CHIEF CLINICAL OFFICER
Barbara Nosal, PhD, LMFT, LADC
Barbara Nosal, PhD, developed and oversees the clinical and family programs for Newport Academy’s residential and outpatient treatment programs. Dr. Nosal has worked with adolescents and families in the field of mental health, teenage depression, and addiction treatment for more than 20 years. Her work focuses on restructuring family dynamics and relationships by empowering parents with improved communication and healing family-of-origin childhood trauma. As a result, families are able to identify how their communication in the present is often a trauma response from the past.
Dr. Barbara Nosal specializes in family systems, with training in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, trauma-focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Post-Induction Therapy, and Multidimensional Family Therapy. Prior to joining Newport Academy, Dr. Barbara Nosal held managerial and clinical positions in inpatient, outpatient, and school-based settings with some well-known treatment centers throughout California and the Palo Alto Unified School District.
My Five Fundamental Beliefs
- Family involvement is critical to successful outcomes during and post-treatment.
Research shows that family involvement is key to successful treatment outcomes, and is also the strongest predictor of teen substance abuse. Parents are often unaware of how their actions have been internalized by their child, and may not understand the difference they can make. Positive changes in family dynamics and how to express parental support can significantly reduce negative teen behaviors.
- Communication is the number-one area in need of improvement in most families.
Parents often take their teen’s behavior personally, by overreacting or being critical. Hence, teens are hesitant to open up with them. When parents can actively listen and validate their child’s experience, with empathy and understanding, showing vulnerability and authenticity, teens are hopeful that change is possible. It starts with parents taking that first step in modeling for their child what is possible in a relationship.
- Self-destructive behavior is most often the external manifestation of the hurts held within.
Parents are often focused on their child’s behavior—we ask them to let go of the past and shift the focus to the present moment, remembering that at their teenager’s core is an innocent, hurt child. The greatest transformation comes when parents can shift the focus to their child’s feelings and experience. Parents’ greatest fear is that they have done to their children what was done to them in their own childhoods. This recognition helps to facilitate the healing process.
- Every parent and every child want a deeper, more meaningful relationship with one another—they just don’t know how.
Teens desperately want parental support, but fear they will disappoint them and never meet their expectations. In addition, they need structure, stability, consistency, and predictability to feel safe. Parents can demonstrate their love for their child by being emotionally available, present, and responsive, while stepping into their parental power to provide the boundaries teens crave. In turn, it is the teen’s “job” to push the limits and hold parents accountable to what they say.
- Emotional dysregulation is typically related to past relational trauma.
No other development need impacts a child across so many domains of adaptive functioning as having a secure attachment with a parental figure. Without this secure attachment, teens do not learn how to regulate their emotions in recovery to feel safe and secure. Years of repressed hurt feelings come out as anger and rage in adolescence. We help teens to connect emotional dysregulation in a present situation to past relational trauma, when their needs were not met and they felt disconnected from their caregivers. Healing past relational trauma can be the most freeing experience we provide a teen or parent in treatment.
Newport Academy…in her own words
“It is the greatest honor I could hope for to be associated with such a passionate and dedicated team. This group is committed to the success of each and every one of our clients and families. Every member of the Newport Academy team goes beyond what is expected. As a result, we uphold a standard of excellence that we have become known for in our industry. Working at Newport Academy and witnessing the transformation of teens and their families is the most fulfilling and meaningful experience I have had professionally.” —Barbara Nosal
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