When your teen is struggling with behavioral problems or mental illness concerns, it’s essential to find the best resources to help them find their way back to stability. If you’ve decided to get your troubled teen into a therapeutic boarding school, you must select the facility that will be right for them and help meet their individual needs.
Finding the right therapeutic boarding school is not necessarily as easy as picking the first one that comes up when you do a Google search. Several factors should be considered when making the right decision for your teen.
How much do you know about what a therapeutic boarding school is?
The more that you learn about what they can offer and how they can benefit your teen, the more confident you will feel about the decision you’ve made.
It’s important to note some key differences between some of the therapeutic boarding schools you consider. The primary factor is that each focuses on treatment for specific concerns. For example, one may focus strictly on treating teens who struggle with substance abuse and addiction. Another may focus on treatments and programs that have been designed for victims of abuse.
Defining the therapeutic boarding school
Therapeutic boarding schools are termed alternative schools, but they differ significantly from regular public schools and other boarding school models. It’s also important to note that they are different from teen boot camps, wilderness camps, and faith-based treatment camps or facilities.
In these boarding school settings, children and teens can get the in-depth therapy and other beneficial treatments they need while still focusing on their education. Each facility will use therapeutic approaches that meet the individual teen’s needs. These needs could range from behavioral and emotional concerns, substance abuse and other mental wellness issues.
Unlike a traditional boarding school setting, a therapeutic boarding school offers a focus on the restoration of a teen’s mental and emotional wellness by simultaneously offering the educational direction that your teen needs to ensure a positive future outlook.
Quite often, students can focus better on healing, recovery, and their education when they are in a situation far removed from the negative influences they were exposed to at home and in their previous school.
Tips for finding the right therapeutic boarding school
It can be challenging to find the right therapeutic boarding school to meet your teen’s needs. If the option you select is not suitable for your teen, you run the risk of struggling to get the proper treatment.
We’ve got five helpful tips that can make your therapeutic boarding school selection much more manageable.
Tip one: Learn more about their criteria for admission.
Some therapeutic boarding schools may have very lax criteria for admissions. While there’s something to be said for being open and inclusive, this is not always the best choice for teens with particular needs. If a facility has a strict approach to the teens they will admit, it will be based on what they believe to be their ability to meet the needs of the individual.
This is important as it ensures that the enrolling teen and the environment they’ll be living and learning are compatible to ensure positive recovery results. Learn as much as you can about each therapeutic boarding school you consider.
Tip two: Learn about state credential requirements.
Verify that the therapeutic boarding schools you’re considering can meet at least the minimal requirements. A bit of quick research online can give you the information that you need to know. It’s important to remember that a reputable facility will have no problem sharing its credentials with anyone who asks for them.
The teachers and counselors who will spend time with your teen should have each of the certifications needed to practice in the state. Don’t feel nervous about asking for this information.
Do they meet state minimums?
How will they assure your teen’s physical and mental health safety for the duration of their stay?
The right facilities will have no problem sharing anything that they can legally do. Keep in mind that a part of this should include the safety protocols that the facility adheres to.
Tip three: Find out about their therapeutic approaches.
The therapeutic approach is a significant part of the experience that your teen will have, but not all facilities will have the same type of approach for treating the teens in their care. Several options are designed to address a specific need or mental wellness concern.
What kind of individual attention and treatment will your teen receive?
Do they offer cognitive behavioral therapy?
Do they offer dialectical behavior therapy?
What about other approaches such as creative arts therapy?
The more you know about how they approach the treatment plan for your teen, the more confidence you’ll have that you’re selecting the right school.
Tip four: Do they allow and encourage family participation?
Even if the issues at hand are strictly related to your teen acting out and being a disruptive factor at home, the whole family must have an active role in their treatment. You are your teen’s support and safe space. Parents will need to learn how to better communicate with their teens, and siblings will need to learn how to make their voices heard.
All in the name of helping your teen navigate the struggles they have been faced with. Group therapy and individual therapy sessions will help your teen immensely, but family therapy will be a part of ensuring a better environment at home once they go home.
Tip five: Don’t rush into making a decision.
It’s understandable to want to get your teen help as soon as is possible, but you must take the time to research each of your options. Your teen’s mental wellness and future rest on being in the best possible therapeutic boarding school.
Look for online reviews beyond those flashing up on the facility’s website. Look for information that extends past the glossy brochures. If possible, find out if they can contact former students who can let you know what their personal experience was.
Again, taking just a little bit more time with the process can help you to ensure you select the right therapeutic boarding school for your teen.