Residential treatment centers are 6-18 month residential programs where teenagers who are struggling with mental or behavioral issues can live in a safe environment and participate regularly in activities entirely devoted to assisting them in becoming healthier mentally, emotionally, and physically.
These programs often have a fully accredited school program on campus, or work with the local school system to allow students to continue their studies. Residential treatment centers utilize well-established evidence-based mental and behavioral health treatment methods such as Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), and often employ highly-qualified and licensed clinicians.
Typically, residential treatment centers focus on helping teenage boys and girls who are struggling with anger, aggression, drug or alcohol addictions, promiscuity, pornography, compulsive lying or deception, stealing, running away, adoption issues, eating disorders, cutting, anxiety, depression, or general out of control behavior. They are also usually qualified to assist families with a student who is struggling with widely accepted and recognized mental health conditions such as ADD, ADHD, ODD, OCD, PTSD, and RAD.
How Do Residential Treatment Centers Operate?
Residential Treatment Centers are often similar to Therapeutic Boarding Schools in that they offer a highly structured environment where teenagers can live in a dorm-like or even a home-like setting. From our own experience, the difference between residential treatment centers and therapeutic boarding schools lies in the level of attention and focus on therapy. While not true in every case, residential treatment centers often place more emphasis on the therapeutic aspect of the program than do therapeutic boarding schools, and they also tend to be more clinically-focused in their approach. Teenagers who enter the program follow along a normalized plan for success, developed by a clinical treatment team, which demonstrates a visible and recognizable change in behavior and beliefs from the time the student began the program.
Because therapy is a central piece of residential treatment centers, students in these programs participate in regular one-one-one therapy sessions with a licensed therapist, weekly group sessions, and many programs offer experiential therapy as well as equine therapy. Every activity in which students participate is planned and entirely devoted to the health and well-being of your child. Whether it be outdoor activities such as group sports, backpacking, hiking, rock climbing, swimming, or indoor activities such as indoor sports, group games, music, reading discussions, scriptural studies, and more, each one is focused on helping teenagers live and practice healthier living mentally, emotionally, and physically.
Parenting and Family Seminars
Residential Treatment Centers also usually offer regular family and parenting seminars to parents who have their teenager in the program. These seminars provide families a chance to visit their teen on a somewhat regular basis, and also allow parents to gain some training and insight into why their teen may be struggling. Moms, dads, and siblings get a chance to come together, to repair and restore relationships, and to create a plan for success when their teenager is ready to come home.
These programs often employ, are run by, or are owned by experts in their field who have been working with teenagers and their families for years, if not decades. They know how and what families struggle with when it comes to teenagers, and they often have a solid understanding of the world in which teenagers live today. If you place your teenager in a residential treatment center, we highly suggest that you listen to what they have to say. Doing so may keep your family from imploding, and even possibly save your teenager’s life.
Every State is Different
The reality is that the terms "Residential Treatment Center" and "Therapeutic Boarding School" often mean different things depending on the state in which the program is operating. Some states don’t have a licensing designation for Therapeutic Boarding Schools, and some states don’t have a licensing designation for Residential Treatment Centers. And, as far as we’re aware, there may be states that have no official designation for either of the two.
We can Help You Find a Residential Treatment Center for Your Struggling Teenage Boy or Girl
The Envoy Group has operated in the residential therapy industry for over a decade. Having been in your shoes, we know that your search for a good residential treatment center is difficult, time consuming, and stressful. Thankfully, there is help and hope! We have visited and assessed over 80 programs across the country, we have met the staff, directors, and owners. We also get feedback on a regular basis from the hundreds of parents who have placed their teen in a residential program at our suggestion. Our services are provided at no charge, and as such, you are under zero obligation whatsoever to heed any of our suggestions. Contact us today and we will work to help you find residential treatment options for your family.