When disappointments, losses, and trauma become overwhelming, teens often involve themselves in inappropriate or dangerous behavior due to lacking the proper coping tools. Some teens may hold their problems in and put on a brave face. Others may act out in anger or defiance rather than address the real issues openly. Others will use drugs or risky behavior to cover up their pain. Just as every teenager is different, so are their mental health challenges and how they manifest. The common thread between these experiences is the need for professional help.
At home, months of sessions with a counselor or psychologist and medications may not have improved a teen’s behavior or academic performance. Worsening behaviors continue, along with poor academic performance. Many families may feel at a loss for what to do next. This is where a therapeutic boarding school can help.
Mental health struggles and poor academic performance often go hand in hand. With the significant role that school plays in an adolescent’s life, there is no doubt that depression, anxiety, or other mental health disorders can have profound consequences for student conduct or achievement. That’s not to mention the potentially devastating impacts of these conditions on a teen’s emotional, social, and physical well-being. Therefore, a more intensive care approach is necessary.
What Is a Therapeutic Boarding School?
A therapeutic boarding school combines school with services like individual or group therapies to address teenagers’ mental health and academic issues in a safe residential environment. These programs offer personalized support for struggling teens whose issues have jeopardized their development and may have jeopardized their future. In the therapeutic boarding school, teens learn to develop healthy coping and life skills, find successful new academic strategies, and start a new foundation for a healthy, happy and successful life post-graduation.
Students at therapeutic boarding schools attend class, study, and participate in student life through various therapeutic activities and outings. The difference between therapeutic boarding schools and traditional schooling is that therapeutic boarding schools offer a controlled and monitored residential environment. As a result, teens are surrounded by trained professionals familiar with their life challenges, mental health struggles, and academic issues. This allows a coordinated approach to therapy and education that addresses the teens’ developmental goals and prepares them for life beyond school.
The Advantage of Therapeutic Boarding Schools
Good therapeutic boarding school programs offer personalized support that traditional environments cannot. They also coordinate therapy with academics and daily living. They recognize how these areas impact one another and design plans to help students carry success from one place to another.
In most therapeutic boarding school programs, students have regular meetings with their academic counselors and therapists. They develop a plan to address their mental health challenges and educational issues here. This plan can and should be adjusted to suit the student’s changing needs and growth throughout the program.
Students may also participate in various therapeutic sessions and settings, varying widely between programs. Whatever the program, personalized care and family involvement are essential. These are easier to achieve with smaller programs, where the staff-to-student ratio is small enough for students to get to know the staff they will be working with throughout their stay.
Different Therapeutic Boarding School Approaches
Therapeutic boarding school programs use a broad range of treatment approaches, instructional methods, and outlooks toward the proper path to student development. Today, many programs are moving towards a model based on identifying students’ unique strengths and building on those to make progress. They help students find their values, engage in meaningful self-reflection, and improve essential life skills they can carry with them wherever they go post-graduation.
The goal of therapeutic boarding school is to address more than just academic or behavioral problems. A quality program helps students create and reach goals in all areas of their lives, from social skills to mental health. Families can play a pivotal role in this development. Many programs include families in regular therapy sessions with the student to understand the root of any social conflicts and create a positive, supportive environment post-graduation. This can also involve post-graduation support and outreach from the program to check on student progress and help students develop the gains made in the program.
Quality therapeutic boarding school programs offer unique benefits that can help adolescents overcome the challenges holding them back. With the right coping tools and therapeutic techniques, students have a much better chance of dealing with stress, managing mental illness, overcoming self-doubt, and achieving mental well-being. When these strategies are combined with personalized academic coaching, an environment of supportive peers, and professional help from a caring, qualified staff, teens have the support and resources they need to thrive academically, emotionally, and socially as they grow into young adults.