Low Self-Reliance in Today’s Twenty-Somethings

June 6, 2017

Author: Kori Gooden, LMSW

Given the current economical state, with high interest rates, staggering student loans looming, and a disheartening job market, it’s not difficult to understand why today’s young people are feeling unmotivated. However, there is something to be said about growing where you are planted, and doing the best with what you have, even if what you have is different than previous generations. Low motivation to direct your own life is not conducive to personal growth, happiness, or success, for the identified client or his or her family. While mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and trauma are greatly emphasized and recognized, it is important to treat the whole person, including any behavioral or perceptual patterns that may be unhelpful for the client’s life trajectory. Low self-reliance can manifest itself in a variety of ways, including difficulty in making decisions without reinforcement or advice, poor planning, impulsivity, perceived need for others to care for you financially or emotionally, impaired ability to accomplish goals without assistance, and hesitation to take steps to practice independent living. When focusing on improving self-reliance, the goal is to reinforce positive behaviors that promote independence. It is not helpful to take a punitive approach that blames the identified client, or any one person. Self-reliance is a family and environmental issue that is the result of established behavioral patterns and developed over time, usually the entirety of a person’s life.

Our Model

At Jefferson Oaks Behavioral Health, we use a multi-dimensional approach to address low self-reliance, an issue that can plague anyone of any age, but appears to be impacting young adults as they attempt to branch into independence. Gentle confrontation is utilized to enhance self-awareness and insight, while Motivational Interviewing techniques are implemented to support self-determination and autonomy, the idea that every person has the right to decide their own life path, and inherently knows what they want and value. The benefits of brief intervention are numerous, but the average length of stay of 6-8 weeks in the IOP/PHP programs at Jefferson Oaks Behavioral Health is the sweet spot between support and dependence for the client population we serve. This balance is crucial for fostering independence in clients who are at-risk for developing low self-reliance, as the goal is to motivate them towards independent functioning, and reduce clinging and maladaptive behaviors. One major positive outcome of group therapy is the client’s ability to increase his or her self-awareness and insight into issues and functioning. While working the PHP, IOP, or Dual Diagnosis programs at Jefferson Oaks Behavioral Health, one can expect to enhance their understanding of their own cognitive patterns. It is not uncommon for treatment goals and focus to change throughout treatment, considering that assessment is ongoing. We can attribute this evolution of treatment focus and intervention to the increased understanding of environmental, cultural, and personal experiences that are unique to each client. At Jefferson Oaks Behavioral Health, we value and celebrate each client’s individual experience, and strive to build a mental health toolkit that incorporates their strengths. By utilizing various interventions, including individual, family, and group therapy sessions and assessment and monitoring by the medical team, the client has every opportunity to practice learned skills. Jefferson Oaks Behavioral Health provides group sessions to address self-reliance, including Healthy Communication, Assertiveness, Co-dependencies, Managing Emotions, Defense Mechanisms, Distress Tolerance, Anxiety, Relationships, and Self-Esteem. Further, in the Co-dependencies treatment group at Jefferson Oaks Behavioral Health, behavioral patterns are identified within the family of origin, with focus on the impact of those established patterns on current functioning. Maladaptive behaviors, such as enabling, are unpacked in order to increase self-awareness in our clients. While Healthy Communication and Assertiveness teach clients to advocate for themselves honestly and respectfully, Anxiety and Self-Esteem groups foster the confidence necessary to execute new, adaptive patterns.

Family Involvement and Participation

Family sessions are vital to the short- and long-term recovery of our clients. Low self-reliance can cause distress for the support system, especially when rescuing and caretaking behaviors are used by the family of the client. The treatment team at Jefferson Oaks Behavioral Health recognizes that a person, or client, is a product and participant of their own environment, and does not exist in isolation. With psycho-education and facilitation of healthy discussion in these sessions, Jefferson Oaks Behavioral Health promotes healing for the entire family. There is never a bad time to invest in yourself. To schedule an assessment and begin your therapeutic journey towards independence, call 225-927-5624 today.