If you’re looking for help for your troubled teenager, you’ve probably reviewed many therapeutic boarding schools. Let’s take a look at what these programs are really about and see if they’re right for your teenager.
Therapy is arguably the most important element of any therapeutic boarding school. Offering troubled teens a chance to really tackle some of their deeper issues can open them up to an entirely new way of living their lives. As such, therapeutic programs aim to create safe, supportive environments in addition to therapy, so that teenagers feel secure enough to open up and get vulnerable. Once teenagers are able to face some of their more challenging internal conflicts, they often find themselves able to address life problems.
As the parent of a troubled teen, you may have already turned to outpatient therapy as you’ve looked for ways to help your child. So what makes therapy in a boarding school different? While general therapy can be helpful, therapeutic boarding schools specialize in therapies which have been most successful with troubled kids. These therapies can include, but aren’t limited to, equine therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), group sessions, individual sessions, and family sessions.
The goal for a therapeutic boarding school is usually to create an entire therapeutic atmosphere, rather than just a few sessions here and there. When troubled teenagers have their therapeutic sessions backed up by a positive peer group and a support structure, they’re usually able to make much more progress than they would in a less structured environment. Sometimes, keeping a teen in their current social group of friends and influences can keep them down.
As the parent of a troubled teen, you probably already know the impact their behavior has had on their grades. Maybe your son or daughter is skipping class and finds themselves at odds with the school administration. Perhaps they’ve simply stopped doing their work and their grades are slipping. Therapeutic boarding schools offer specialized services to help with exactly these situations.
Many therapeutic centers offer academic recovery programs. These programs are designed to help teenagers get back on track in school, making up credits they’ve missed and getting themselves back on the road to graduation. The academic services in these programs are also specifically developed to meet individual students’ needs. For teenagers with learning disabilities like ADHD, dyslexia, or ADD, they can receive a level of attention that isn’t available in traditional schools. Therapeutic schools really take the time to understand their students and provide them with academics at their personal level and pace.
Most therapeutic programs include a spiritual component, as well. It can be very helpful for teenagers, particularly those raised with a religious tradition, to re-discover their spiritual connection as a way to overcome negative behavior. Christian therapeutic programs offer a dynamic combination of education, therapy, and faith which can make a powerful and long-lasting change in young people.
That’s not to say that all therapeutic boarding schools are faith-based programs, however. For teenagers without a religious background or with a particularly strong aversion to spirituality, there are lots of schools which avoid religion entirely. They might have non-denominational services, offer flexible conceptions of a Higher Power, or none of the above. While spirituality of some kind can be transformative for troubled teens, it is not always mandatory. Many teenagers find the transformation they need through therapy and support systems alone.
Now that you know a little bit about what goes on in therapeutic programs, how do you know if these programs are right for your teenager? The main criteria for these programs includes:
If your teenager is displaying some or all of these symptoms, these programs can help them. You can check out our directory here for a comprehensive listing of therapeutic boarding schools across the country to find the perfect program for your son or daughter. Remember, although they all have a similar purpose, there are significant differences between therapeutic schools. Be sure to research them as thoroughly as possible to find the perfect fit. Help is available and with an ever-increasing number of therapeutic boarding schools to choose from, you’re sure to find one that matches your teenager’s needs.