Choosing the Right Treatment Program for your Troubled Teen

Parents may find that choosing a program for their troubled teen is a difficult decision as there are many types. For those making this decision take into...

Choosing the Right Treatment Program for your Troubled Teen
15December

Choosing the Right Treatment Program for your Troubled Teen

Written by Craig Rogersin Section Mental Health Trends

Parents may find that choosing a program for their troubled teen is a difficult decision as there are many types. For those making this decision take into account what is the best fit for your teenager and which program addresses their needs. What do different programs focus on, who are they suited for and who should not participate in certain programs?

Boot Camps

Boot Camps are short 6 to 8-week long programs that includes a rigid daily schedule with physical training.

Focus: Structure, discipline and respect for authority

Best for adolescents who struggle with: self-confidence and criminal associations

Not suited for youths who experience: depression, anxiety, substance abuse or self-mutilation as there is generally no therapy associated with boot camp.

Residential Treatment Centers

Residential or Inpatient treatment is round the clock supervision and care.

Focus: Clinical treatment which is therapeutic.

Best for adolescents who struggle with: psychological issues, drug or substance abuse

Not suited for youths who experience: inconsequential behavioral issues

Outpatient Treatment Centers

Outpatient or Day Treatment is partial day supervision and care.

Focus: Clinical treatment which is therapeutic.

Best for adolescents who struggle with: eating disorder treatment or drug/substance abuse

Not suited for youths who experience: inconsequential behavioral issues

Summer Camps

Summer Camps can vary in length from a week to a full summer.

Focus: fun and recreation

Best for adolescents who struggle with: social shortcomings or physical disabilities

Not suited for youths who experience: severe psychological issues or drug abuse

Wilderness Programs

Wilderness Programs can vary in length and use wilderness environments to facilitate treatment.

Focus: To bring about a greater understanding of self, others, and the natural world.

Best for adolescents who struggle with: behavioral issues and substance abuse

Not suited for youths who experience: trauma victims

Traditional Boarding Schools

Traditional Boarding Schools are generally year round with seasonal breaks.

Focus: athletics and education

Best for adolescents who struggle with: character issues or learning disabilities

Not suited for youths who experience: emotional difficulties or substance abuse

Therapeutic Boarding Schools

Therapeutic Boarding Schools can vary in length but are meant for extended periods of stay.

Focus: character development while addressing psychological issues

Best for adolescents who struggle with: psychological issues and troubled youths

Not suited for youths who experience: well-adjusted mentally and socially children


Once a parent has narrowed down the options they should ask questions and tour the location if possible to gain the most information about the program they choose.