The adolescent years are a formative time of growth and learning. When a teen is troubled or at risk for damaging behaviors, it can impact their healthy development. Although many teens exhibit defiant behavior or experiment with negative activities, those who are resistant to rehabilitative efforts by their parents or authority figures may end up needing outside intervention. Full time facilities such as residential treatment centers or therapeutic boarding schools are often the answer for severely troubled teens. These programs are designed to be an intensive healing environment where kids can identify their problems and work toward an effective solution, free of the distractions and temptations in their home or school environment. Specializing in issues like depression, anxiety, substance abuse or defiance, these programs are coached and monitored by trained and caring staff.
Because a full time facility is often a major emotional and financial investment, choosing the right one can be intimidating. You want to be sure that the option you pick is going to give your son his best chance for success. While most programs offer a combination of therapy options, including individual, group and family, some may also provide additional benefits such as recreational therapy, life skills coaching or academic assistance. There are some particular factors to consider as you research options.
- Safety – There are different rules and requirements for teen rehabilitation programs in each state. Look up the laws and regulations for the state you are considering in order to ensure that potential facilities have high standards. Don’t be afraid to look at more distant options if you live in a state without strict safety measures. The location of the program is less important than making sure you matched up your son with the best fit.
- Experience – Much like safety regulations, each state requires different levels of accreditation and experience. Familiarize yourself with the laws in your state, so you can be reassured that your son is in knowledgeable hands.
- Individual Attention – Look for a program that individualizes a plan of care for your teen. The most effective residential treatment programs will offer a consistent amount of one-on-one coaching and guidance that allows the staff to update each teen’s plan of care as he works his way through the program. Regular individual attention also helps build trust and set the foundation for better relationships with caregivers and authority figures.
- Therapy Program–A facility that provides various types of therapy and modalities are more likely to reach each teen on a personal level. The best way to treat troubled teens is to identify the factors that are leading to bad behavior and work to create changes from the inside out. Treating only the symptoms of the problem is a short term solution at best.
- Parental Involvement – Your input as a parent is extremely important since you know your teen best. Although the programs at some facilities require initial distance from the parents as their child adjusts to his new surroundings, a good program will listen to your input and apply it as much as possible. You should also consider facilities that provide transitional care and support for the whole family when it is time for your teen to return home.
Liahona Academy is a residential treatment center located in southern Utah. We specialize in helping troubled boys throughout the country overcome their challenges and gain the tools they need to become healthy and happy individuals. For questions about our program, or for a free consultation, please call us at 1-800-675-8101.