1. Healing is a process not an event. Realistically, it will take time and patience for your child to make changes. Therapists and families are taught to be suspicious of overnight change. These changes are all too often shallow and fleeting. Hang in there, be patient, it will take time.
2. We cannot force change. Most likely, your child won’t change out of a sense of duty to you. They will change on their own timeline and as they identify the need for change. The best we can do is make it uncomfortable for them to stay the same while offering the “container”, inspiration, and support they need to change themselves.
3. Your child will most likely look better on the outside before they have truly internalized the lessons. Let the bread bake.
4. Prepare your child for the path, not the path for your child. Dragonfly is, to a degree, a representation of the larger world. Some of the injustices and problems of the world are present at Dragonfly. Though we welcome feedback, avoid falling into the trap of focusing on making the program as you think it “should be” at the expense of focusing on your family’s change process.
5. Be a warm, empathic, curious observer of your child’s challenges and strengths. Ask questions about their experience. Ask them what they plan to do. Ask them how they will solve things. Sincerely wish them luck in getting themselves out of the holes they dig. Remember, you don’t have to make it all better or fix it. They develop resilience through critical thinking and problem solving. They are capable individuals.
6. Validate what your child is feeling. They are entitled to their feelings. They are neither right nor wrong, they simply “are.”
7. Amplify the positive. As is the case with anything in life, you will find what you look for. If you are tuned-in to recognizing the positives in your child’s behavior, they will be more likely to amplify them on their own.
8. Change is a family project. Your family is a puzzle, with each member a unique, interlocking piece. The piece representing your child is at Dragonfly, and is in the process of changing its shape. If the family puzzle remains the same while your child is in treatment, what will happen?
9. We will challenge you. This means that you may find yourself angry with us from time to time. That’s okay. Remember, growth is what we’re after, and growth doesn’t typically occur when we are comfortable.
10. See the program Phases for what they are. Change is best measured by looking at issues, not counting Phase advancements. Don’t get too hung up on feeling great if your child makes a new Phase, or terrible if they don’t. The struggle inherent in trying for the Phase creates the most growth.
11. Expect things to be hard and regression to occur. Growth occurs in the process.
12. Change is not linear, predictable, or rational. It does not follow a rule or prescription.
10/29 Family Workshop (virtual)
11/11 Parent Cohort Virtual