A lot can change in just a few years. Parents of daughters know that every year brings something new. But many of us are overwhelmed with the severity, scope, and speed of change during our daughter’s teenage years. What we often do not understand is that the early teenage years come with a small window of time before these changes become entrenched and sometimes permanent. The rapid expansion of the brain during puberty creates new neural pathways for processing thoughts and feelings. These new pathways can shape and distort the important belief systems. The core assumptions about themselves, their relationships, and their effectiveness in the world are often consolidated during this time. The longer inaccurate beliefs and negative emotions are left addressed, the more entrenched they become.
However if the proper psychological intervention is made in adolescence, your child can be equipped with invaluable psychological tools to protect themselves and to establish a healthy psychological foundation for their adolescence and beyond. Dr. Sylvia Gearing’s Growing Girls Strong program is a new system that is tailor made to equip your daughter with over 80 separate skills to combat inaccurate and ineffective thinking habits and belief systems that may form during adolescence.
Dr. Sylvia Gearing’s career has always focused on empowering women of all ages. However, today’s teens have unprecedented complex and confusing challenges. In the new world of social media, selfies, and cyber bullying, she must navigate an ever-shifting social landscape. Her sense of self-effectiveness is challenged by the ambiguity and outright cruelty of adolescent society.
To combat these new challenges, Dr. Gearing has refined her revolutionary DBT Skills Group curriculum and created a new program intended to teach young women self-care, self-acceptance, and most of all self-empowerment. She tackles teen specific issues like self-appraisal and body image, relationships with parents, healthy vs toxic friendships, social media and online personas, emerging romantic relationships, bullying and cyberbullying, the temptation of self-harm and self-sabotaging behavior, and much more.
Unlike the DBT Skills Group, the emphasis of this group combines the basic tenants and teachings of DBT with active demonstration of the DBT principles through experiential lessons. She presents and teaches these psychological concepts and skills in more relatable ways. The teenage years are some of the most important of our lives since we are creating that indelible sense of ourselves as women. Dr. Gearing is determined that your daughter is equipped with the most effective coping skills and the unyielding devotion to her own sense of strength and courage.
Anyone can tell you that adolescence is a difficult time for most people. Even with a happy and uneventful childhood, many teens miss the developmental milestones for their psychological health. Those vital coping skills do not always unfold as we hoped. Whether the lack of coping skills is due to developmental trauma, an emerging biological vulnerability to emotional intensity issue, or developmental delays, it’s easy to fall behind and skip steps that are critical for functioning fully as a young adult. The good news is that these skills can still be taught and tutored for use in the years to come.
In addition to her own research and experience as a veteran clinical psychologist, Dr. Sylvia has incorporated evidence based and thoroughly researched concepts and skills from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Positive Psychology, developments in neuroscience, social psychology, and much more into her curriculum. She will teach your child the psychological coping skills that could take years or sometimes decades of study, practice, and experience to acquire naturally – even in a traditional therapy setting.
Growing Girls Strong is unique because of its ability to communicate big ideas, psychological concepts, and useful skills in relatable ways. Integrating the latest Netflix shows, social media trends, and modern pop culture, Dr. Sylvia is able to communicate ideas and concepts through stories and examples those teens are already talking about with their friends. The GGS curriculum is more interactive and experiential than the adult DBT Skills Group. The program, involves more interactive coaching to understand how to apply skills in the moment and how to make the most effective choice. This is not another class they’re attending where a teacher drones on and on about some boring abstract theory that isn’t useful or applicable to their lives. The curriculum is applied directly to their lives and real-world situations through group discussion and coaching.
As previously mentioned, there is a short window of time in early adolescence for therapeutic intervention before unhealthy and maladaptive belief systems and coping styles become entrenched. Research now shows that depression strikes this generation a full decade earlier in life than it did the Baby Boomers. In addition, the rate of depression for girls doubles during puberty, and the signs of depression are often misunderstood or undiagnosed until it’s quite serious. Wait, it gets worse. Researchers also add that once you’ve experienced depression, your risk for depression sky rockets for the rest of your life. So, an undertreated, undiagnosed, or unnoticed depression during adolescence can have permanent effects for the rest of your daughter’s life.
The Growing Girls Strong program was custom built, researched, and written as an intervention program at a critical time for teen and tween girls. What makes Growing Girls Strong different than any other program for young women is its focus on skills and hard science. Instead of unstructured group discussions or loosely monitored activity based therapy, GGS is committed to teaching your daughter dozens of skills that they can actually use when a crisis hits. An original blend of evidence based techniques and new skills will give your daughter the tools to handle and overcome any situation they encounter.
Growing Girls Strong is one of Gearing Up’s intensive treatment programs and requires at least one group session per week and one individual session per week. After all, the program is designed to teach a massive amount of content in a short amount of time. The group sessions are primarily used to present skills and concepts, illustrate how and why the skills are useful, how to apply the skill in real time, and sometimes further discussion and exercises to ensure understanding. The individual sessions are focused solely on your daughter, her acquisition and use of the skills and concepts presented in group, drilling down on her personal experiences and real-life applications, and more. Dr. Sylvia closely monitors all of the individual sessions for her group members as well to make sure the group content is being applied properly and thoroughly.
The primary purpose of the Growing Girls Strong Program is to disrupt the cycle of psychological issues that can haunt a young woman for the rest of her life. Psychologists now agree that depression and similar issues must be treated as though they have “gone into remission” instead of being “cured.” Around half of those who recover from an episode of depression have another major episode in their lifetime. After two or more episodes of depression, your likelihood of slipping back into a major depression is 70-80%. Once the average person has been depressed, they have an average of four episodes of major depression lasting 20 weeks or more throughout their lifetime. That’s the average person. Severe cases are obviously far more dramatic and can disrupt even the most promising of lives. It is more critical than ever to prepare your daughter for the challenges that she will face as she grows and develops into an adult. Call us today to get her started in Growing Girls Strong.