Teen treatment centers have used the residential approach for many years, generally in a clinical setting, like in addiction rehabilitation. More and more private boarding schools, however, are following the lead of schools like Turning Winds Academy, which has offered a teen residential treatment program for several years. The success of these programs lies in the fostering of positive peer relationships, based in self-improvement and communal living, an academic environment that’s more like home-schooling with one on one instruction when needed and self-directed learning that empowers teens.
Another advantage that residential treatment centers have over drop-in treatment centers is that in a residential center teens are able to interact more with their therapists and counselors. Instead of simply sitting at a desk face-to-face and telling the counselor about his week, teens and their counselors play ping-pong and eat popcorn and when they finally sit down at the desk, treatment plans are made with true knowledge of what motivates, what excites and what bothers your child. The counselors become trusted friends, instead of just talking heads.
For teens, recreation and “hanging out” can be number one on their list of priorities. Teen residential treatment centers know this, and plan activities accordingly. Recreational experiences like hiking a tall mountain or engaging in competitive and non competitive sports can have added psychological benefits, like that of reaching a personal goal, realizing you’re stronger than you thought, or simply expelling some pent-up energy in a healthy way. The psychological benefits of exercise are good for boys and girls, since exercise releases hormones that help manage stress, and increase relaxation. For teens with hyperactivity disorders, creating healthy patterns of rigorous exercise is one of the first steps to helping them learn to manage themselves.
The teenage years can be difficult for the most healthy and well-adjusted child, but when teens are also battling behavioral disorders, addiction or other issues, even their best intentions make life a little more than they can handle. A residential treatment center is an empowering place where teens can grab life by the horns and steer their own success with dignity and pride, rather than waiting until they crash and burn in adulthood. Every teen deserves a chance, and the earlier they learn to manage their own reactions and behavior the better.
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