Addressing the teens need for therapy and counseling is one of the primary goals of these facilities. The behavioral therapists, counselors and psychologists often work around the clock, available on an as-needed basis, meeting with each child individually, hosting group discussion, observing and being “present” as a living part of the community. This is important because they can learn more about the kids from hanging out watching a movie than from sitting face to face across a desk. Working on a community garden and getting to know the teens as individuals helps them communicate better, and create action plans that are customized for each child.
The social aspects of a residential treatment center for troubled teens are also important. Developing peer relationships is beneficial, and sharing the highs and lows of treatment can make for some very special friendships that last a lifetime. In fact, some treatment centers have alumni groups that have become forums for the lifelong bonds that have been created at such centers. Being in treatment with other teens is important, they work on projects together, they help each other reach treatment goals, they root each other on and they provide a safe place to practice the new communication skills that they’re learning. For some kids, this will be their first experience with a healthy peer relationship.
The academic aspect of a residential treatment center is unique. While some larger private boarding schools have traditional classrooms, most therapeutic boarding schools offer one-on-one or small group lessons. The reason for this is generally that learning is more efficient when approached individually, and because, for many teens, the combination of learning and socializing don’t mix well. There are plenty of social opportunities at a treatment center, so the academic learning is approached individually. Students can excel in areas they’re good at and get one-on-one help in areas where they’re lacking like in a home school.
Some private therapeutic boarding schools have a system in place for helping bring in a troubled teen, since the chances are slim that they’ll stroll happily to the car with their duffel bag. Many schools also have family counseling available, to help parents learn how to communicate with their teen once they’re graduated, so that old patterns aren’t duplicated. If you’re the parent of a troubled teen, you should definitely investigate therapeutic private boarding school options. It’s important to give kids the skills they need to survive in the world before they reach adulthood.
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