There are a lot of choices and a lot of information online, which makes finding the right therapeutic boarding school for your teen both confusing and difficult. As you’re looking for solutions, consider the following:
Find the right fit.
First, you want to find a therapeutic boarding school that specializes in the kind of therapy that will best help your teen. There are programs that offer psychological, behavioral, or emotional therapy, and programs specifically for problems such as addictions, depression, or building self-confidence. Your first goal will be to find a program that is best suited to your child’s needs.
Check their credentials.
Once you’ve identified a therapeutic boarding school that fits your needs, look into the background of the program and the people who work there. The school’s website should list the credentials of the director and staff. Look for the answers to these questions: How many years’ experience and what kind of experience does the director have? Are the therapists, counselors, and teachers licensed and experienced? Do they perform background checks on their staff? Are the program and school accredited or licensed? If so, by what agencies? Is there a doctor or nurse on staff? Have any complaints or actions been filed against the program? What corrective action was taken? Ask if there is a third party/independent evaluation of the program and if you can attain a copy of it.
These are a lot of questions to ask and answer, but you want to make sure that your child is in a safe space with people who are trained to help. When you contact the school, notice how they respond. Do they answer all your questions quickly and to your satisfaction?
Most therapeutic boarding schools for troubled teens have a mission statement, an explanation of their goals for treatment. Ask their definition of success. Is this what you want for your teen? Ask how they measure success in the program and how often they evaluate each teen’s progress.
Policies and Procedures.
Take a closer look at the program’s methods, policies, and procedures. Do they offer an individualized program to meet the specific needs of each student? How much of their focus is on therapy, education, or social skills? Consider the overall structure of the program and if it sounds right for your teen. Read about the daily schedule, class time, therapy sessions, and other activities. Do they offer enrichment activities, such as music, art, sports, animal-assisted therapy, outdoor activities? Also, find out about their discipline policies and specific procedures for discipline. Are you comfortable with their approach to discipline?
Ask about communication with your teen. Will you be able to call, email, or visit? When and how often? Keep in mind that there is usually a 4-6 week wait before parents can visit. You’ll also want to know if the program involves family counseling and how the family participates.
Naturally, costs will also be a factor in your decision. Ask for a complete list of costs, and ask what part of the costs will likely be covered by health insurance.
Get Help with Your Decision.
Take advantage of resources that are out there to help you. HelpYourTeenNow is an advocacy group that provides useful and free information about the different kinds of therapeutic boarding schools, advice for finding the right program for your teen, and help in understanding the costs and insurance coverage. Call us today to discuss your options.
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