Teen & Adolescent Substance Use Comprehensive Therapy

We will give you the support and guidance you need to get started on the road of long-term recovery.

We Specialize In Adolescent Treatment

As substance use disorders continue to rise for the adolescent population, access to comprehensive treatment options is imperative for successful treatment outcomes. During comprehensive therapy, individuals have the opportunity to address and work through any underlying concerns that may be contributing to their substance use.  

At Guardian Recovery, we offer evidence-based, comprehensive therapy services for teens experiencing mental health and substance use concerns. Our teen substance abuse therapy program can help adolescents learn and develop healthy coping mechanisms that they can utilize anytime throughout the recovery process. Contact us today to learn more about our adolescent comprehensive treatment options.

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The Role of Therapy in Your Teen’s Treatment & Recovery

Therapy plays a vital role in teen substance use treatment. Therapy allows your child to have a safe environment, where they can freely discuss their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors with a trained and licensed mental health provider. Adolescents in therapy also get the opportunity to identify and process any negative emotions or traumatic experiences that may have contributed to their substance use. 

According to the American Psychiatric Association, therapy is an effective treatment option for those experiencing substance use disorders because: (1) 

  • It can aid with recognizing thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that may contribute or perpetuate substance use. 
  • It can aid with managing strong emotions that can trigger substance use, such as stress. 
  • It allows individuals to address any mental health disorders that may occur simultaneously with their substance use disorder. 
  • It allows each individual the opportunity to foster their confidence, self-esteem, and self-worth. 

Types of Therapies Utilized in Our Adolescent Substance Use Treatment Program

At Guardian Recovery, we utilize various therapies to aid adolescents experiencing substance use disorders. Each one has advantages that help each client develop the skills needed to reach their treatment goals. 

Individual Therapy

In individual therapy sessions, clients sit down one-on-one with a licensed therapist and delve deep into their patterns, behaviors, and any underlying issues that may influence their substance use. Individual therapy sessions allow clients to open up about topics they might not feel comfortable discussing in a group setting. Working with a trained mental health professional in a completely confidential and supportive environment is extremely beneficial. Over time, the client learns to trust their therapist, the therapist learns more about the client, their personal history with substance use, and coping skills are developed.

Group Therapy

Group therapy sessions consist of a group of teens and a licensed mental health provider. Each group therapy session focuses on a different topic. There is a strong emphasis placed on age-specific issues and challenges. For example, the impact of social media, peer pressure at school, family dynamics, and the stress associated with preparing for a transition to college/independent living are all discussed during group therapy sessions. Over time, clients develop a group cohesion with other group members and they are able to receive advice and gain support from their peers.  

Family Therapy

At Guardian Recovery, we believe that family involvement is an important part of the treatment process. The family serves as a built-in support system, and thoroughly educating the family on the root causes of substance use, and the importance of prioritizing their own emotional and mental health, often means the difference between relapse and continued recovery. During family sessions, the teen engaging in substance use, and their family, sit with a licensed mental health provider to develop adaptive communication and coping techniques. Each family member is allowed the opportunity to discuss their thoughts, feelings, and emotions, and the therapist guides the session, providing evidence-based techniques throughout the session.

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Therapeutic Approaches We Employ

In addition to different types of therapies, there are also different treatment modalities that can be utilized during individual, group, and family therapy. 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

This is the gold standard treatment option for mental health and substance use disorders. (2)   CBT helps clients identify and change negative thinking patterns and behaviors. It focuses on teaching each client the relationship between their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. This therapeutic method helps clients consistently replace their self-destructive patterns with adaptive coping techniques, while learning to live in the present moment.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)

DBT is very similar to CBT, however, DBT focuses on four components, which include emotional regulation, distress tolerance, mindfulness, and interpersonal effectiveness. DBT helps clients develop the skills needed to manage intense emotions and change maladaptive behaviors. 

Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR)

This therapeutic method was first developed in the 1980s, and was exclusively used to treat individuals experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder. EMDR is extremely beneficial for clients who have unresolved trauma. This non-invasive technique utilizes carefully controlled eye movements to help clients process traumatic memories without reliving them. 

Resolving Underlying Trauma & Mental Health Conditions

Experiencing trauma as a child can lead to the development of disabilities, diseases, social problems, and early mortality. Research has found that those with childhood trauma experienced PTSD symptoms for longer periods of time when compared to those who have not experienced childhood trauma. (3) Substance use disorders and psychiatric mental health disorders have a high co-occurrence rate. In 2020, approximately 12 percent of the total United States population, 12 years of age or older, experienced mental health and substance use disorders simultaneously. (4)  Tackling trauma, and other mental health conditions, can help address the root of substance use disorders, or identify any patterns that may exacerbate it. Research has found that over 60 percent of adolescents experiencing substance use disorders also meet the diagnostic criteria for another mental health disorder. (5) 

Effectiveness of Evidence-Based Therapies in Adolescent Holistic Treatment

There has been extensive research regarding the effectiveness of different evidence-based therapies. CBT has been found to be effective in the treatment of substance use disorders. (6) Research has also found that those receiving DBT treatment were more likely to achieve full remission when compared to other treatment options. (7) Additionally, EMDR has been found to be effective in reducing PTSD symptoms in those with co-occurring substance use disorders. (8)

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Our Facilities & Teams Transform Lives

Changing lives by providing comprehensive support and rehabilitation, empowering individuals to overcome addiction and regain control of their health and well-being.

Our Simple Admissions Process 

If your teen is finding it hard to control substance use, a substance use disorder may be present. At Guardian Recovery, we can provide you with a complimentary, initial psychological evaluation to determine the presence of any mental health or substance use disorders. Our comprehensive teen addiction therapy program can help your teen achieve their treatment goals. One of our Treatment Advisors is ready to speak with you and help guide you through our simple admissions process. Ask about our free, no obligation insurance benefits check to determine which of our treatment programs is covered by your health insurance plan. Start your road to recovery today at Guardian Recovery.


Do I have an Addiction issue?

Disclaimer: Does not guarantee specific treatment outcomes, as individual results may vary. Our services are not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis; please consult a qualified healthcare provider for such matters.

  1. https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/addiction-substance-use-disorders/what-is-a-substance-use-disorder
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5797481/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3188414/
  4. https://scholar.utc.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1922&context=theses
  5. https://nida.nih.gov/publications/research-reports/common-comorbidities-substance-use-disorders/part-1-connection-between-substance-use-disorders-mental-illness
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6856400/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6694661/
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5356401/

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Helpful, Recovery

Reviewed professionally for accuracy by:

Ryan Soave


Ryan Soave brings deep experience as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, certified trauma therapist, program developer, and research consultant for Huberman Lab at Stanford University Department of Neurobiology. Post-graduation from Wake Forest University, Ryan quickly discovered his acumen for the business world. After almost a decade of successful entrepreneurship and world traveling, he encountered a wave of personal and spiritual challenges; he felt a calling for something more. Ryan returned to school and completed his Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling. When he started working with those suffering from addiction and PTSD, he found his passion. He has never looked back.

Written by:

Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark grew up in Santa Barbara, CA and graduated from UCLA with a degree in playwriting. Since then she has been writing on addiction recovery and psychology full-time, and has found a home as part of the Guardian Recovery team.

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