How to Choose the Right Therapeutic Boarding School

A therapeutic boarding school can offer a world of benefits for a struggling teen. While some parents may be hesitant to send their teen to a boarding school, the majority find that their teens can better address the behavioral and mental wellness concerns.

Therapeutic boarding schools offer your teen the ability to keep their education on track in an environment that supports their healing process. There are several options in therapeutic boarding schools. Choosing the one that will meet your teen’s needs is important for ensuring that he gets the best experience.

Several factors should be considered when looking for the right therapeutic boarding school. As an example, some facilities may focus on therapeutic treatment for teens who have mental health concerns to work through. Others may specialize in drug and alcohol abuse concerns. Some could focus on behavioral issues for teens who are out of control.

That makes it crucial that you understand your teen’s needs, the offerings of each facility you’re considering, and how your teen will get their needs met.

Further defining a therapeutic boarding school

A therapeutic boarding school is a facility that allows children and teens to get the in-depth treatment and counseling they need while still getting an education. With a wide-ranging selection of therapeutic methods and options, these alternative schools are a good choice for parents looking to help their troubled teens.

A therapeutic boarding school is considered to be an alternative school. It is important to distinguish between alternative schools that include wilderness therapy, boot camps, and faith-based treatment programs.

The therapy element is the most important part of a therapeutic boarding school. The structured environment of the school will offer a safe and supportive environment so that troubled teens can feel confident enough to show their vulnerable side. It provides teens with the ability to dig deep into their struggles to work through finding a new way to cope and live.

Troubled teens often struggle with keeping up with their grades. Whether they’ve been skipping classes, refusing to complete assignments, or just struggling to keep up with their workload, therapeutic boarding schools can provide the right kind of educational resources to help them get back on track.

Therapeutic models offered by therapeutic boarding schools can differ between facilities, but some may include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Dialectical behavioral therapy
  • Rational emotive behavior
  • Crisis management
  • Substance abuse management and counseling
  • Structured family therapy
  • Solution-focused therapy
  • Trauma-based treatment
  • Art therapy
  • Music therapy

What to look for in a therapeutic boarding school

There are several things to look for when you’re choosing the right therapeutic boarding school for your teen. Let’s dive into what is most important.

1. Take your time, do research

Understandably, you may want to move quickly to help get your teen into a therapeutic boarding school, mainly if they have been in crisis for some time. However, you must pick the right facility for them.

Learn as much as you can about their needs today, their mental health needs while getting better, and what kind of educational goals need to be tackled. Armed with this information, you can do further research into the types of programs and treatments offered by the boarding schools that you’re looking into.

Your teen’s counselor may also be able to provide resources and other valuable information as you set about making a decision.

2. Don’t take things at face value

It’s important to keep in mind that most therapeutic boarding schools will have a marketing angle to the materials they present to you. Whether it’s a flashy website with glowing testimonials or brochures filled with promises about what they can do for your troubled teen.

Get down to the facts by doing deeper research into each school you are considering.

3. Check their credentials

Don’t be uncomfortable asking for things like the teachers' credentials, counselors, and the school itself. Your teen deserves to get the best in treatment and education. Do a bit of research into what type of credentials are required in your state so that you can cover all of your bases.

Teachers should have the correct state licensing to ensure that they can provide the correct educational guidance for your teen.

4. Find out about their criteria for admissions

While some facilities will claim that they’ll accept any child or teen into their programs, that isn’t always a good thing. The goal is to ensure that there is a good match between your teen's needs and the environment offered by the therapeutic boarding school.

A stricter admissions criteria will help to ensure your teen is getting into the right facility.

5. Learn about their therapy programs

A good therapeutic boarding school will provide you with detailed information about the therapy programs that they incorporate into their treatment programs. The glossy brochures may show teens painting in art class or riding horses in front of a majestic mountain, but that won’t tell you everything you need to know about the type of therapies your teen will receive.

Once provided with a detailed list of what they offer, you should take the opportunity to do deep-dive research into each.

6. Find out about their structure and overall environment

Will your teen be essentially on lockdown in a private room?

Will they share a cozy bedroom with a roommate of a similar age?

You must understand just how your teen will be living and the level of freedom they will have. If your teen is prone to running away, then a facility that puts a stronger focus on security may be the better option.

7. Is the therapeutic boarding school for a single-gender?

There are some benefits to having a therapeutic boarding school that allows young men and ladies to interact in a school and therapeutic setting. That said, it can also be beneficial for teens to have a girls-only or boys-only setting if they’ve struggled with abuse or other types of trauma.

It can also help them focus on getting better instead of focusing on someone who catches their eye.

8. Learn about family involvement opportunities

It may not be as easy if the therapeutic boarding school is out of state but having the family involved in treatment can prove helpful for everyone. Learn more about how each facility handles family involvement.

If they are within driving distance, do they offer family counseling sessions?

Do they allow family visits over the weekend?

Learning more about how you and other family members can support your troubled teen will let you focus on doing your part.

As a parent, you want to ensure that your teen is afforded only the best in therapy and other treatment solutions. Getting them into the right therapeutic boarding school will play a key role in helping to ensure that their future is a lot brighter.

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