Troubled Teen Therapy

If your adolescent feels trapped in the challenges of life during their teenage years, therapy can serve as a life-saving tool. When therapy is integrated into the framework of a therapeutic program, your child has the opportunity to cultivate self-esteem, nurture confidence, and discover a pathway out from the burdens they bear.

Let’s delve into some of the most prevalent therapeutic modalities employed in today’s therapeutic boarding schools. A better understanding of the therapeutic process equips you to provide ongoing support to your teenager once they complete such a program.


Psychotherapy is a broad term encompassing various treatment methods that address behaviors and attitudes from a psychological standpoint rather than a medical one. In simpler terms, it’s often referred to as “talk” therapy or simply “therapy.” This approach is the most common and offers numerous benefits for struggling teenagers.

Psychotherapy can occur in group or individual settings, with many therapeutic programs offering both options. Adolescents are encouraged to share their struggles and issues, allowing professional therapists to help them uncover underlying motives and comprehend their challenging behaviors. Once teenagers gain a better understanding of themselves, they are guided to modify their reactions to the world around them.

The key to successful psychotherapy lies in the teenager’s willingness and honesty. If you’ve witnessed your teenager becoming reticent and resistant to seeking help, you may wonder how therapeutic programs can succeed where outpatient therapy may have faltered. Fortunately, with a well-established support system in place, therapeutic programs often achieve results where previous attempts fell short.

Equine Therapy

Equine therapy is an experiential form of therapy involving teenagers interacting with horses. Also known as horse therapy or equine-assisted therapy, this approach provides adolescents with the opportunity to groom, feed, halter, and lead horses under the guidance of professional therapists. For safety reasons, horse trainers are typically present as well.

You may question how this can benefit your troubled teenager, but equine therapy has been clinically proven to be highly effective with adolescents facing challenges. As your child interacts with the horse, the therapist observes their behavior, emotions, and patterns. During and after the horse interaction, the therapist assists your teenager in processing their experience, which can yield positive outcomes.

The primary aim of equine therapy is to foster life skills such as responsibility, confidence, discipline, and critical thinking. Because this environment is typically unfamiliar for most teenagers, it takes them out of their comfort zone and away from the routine of their daily life, often leading to valuable psychological breakthroughs.

Addiction Counseling

For teenagers grappling with addiction or alcoholism, specialized therapy approaches exist to address their unique circumstances. These therapeutic practices often complement spiritual solutions like faith-based programs or 12-step programs, offering a comprehensive approach to treating the disease of addiction.

Addiction counseling places a primary focus on relapse prevention and targeted psychotherapy. Relapse prevention is dedicated to equipping recovering addicts with new skills and tools to prevent a return to addiction. This often includes strategies for managing anger and coping with stress. Those in early recovery commonly struggle with their emotions and often need to learn how to handle stress, anger, and depression in healthy ways. Teaching addicts how to manage their emotions is a critical component of long-term sobriety.

The psychotherapy in addiction counseling specifically targets the root causes and conditions of addictive behavior. Whether an addict has experienced trauma, profound isolation, depression, or bullying, these underlying issues must be addressed to support full recovery. Frequently, a recovering addict experiences a relapse triggered by past trauma or suppressed emotions. Adequate treatment can address these underlying issues before they jeopardize their recovery.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

While CBT falls under the umbrella of psychotherapy, its objective differs. CBT is not aimed at delving into the origins of issues but rather at addressing unhealthy thought patterns and challenging destructive behaviors. CBT is often the go-to treatment protocol for teenagers struggling with anxiety or depression.

Every individual possesses fundamental beliefs, conceptions, and attitudes that shape their identity. However, in some individuals, these “cognitive processes” can become detrimental. That’s where CBT comes into play. CBT sessions are typically more focused on goals than traditional therapy, and teenagers can often overcome issues within a year of consistent therapy. By collaborating with a therapist to change negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones, an individual’s behavior can undergo significant transformation in a relatively short time.

Finding the Right Program

While all therapeutic programs offer therapy, their areas of expertise can vary significantly. Some programs prioritize comprehensive substance abuse treatment, while others place greater emphasis on traditional psychotherapy. When seeking the right program for your teenager, be sure to inquire about their therapeutic approach to find the one that best suits your child’s needs.