Not Ready for Residential Treatment – What Are My Options?

Dealing with a teen who struggles with chronic behavioral problems can be utterly exhausting as a parent. The constant back and forth, the worry, the anger, dealing with the fall out of their actions…it is a constant battle and one that has no easy answers. You have probably tried nearly everything, and your mind is turning to more intensive options that can finally bring some results. But are you ready for a residential treatment center for your teen?

First, you should have a good understanding of how and why these institutions are operating. A residential treatment program is one focused on offering troubled teens a stable, secure environment that are equal parts therapy and academic counseling. Psychologists, counselors, teachers and administrators work with your child in a boarding school setting to get to the root cause of their struggles, and give them a set routine and coping mechanisms to get them through it.

But such a program can seem incredibly intimidating. If you don’t feel like a residential treatment center is right for your teen at this time, you do have other options available to you.

Outpatient Options For Your Teen

Outpatient programs are one possibility. These programs offer counselors that work with your teenager on a scheduled basis, sometimes alone and sometimes with a group, to address their problems and give them better tools for growth and coping. When your teen takes part in an outpatient therapy program, they will be meeting several times a week and sometimes every weekday.

They may also be required to take part in other functions that are associated with their therapy. Community service or outreach with members of the community are a couple of examples. Equestrian programs teach teens to ride and care for horses. Other programs may involve working in animal shelters to help teach your child empathy and responsibility.

Partial hospitalization programs are semi-inpatient therapy programs that are more intensive than average counseling. They provide your teen with some stability throughout their week, while still giving them access to their home.

Inpatient Options For Your Teen

If you feel your teen could benefit from an inpatient setting that isn’t a residential treatment center, there are others available. Most psychiatric units have a youth ward for teens struggling with a number of conditions, such as anger and aggressions, suicidal ideation, depression, self harm, and substance abuse. In some cases insurance will cover some or most of the treatment depending on the diagnosis of your child.

Wilderness and outdoors programs are another possibility. Usually lasting a couple of months, they send your teens into the great outdoors with others in their peer group under the supervision of several professionals. They hike, camp, and learn a number of outdoor activities that require both teamwork and individual survival skills. They are meant to teach self reliance and discipline, but are incredibly physically taxing.

Help Your Teen Now Can Help Your Find The Best Choice For Your Teen

It’s always a good idea to explore all of your options. We recommend touring a residential treatment center before deciding against a program like this. But if you’re considering this level of help for your teen, they’re most likely already in need of this type of focused and intense treatment.

Making a decision on your child’s future is never easy. Help Your Teen Now is a free resource that will make it a little simpler. We can provide you with information on local programs, insurance coverage details, and support as you go through this difficult time.

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