If you are seeking alternative methods to help your teen address behavioral, psychological, or emotional disorders, one of the lesser-known, highly effective options is therapeutic boarding schools (TBS). Designed for families trying to cope with the challenges of care, a therapeutic boarding school provides education, therapy and boarding for troubled teenagers. Although this might seem like an extreme measure, it is an excellent way to combine your teen’s treatment, and academic and social needs in a safe, understanding, and highly structured environment.

Reasons Parents Consider a Therapeutic Boarding School

The reasons parents consider a therapeutic boarding school might include:

  • Their teen can no longer be managed in their home setting
  • Not knowing how to manage behaviors such as experimenting with drugs or alcohol
  • Fears over risky behaviors putting their teen in danger
  • Their teen is overly withdrawn and sullen, experiencing anxiety, depression, or an undiagnosed mental health condition
  • Parents have tried local therapists and school support without success
  • The family as a whole is not able to work through underlying issues
  • Family dynamics are interfering with proper care and results
  • Local interventions and family systems are unsuccessful
  • The situation is out of control
  • Parents or family members can no longer cope
  • Parents or family members are being negatively impacted mentally and/or physically
  • Nothing else has worked

What is the Difference Between Therapeutic Boarding Schools and Residential Treatment Centers?

A residential treatment center (RTC) is recognized as a medical facility. It addresses behavioral and emotional issues with 24/7 clinical care offered by experienced therapists and residential staff. RTCs are equipped to offer medical or psychological care and are suited to teens who require stricter oversight for issues such as substance abuse, trauma, self-harm, or more severe conduct disorders. Those catering to youth also include an accredited high school program to ensure students don’t fall behind.

Therapeutic boarding schools focus on the academic environment, offering 24/7 supervision and therapeutic attention. They incorporate behavioral and psychological therapies within the teen’s educational program and are suited to students that have seen some gains in treatment or are displaying less severe or complex behaviors.

RTCs tend to be shorter term to help a teen overcome their most serious challenges, while TBSs are longer term, providing at least a year of stable academic and behavioral improvements. It is common for teens to leave an RTC and enter a TBS where they can continue to improve in a less restrictive clinical environment.

Benefits of a Therapeutic Boarding School

TBSs offer everything a struggling teen needs to get back on track and live a productive life. The structured environment provides licensed counseling, and effective teachers who understand the specific needs of teens with emotional, psychological, or behavioral issues. Therapeutic boarding schools focus on rebuilding resilience, confidence, and proper behavior so the teen can return to their families and restore the family system. Benefits also include:

  • Ideal for teens seeking lighter treatment than residential treatment
  • Excellent educational and therapeutic program integration
  • Specific care to deal with students’ behavioral and emotional problems
  • Excellent transition allowing RTC teens to maintain the momentum of prior treatment

What is the Purpose of Therapeutic Boarding Schools?

The combination of academic and counseling services provides the low student-to-teacher ratio teens need to have ongoing support to help them succeed. Parents who want to help their teens regain their confidence and overcome their struggles to build resilience ensure their kids don’t miss out on the chance to achieve academic success through a TBS.

Conflict resolution and important life skills are also part of the TBS experience, equipping students with the emotional tools they need to succeed. Depending on the student’s needs, different programs are available, including assessment programs such as wilderness therapy, intensive outpatient programs, or partial hospitalization programs.

What Happens Once a Teen Completes Their Stay at a TBS?

The outcome of therapeutic boarding school stays varies from student to student. However, typically, graduates from TBS will either return home and to their local school or seek treatment at a lower-level treatment placement. Completion at the school also grants diplomas to students, allowing them to graduate and move on to pursue further education or a career.

If you are concerned about your child, click here to learn more about our programs or to request more information. We offer both TBS and RTC options and can assess your teen to determine the best solution.