Differences in Residential Treatment Programs & Therapeutic Boarding Schools

If you are parenting a troubled teen and he has not responded to any of the outpatient options you have tried, it may be time to consider full time care. The two options that generally come up as parents begin to research this topic are residential treatment centers and therapeutic boarding schools. While both options are viable, depending on what your teen needs in order to identify and address his issues, there are some similarities and differences that may help you decide which type of facility is best.

Both types of programs offer education, recreation, therapy and lodging, however, therapeutic boarding schools place a greater emphasis on education. They also have a larger number of residents and the average stay is generally longer. Residential treatment programs, on the other hand, focus largely on therapy and the underlying issues that lead to a need for behavioral modification. These facilities offer shorter stays and there are a smaller number of residents in order to offer each teen more individualized care from the counselors and therapists.

At therapeutic boarding schools, education and healing go hand in hand, but less time is spent on each individual teen’s specific therapeutic needs. Although many parents turn to therapeutic boarding schools as a way to therapeutically treat their teen, while keeping on top of his education, it is not commonly understood that many residential facilities also offer accredited academic programs as well.

Most therapeutic boarding schools are designed to provide structure and supervision for teens with basic behavioral issues, such as learning difficulties, substance abuse history, defiance and some psychiatric conditions. They are not usually equipped to host students who have more severe conditions, such as bipolar disorder. Residential facilities, however, have both nurses and psychiatrists on staff and are able to create individualized treatment plans for residents who need medication or IEP cohesion while they go through the therapy process. While each type of program has its merits, at the end of the day, you should consider the one that is going to cover everything your teen needs while he is away from you.

Liahona Academy is a residential treatment center located in southern Utah. We specialize in helping troubled teen boys overcome their issues and gain the tools they need in order to become healthy and successful individuals. If you have questions about our program or would like a free consultation, please call us at 1-801-675-8101. 

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