ASPIRE (After-School Program Intervention and Resiliency Education®)

Adolescence is a time of tremendous growth and change. This period of transition comes with a unique set of experiences and challenges that can make navigating the path to adulthood difficult. Adolescents that lack positive coping skills to manage life stressors may struggle with mental and emotional health and resort to unhealthy or unsafe behaviors such as substance use, self-injury, and engagement with risky peers.

The ASPIRE Treatment Approach

At ASPIRE, we work with adolescents and their families to overcome these obstacles and establish a path toward mental and emotional wellness, resiliency, and success through the use of psychoeducation, adaptive coping strategies, and experiential techniques. ASPIRE utilizes an evidence-based treatment approach grounded in the principles of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). DBT emphasizes the use of mindfulness to help identify triggers that lead to unhelpful behavior patterns. This heightened awareness, in combination with learning new, effective coping skills to manage difficult thoughts, feelings, and situations are the core components of DBT. Research has shown DBT to be effective in treating a variety of mental health issues including mood disorders, substance abuse, self-harm, suicidal ideation, PTSD, and eating disorders.

Program Structure

ASPIRE’s eight-week Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) is more comprehensive than traditional outpatient therapy and is designed to prevent adolescents with more acute mental health concerns from decompensating and requiring higher levels of care. IOP can also be beneficial for adolescents transitioning back from successful completion of inpatient or residential care. The part-time, late afternoon schedule allows the family to maintain their daily routine, such as attending school or work while addressing mental health needs in a structured treatment environment.

Patients attend the program Monday, Tuesday, Thursday 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Friday 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Group Therapy

Group therapy provides many distinct benefits that may not be achieved through other treatment formats. For many people, group therapy is more powerful and effective than individual therapy as it provides a sense of connection and inclusion, allows for giving and receiving support, and helps patients relate to others in healthier ways. These features are of special importance during the high school years, when adolescents are developing greater self-awareness and forming personal identity through social interactions and relationships.

Groups focus on learning and practicing practical life skills and coping strategies through the use of five DBT behavioral skills modules:

  • Mindfulness: Being fully aware and attentive in the present moment without judgment
  • Distress Tolerance: Tolerating difficult situations and emotional pain when problems cannot be solved right away
  • Interpersonal Effectiveness: Building and maintaining positive relationships and self-esteem
  • Emotion Regulation: Understanding emotions, reducing emotional vulnerability and reactivity, and increasing positive emotions
  • Walking the Middle Path: Developed specifically for teens and families, these skills focus on being able to acknowledge and accept others’ perspectives, even if they are different from your own

Family Participation

We believe that the family system plays an important role in adolescent development and growth; therefore, we work extensively with the family throughout treatment to ensure the greatest potential for success. Our weekly parent skills and multi-family groups provide an opportunity for parents to practice and refine the tools learned in program in collaboration with their children.

To schedule a complimenrtary confidential assessment, please call us at (949) 364-4246.