Young people today face an enormous amount of peer pressure and are barraged with negative influences from the media. Some children have the added difficulty of suffering a traumatic life experience, such as divorce, physical or sexual assault, the loss of a loved one, or emotional or verbal abuse. Because each teen possesses his own distinct personality, background and set of circumstances, he will react to situations uniquely. Sometimes those reactions may be negative, including violence, withdrawal, substance abuse and even suicide attempts, necessitating professional intervention. When the customary approach of talking to a counselor or therapist is not enough, a therapeutic treatment program might provide answers. Utah hosts various therapeutic programs and schools for troubled teens with individualized, personal approaches to meet the differing needs of each struggling teen. Parents should extensively research the differing options to find the right fit for their child.
Healing at a Therapeutic Boarding School
Therapeutic boarding schools, with highly structured, live-in environments away from negative and troubling influences, provide a safe setting for young people to find emotional healing and regain the chance for living fulfilling lives. A family-like setting in a beautiful mountainous location moves teens far away from the temptations of their previous environment and gives them a peaceful place to recover. Youth are cared for by dedicated, sensitive, highly qualified staff members who teach, counsel and mentor with the goal of bringing about positive change in the lives of the students. Each school varies in its focus and expertise, but all use a therapeutic approach. Some schools are specialized treatment centers concentrating on particular areas, such as eating disorders, sexual problems and chemical dependency issues. Other schools deal with more general teen issues, including the following:
- academic difficulties
- poor social skills
- lack of motivation, defiance
- cursing and
Every school has a similar objective – each young person who attends should receive the help needed to live a fulfilling and productive life. This is done through academic instruction; individual, group and family therapy; personal development classes; and group and community activities.
Wilderness Therapy Programs
Another type of treatment program in Utah that has shown great promise is wilderness therapy — a hands-on, experiential program where youth live in the wilderness with a group of teens and staff members for a specified period of time. Students are motivated to get along and work toward common goals in the challenging environment. Teens learn personal, face-to-face communication and how to share willingly and honestly with one another and with their therapists. They form strong relationships, build trust and are taught a new philosophy for living. Youth who were headed down a destructive path have seen great changes in their lives through wilderness therapy and have put those changes into action. When a struggling adolescent learns that growth and learning are possible despite their challenging circumstances, they take that information, make it their own, and successfully apply it. Teens leave the wilderness therapy program stronger, more confident and hopeful for their future.
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