Are Therapeutic Boarding Schools Effective?

How do we know if schools for troubled teens are effective? Will  a therapeutic boarding school be effective for my difficult teenager?

One online search for “schools for troubled teens” will yield you over 5 million results. Are therapeutic boarding schools effective for your troubled teen and how do you know which ones are safe?

There are literally thousands of places to send troubled teens, but finding the one that is effective for your teen takes time, research and diligence.

PexelTeacher1What does your teen and family require:

Quality care (safe and positive environment), credentialed staff
Education, accredited academics
Enrichment programs, extra-curriculum designed to encourage change
Parent involvement, workshops and family therapy

Effective therapeutic boarding schools for troubled teens can be a safe haven where teens can learn to cope with difficult emotions and behaviors; away from the influences of devices as well as negative peers.

Is your teen:

Addicted to their cell-phone, video gaming?
-Defiant, rage, or explosive (especially if you remove their devices)?
-Failing in school, yet capable of passing? Skipping classes or school refusal?
-Entitled, disrespectful, nasty attitude – more than typical teenage behavior?
Vaping, smoking marijuana, using drugs or drinking?
-Stealing, shoplifting or other legal issues?

You’re not alone and these are some of the reasons why parents have reached out for help for troubled teens — it’s after they have tried therapy at home, outpatient treatment has failed, the school setting is not working and a short hospital stay was not successful.

3 Reasons Why Therapeutic Boarding Schools Are Effective

Not all therapeutic boarding schools are designed the same or are equal, it’s why we encourage parents to do their diligence in selecting what school/program is the right boarding school for their individual needs. As with all businesses, there will always be a few bad apples.

1. Fresh start.

There’s no doubt, the first few weeks, if not your first month of a therapeutic boarding school might be bumpy, but your teenager will soon realize they are now being given an opportunity for a fresh start. 

No one enjoys feeling defiant, angry and even full of rage — many of these teens not only had these feelings, some were destructive at home. Most of these young people enter the program extremely upset that their parents have removed them from what they believed was their comfort zone — such as their so-called friends and of course, their devices (cell-phone and/or video-gaming).

By starting fresh they can remove the masks of the emotional baggage they have been carrying and start tearing down the walls of hurt while in a safe place of non-judgement. This is why therapeutic boarding schools can be more beneficial than the one-hour once a week therapy sessions at-home.

Your teen is now in an environment that is designed to encourage change through a consistent, safe and positive atmosphere. This replaces the toxic head space your teen has likely been in for the past year. Constantly checking their text messages, feeling pressured by their peers, scrolling their social feeds, always comparing themselves to others online — feeling inadequate. 

Many parents are worried their teen will meet up with kids that are worse than their own teen. It’s important to understand, there are many families walking this journey with you. If you are doing your diligence in finding the right therapeutic boarding school for your teenager, it’s likely you will find similar students — and your son or daughter will soon be surrounded with a positive peer culture that will only help influence them as they move through the program.

2. Develop self-worth.

Why is my good teen making these bad choices? It’s usually because they don’t think highly of themselves and are easily influenced by their peers — or a negative peer group.

An effective therapeutic boarding school removes your teen from the stressors and triggers of home and school pressure, and replaces it with activities and treatment such enrichment programs that build self-worth. This can include art therapy, sports, music therapy, gardening, animal therapy and more.

Academically, a therapeutic boarding school that is effective, can provide your teen with the support they need to thrive! Most students arriving in residential treatment are capable of doing their schoolwork however due to their behavioral issues, have been failing or underachieving. By getting their grades back in place, this is yet another positive direction to building back their self-confidence.

When you have self-worth and feel good about yourself, you’re less likely to make bad choices and aren’t easily influenced by your peers. Therapeutic boarding schools that are effective provide the environment to help your teen feel good about themselves — through emotional growth, clinical support (both individual and group therapy),  and positive role models with their staff.

3. Family reunification. 

Bringing families back together, that is the goal of an effective therapeutic boarding school — in healthy and happy setting. Although there will likely never be perfection (life isn’t perfect), you and your teen will learn the skills needed to have a much calmer and productive household.

An effective therapeutic boarding school doesn’t only effect your teenager, it effects the entire family.  This includes siblings and if there are step-parents involved, it’s everyone.

Family therapy is ongoing throughout your child’s stay at the school, and typically the parents will have counseling with and without their teen. In most of the therapeutic boarding schools they offer parenting workshops to give you skills and techniques to provide you with tools for effective parenting — understanding that whatever was happening before your teen entered the program wasn’t working. Especially as the program progresses to the transitional phrase of home visits, you and your teen will have time to discuss what is expected from both sides, respectfully.

Through treatment and transition, with the guidance of professionals, parents and their teen can achieve peace and confidence through rebuilding their relationship with the help of an effective therapeutic boarding school.

Also read:

5 Benefits of Therapeutic Boarding Schools.

Where to Send Your Troubled Teens.

What Causes Teen Mental Health Issues.


If you’re searching for an effective therapeutic boarding school for your troubled teen, contact us for a free consultation.

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Family consultants help parents find reputable residential schools and treatment programs for troubled teens when they have utilized all of their local resources and are overwhelmed by their online searches.

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Many parents are at their wit’s end with the challenges of raising teenagers. If you are considering residential therapy, contact us for a free consultation.

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