RADWellness – experiential teen therapy and parent boot camp
Please help us launch this program for high school age teens who are stalled out, using substances, or addicted to gaming or the internet. And for their parents who feel frustrated and stuck.
Too many distractions.
The mainstreaming of marijuana, the opioid crisis, and the “dys”connectedness of cell phones and social media threaten healthy emotional and social development. Constantly bombarded by media or seduced by the temporary relief of drugs and alcohol, an over-stressed teen may stall out academically, act out, withdraw from family or become dependent on substances or technology.
Traditional treatment is often inadequate or inaccessible.
As a psychiatrist specializing in adolescents and addiction medicine, I have spent thousands of hours counseling depressed, addicted teenagers. Some respond to psychotherapy and education, but often talk (and medication) is not enough to change behavior. Day treatment programs are good for psychoeducation, if the teen is willing to follow through. Acute residential treatment can provide respite but parent training is rarely offered. Therapeutic wilderness programs can be wonderfully effective but are expensive and time-intensive.
Here’s what we’re doing about it.
Teens must take risks to grow. Lacking positive, pro-social opportunities they often turn to unhealthy risk-taking. We are building an action-oriented therapeutic day program based on the research-validated Adventure Based Counseling model which is used by Outward Bound and wilderness programs. Engaging a teen group in (fun!!) intentional, scripted and then processed activities can be far more effective than traditional office based therapy for social / emotional learning, personal growth and behavioral change. Especially when the teen wants to participate!
RADWellness will be located at 39 Willow Street in the historic district of North Reading, Massachusetts. The 0.93 acre property contains an old Victorian “fixer upper” and a barn. The house is being renovated as office with an addition for lecture and meeting space downstairs, and my personal residence upstairs. The barn will be renovated as an activity gym with skateboard ramp, rock climbing walls, and ropes course elements.
What we need to move ahead.
So far we have obtained operating permits for up to 12 students at a time and clearance from the wetlands commission for building. We have engineer and architect signed construction plans, and bids are out to several builders. Estimates are around $1M for renovation and addition of the house and finishing out and equipping the barn. We are in need of around $250K since the bank will only loan 75-80% of the estimated $1M in construction costs.
Funds raised will be repaid in treatment.
Every dollar raised here will be paid back within 5 years in the form of treatment scholarships for families who lack the means to pay out of pocket. Also, if you are interested in having a room, a piece of equipment, or the whole barn named after you or a loved one please let me know!
Richard L. Falzone, MD, LLC