Philip: Welcome to the Lakeview Health video podcast. I’m Dr. Philip Hemphill, Chief Clinical Officer here at Lakeview Health. And today I’m with James McManus, Licensed Mental Health Counselor, the founder and owner of Family First Adolescent Services in Palm Beach Garden. Welcome!
James: Thank you very much for having me.
Philip: It was a wonderful presentation that I got to sit in.
James: Thank you.
Philip: What was the [inaudible 00:00:28] for prompting you to find the need for this type of treatment at FFAS?
James: Well, I’ll tell you, Philip. It is lack of services. So I was an individual therapist in Jupiter, Florida, and in Palm Beach Gardens, and saw a lot of teenagers with substance use disorders, depressive disorders, anxiety disorders. There were no services beyond individual counseling. So my dear friend Ben Cecil, our clinical director and I came together, put our heads together, and decided we were going to start a program based around family systems and directed toward teenagers and their difficulties. We were going to have family support groups, we were going to have group therapy, we were going to have psycho-trauma, we were going to have family weekends, all of the things that adults were afforded in our community, but kids weren’t. So that was it.
Philip: Yeah, that’s awesome. Well, I saw that earlier in your career you did a lot of study with PTSD and its impact on addiction and depression and suicidality. And you studied with really pioneers in the industry. How did studying with those folks, how were you able to weave that into your program that you have now?
James: Well, I think the energy that it takes to deliver that type of treatment, prolonged exposure therapies for post-traumatic stress disorders, blends itself well into working with adolescents in general. A lot of energy goes into them. And a lot of energy goes into the family. And there are a lot of events that youngsters and their families as you unearth have gone through, and they require an extra level of therapy. And one of the things that we do at Family First with our youngsters who are identified post-traumatic stress disorders is, we specialize with contracting that out to people that are very well-versed. And we do not want [inaudible 00:02:40] trauma therapist working with a 16-year-old, someone who is competent and very capable of unweaving some of this stuff, but also being able for us to put it back together, which I think is very important. But primarily, the energy used for both systems is equal, I think.
Philip: Sure, sure. Well, I saw on your website you really have some credential people on your staff as well. So I’m sure anybody that you interface with is going to be credentialed and competent, because you’re dealing with such a sensitive group of people.
James: Absolutely, yeah.
Philip: What about the parents? How have you been able to keep parents engaged in the adolescent’s new found sobriety?
James: Well, I think it’s difficult for the entire family system to your adjusting their lives greatly, or you’re asking these families to adjust their life. And it’s a tall order. And so I think being able to support families and parents throughout the treatment process while their child is with us, to support minor changes once they’re discharged. Because to expect enormous shifts in the way a family conducts themselves, I think, is setting everyone up for failure. So with just very beginnings of small steps, such as seeking out an individual therapist for a family member, a mother or a father, or both, and starting to identify some of the things that they would want in their system to be better, and how to honor their goals, and working towards that.
Philip: Sure, sure. You’re really doing something unique in the industry, and I would encourage you to pen a book or something, because what you’re doing is incredible, and I just heard you gave a speech on it, and I think the audience responded significantly to it. So I’m really pleased that you were able to join us today.
James: Thank you.
Philip: It was a pleasure talking with you. So anybody watching at home who needs to reach out to Family First Adolescent Services, you can look at their website at familyfirstas.com, or you call them at 561-3287370. Again, James, thank you very much for joining us in Jacksonville today. I appreciate it.
James: I appreciate you having me. Thank you very much to Lakeview.
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