Help For Teens: Residential Treatment Centers VS Therapeutic Boarding Schools

Sometimes, parents find they need the help of other professionals to help their struggling teenagers, especially as their teens’ behavior starts to spiral out of control. Two of the most recommended suggestions are residential treatment centers for teens and therapeutic boarding schools for teens.

These two types of troubled teen programs are often referred to interchangeably, but there are differences between therapeutic boarding schools and residential treatment centers. To help you understand the differences between these options, we’re here to clarify those differences and help you determine which option is best for your teen.

What Is A Residential Treatment Center VS A Therapeutic Boarding School

One of the first things parents should understand is that exactly what defines a residential treatment center and a therapeutic boarding school can vary from state-to-state. As we are based in Utah, we will be using the legal guidelines to help define the differences between these two programs.

Therapeutic Boarding School

A therapeutic boarding school is generally more focused on the academic side of a teen’s success with needed therapy interwoven. Teens who have found the public school system unsupportive of their mental, emotional, and other needs can find greater support in a therapeutic boarding school.

Along with classes paced to help struggling teens catch up academically, therapy is interwoven into the daily schedule. However, the therapeutic needs of these teens are often not overly complex.

Residential Treatment Center

At a residential treatment center for troubled teens, children with complex therapeutic needs can receive the kind of treatment they need. There is a greater concentration of medical and mental health professionals at these treatment centers. Also, academics are not neglected, and teens will continue their education through an accredited academic program. Residential treatment centers are designed this way to address teens with complicated needs.

For instance, say a teen who is struggling with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), oppositional defiance disorder (ODD), has engaged in substance abuse as well as other delinquent behaviors. This teenager doesn’t stand much of a chance of succeeding in the public school system, and a therapeutic boarding school is not equipped to help guide this teen through the tangles of their mental, emotional, physical, and academic needs. But at a residential treatment center, this teen can find the help to grow and succeed again.

Also, in Utah, all residential treatment centers must first qualify as a therapeutic boarding school before they can go on to be certified as a residential treatment center. So, by choosing a residential treatment center in Utah, your teen can have all the benefits of a therapeutic boarding school as well as the greater care a residential treatment center provides.

How To Determine Which Program Best Benefits Your Teen

From the above definition of therapeutic boarding schools versus residential treatment centers, you may already have an idea of which program is best suited to your teen’s needs. But to be sure, here are some ways you can see which troubled teen boarding option is best for your teenager’s needs.

Teens attending therapeutic boarding schools:

  • Need tailored academic help to get back on track
  • Have more straightforward mental health needs
  • Can benefit from a change in environment
  • Will be able to transition home within 6 months to a year

Teens attending residential treatment schools:

  • Have complex emotional and mental health needs
  • Need support overcoming traumatic events/backgrounds
  • Require remedial classes to catch up to peers academically
  • Obligated to leave current environment due to poor choices
  • Generally need at least 9 months or more to successfully make changes

Liahona Treatment Center Can Help Troubled Teen Boys

If you are leaning toward a residential treatment center for your child, then you may want to consider Liahona Treatment Center. Here at Liahona, we focus on offering our services to teenage boys from ages 13-17 and have brought in professionals that specialize in working with troubled teen boys.

Located in Southern Utah, teens attending Liahona are able to experience a completely different environment, as many of our students come from suburban or urban settings. In this far more rural setting, many of the pressures and vices are gone, and teens can focus on what’s important—making positive, lifelong changes.

Should you want to learn more about residential treatment centers and Liahona specifically, feel free to contact us for information. We would be happy to discuss our program with you and help you determine if your teenage son is suited for our residential treatment center.

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