ASPIRE Teen Outpatient Mental Health Program

The After-School Program Intervention and Resiliency Education® (ASPIRE) is an intensive outpatient teen mental health program designed to help adolescents ages 13-17 in South Orange County who feel overwhelmed by everyday problems and are struggling with their mental and emotional health.

Through therapy, coping strategies and practice, teens who participate in the ASPIRE Program establish a path toward mental and emotional wellness, resiliency and success – making them less likely to turn to unhealthy or unsafe behaviors such as substance use, self-injury and engagement with risky peers.

ASPIRE uses a family-centered approach to promote healthy relationships among parents and teens, Through parenting groups and multi-family therapy groups, parents can better understand the nature of this life stage and how to support their children.

Find out if ASPIRE is right for your teen

For more information, or to schedule a free confidential assessment, call 949-499-8650.

ASPIRE uses an evidence-based treatment approach called dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), which helps individuals use mindfulness to help identify triggers that lead to unhelpful behavior patterns.

ASPIRE’s intensive outpatient program (IOP) takes place after school and lasts approximately eight weeks. It is more comprehensive than traditional outpatient therapy and is designed to prevent teens with more serious mental health concerns from worsening and requiring higher levels of care.

Patients attend the program Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 4 p.m.  to 7 p.m., as well as Fridays from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. The part-time, late afternoon schedule allows the family to maintain their daily routine, while addressing mental health needs in a structured treatment environment.

The ASPIRE Program is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), the organization responsible for evaluating the quality and effectiveness of higher-education institutions in California. This distinction allows teens who complete the program to be eligible to receive up to five semester credit hours to be applied toward their high school graduation. 

Adolescence is a time of big changes, both physical and emotional: our bodies are maturing, our brains are still developing and we begin to notice how we relate to the world. During the dramatic transition from childhood to adulthood, it's easy to understand why many teens struggle with stress and feeling overwhelmed. While it's natural to struggle from time to time, the following mental health issues can signal a need for the kind of treatment the ASPIRE Program offers:

  • Mood disorders
  • Self-harm
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Substance abuse

Group therapy can often be more powerful than individual therapy as it provides a sense of connection and inclusion, allows for giving and receiving support and helps patients relate to others in healthier ways. For teenagers, these types of social interactions and relationships help develop self-awareness and personal identity.

Using the DBT model, group therapy sessions focus on:

  • Mindfulness: Being fully aware and attentive in the present moment without judgment
  • Distress tolerance: Tolerating difficult situations and emotional pain when problems cannot be solved right away
  • Interpersonal effectiveness: Building and maintaining positive relationships and self-esteem
  • Emotion regulation: Understanding emotions, reducing emotional vulnerability and reactivity, and increasing positive emotions
  • Walking the middle path: Being able to acknowledge and accept others’ perspectives, even if they are different from your own
Father playful with teen son at beach

We believe that the family system plays an important role in adolescent development and growth. We work extensively with the family throughout treatment to ensure the greatest potential for success. Our weekly parent skills and multi-family groups provide an opportunity for parents to practice and refine the tools learned in program with their children.