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Teaching Social Skills in Step Down Programs

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social skills for young adults

Completing a residential or wilderness program can be an exciting time where teens can feel proud of the work that they have done and look forward to returning home. But not everyone who completes a residential program is ready to head home right away. It can feel overwhelming to leave the support of a program and return home to a place that may hold a lot of triggers or challenges. Step-down programs are designed to support teens as they transition from a residential or wilderness program towards returning home. 

What is a Step Down Program?

A step-down program is just that: a step down from a residential setting before returning to the home environment. Sometimes teens transitioning from a wilderness or residential treatment environment believe that they need a more structured environment than their home environment can offer. When residents first arrive the program provides the structure they need to begin their transition back into the “real world”. As residents progress through the program, they are given more and more independence with the intention of boosting confidence and self-efficacy.

Building Social Skills

Residential and wilderness programs create an immediate community. Residents are surrounded by peers who may be struggling in similar ways, which can allow them to feel more comfortable and confident in their communications. They do not have to worry that they may be judged because their peers understand where they are coming from. Returning home can be challenging because they no longer have the community they have come to rely on. 

Step-down programs can help teens build their social skills so that they feel more confident heading back home. They are introduced to new peers during their time in the program where they learn to make new connections and friendships. This practice can give them the skills they need to reconnect with old friends, or new friends when they go back home. Programs may use strategies such as recreational activities to build these skills. By teaching teens the value of developing hobbies and interests, they are encouraged to pursue those interested and develop their talents and skills when they return home. 

Young people in step-down programs also learn important skills such as time management, being accountable, and completing tasks on schedule. These skills are extremely beneficial to creating new relationships and friendships and help teens feel like productive and positive members of their community. 

Journey Home Can Help

Journey Home is the perfect fit for teens who are ready to build upon skills learned in therapeutic settings but recognize they still need guidance and support to further develop their success. Journey Home blends a traditional home setting with positive peer and staff relationships. At Journey Home, we believe in the value of good health and healthy hobbies, two crucial aspects of happy, successful adults. 

Journey Home combines the warmth and comfort of a traditional home setting with the continued guiding hand of staff. This means that our residents live in a home setting on a quiet cul-de-sac with other teens who are also coming out of treatment programs. For more information please call (385) 304-3603.