The Different Levels of an Adolescent Residential Treatment

When it comes to adolescent residential treatment, there are four distinct levels. Learning the basics about them can help you to identify what needs your own child may have. It can also inform you about the type of treatment facility you should be looking for. Too often the needs of adolescents when it comes to residential treatment are just lumped together.

It is important to be aware though that there are significant differences at these different levels. Each of the levels have a different amount of intensity involved with them. It may be necessary for a professional to conduct an assessment with your child. That information can be used to find the right level of placement that will offer the most value overall.

Level 1

This type of adolescent residential treatment facility isn’t very intense. It is often one that is considered when a teenager has already gone through a higher level of treatment. However, they may have had a relapse somewhere along the way which warrants additional treatment to be given.

There is more freedom with this type of residential treatment facility. In many instances the amount of time to stay there is less too. Most of these programs require the child to be mentally stable before they will consider them for it. The goal is to assess immediate needs, to help with them, and then allow the teenager to return back to their regular environment with better skills.

Level 2

At level 2 there is more supervision with staff available for emergencies around the clock. There is also a watch person that keeps a good eye over the teens as they are sleeping. There is often a great deal of individual and group counseling that will take place at this level. Many teenagers are placed into anger management courses. The goal is to help them develop the right skills for more effective methods of communication.

Depending on the overall needs, some teens are released from the program when they have finished with level 2. Others though remain at the facility but they move into a level 1 program for further assistance.

Level 3

At this level the adolescents are involved in a more structured program. It will cover many aspects for them including emotionally, physically, and mentally. There are additional staff available with various credentials. This includes doctors, nurses, and even mental health staff. The staff is also ready to handle a variety of emergencies which can include out of control individuals.

Reducing angry and replacing bad behaviors with those that are more positive is a big part of the level 3 treatment program. If the child will be at the facility for a long period of time then education will likely be part of the curriculum as well. That way your child will be able to stay current on the learning they need for their current grade level.

Level 4

Only adolescents with the most severe treatment needs and behavior problems will be at the level 4. The staff they work with are trained in a variety of techniques to help keep everyone safe. At the same time they know how to eliminate the various barriers and defense mechanisms that these kids have put in place. There are 2 staff members for every 6 patients.

The program will include 8 hours or more each week of individual therapy. These sessions are a very important part of helping the child to have a better life. There may be more levels of discipline in such a facility including the use of approved restraints if necessary. All of those policies and procedures should be explained to you before your child attends.

Gaining the trust of individuals at this level can be difficult and time consuming. As a result it can be several weeks into the program before they are introduced to group counseling. It won’t benefit them initially as they aren’t willing to share information just yet with others. It also is a risk to the safety of others in the group at that point in time.

Regular evaluations can be done and an adolescent can be moved down to lower levels of care as they make progress. There are cases where they are moved to higher levels though based on anger problems or other situations that require more care than initially thought.

Here are additional resources you might be interested in:

How to Pay for Residential Treatment

Do Residential Treatment Centers Work?