, impulsivity, perfectionism, trouble concentrating, lying, rule-breaking, low self-esteem, lack of empathy, physical complaints (such as headaches, stomachaches, numbness, tingling, pain, nausea), trouble coping with divorce, abuse, moving, breakup, trauma, death/loss, or another event.
IOP is a great choice to help teens when problems are more severe. IOP is designed to provide more intense help in a shorter amount of time than available through outpatient counseling and to prevent the problem from becoming worse. Breakaway is recommended as the best choice when:
- Behaviors or problems are impacting the whole family.
- Multiple issues need to be addressed.
- Grades or other indicators of functioning at school are dropping.
- Thoughts of or wishes for death, or a suicidal attempt has been made.
- Participating in daily activities is difficult.
- Risky or dangerous behaviors have begun or escalated such as: abusing alcohol or drugs, running away, inappropriate sexual behavior, volatile or obsessive relationships,
- Unhealthy weight loss or gain, self-injury, or harm to others.
- Symptoms have been increasing despite outpatient counseling or medication.
- It is a crisis situation that needs to be stabilized, but criteria for hospitalization are not met.
Regular outpatient counseling should always continue after Breakaway. If your teen was in therapy with someone who recommended IOP, we recommend your teen return to that therapist to continue outpatient treatment.
But my teenager doesn't want to go!
It is rare for a teenager to voice a desire for IOP treatment; it is typical for them to be resistant to the idea. Understandably, they do not want to give up their after-school activities, even if only for a month. (Our doctor can write a note excusing them if that is helpful.) Other times they say they do not have a problem. Rest assured that teens still benefit from this program even when they are angry or reluctant at first about starting it. Our staff is familiar and comfortable with handling this scenario. We find that when parents take a clear, unyielding stance that the program is required, adolescents usually comply (even if grudgingly). It is your responsibility as the parent to insist that your teenager do what you believe is best for his/her mental health and the health and happiness of your family, in the long run. Unfortunately, when important issues such as those listed above are not addressed, they tend to grow into even more serious problems down the road. Seeking care through this brief, intensive treatment can turn a difficult situation around in the right direction.
I still have questions...
Please call 630-653-1717 or 800-848-8872 to speak with one of our caring staff members.
You can also email us.