Exploring Programs and Interventions for Your Troubled Teens

Does your teen need more than counseling or detention time? Is he getting into trouble because of behavioral issues or problems with substance abuse? Has your home life degenerated into a battleground because of constant fights and bickering between your teen and other family members? Does your teen burst into bouts of temper?

These issues are no small matter. When parents fail to provide timely intervention, a teen with behavioral and emotional issues may pose a danger not just to others, but to himself as well. It may be time to enroll your child in a troubled teen program. A program that is designed to meet his needs will be helpful in your child getting into a journey back into himself. This can help him grow into a mature, stable, disciplined and happy adult.

Here are some troubled teen programs you can consider:
– Wilderness programs. This is a nature-based program that aims to compel the teen to look within, build their confidence and come face-to-face with the issues that he is grappling with. Wilderness programs harness nature to promote personal growth. A boot camp or wilderness program is usually short term – lasting from a couple of weeks to two months. The program will pose physical challenges that will require a teen to work together with other teens in the program. Activities include camping, hiking and trekking, as well as learning survival skills (such as building the fire with things found in nature).
– Boot camps. This is similar to wilderness programs. However, these are mostly based in closed camps with a strict military-style regimen. There will be demanding physical training and exercises. A teen may be enrolled in the program without his consent. A teen cannot be expelled and the camp is secured so that he cannot easily get access to alcohol and drugs or run away.
– Therapeutic boarding schools. This is a long-term program that provides education as well as therapeutic treatment. Like boot camps, therapeutic boarding schools also have a facility lock-down – limiting access to the “outside world”. A therapeutic boarding school also makes use of cognitive behavior therapy – both in individual and group settings. There is also a medical professional on board and he may also prescribe medications as needed. A boarding school also provides a structured environment that also aims to instill discipline on the students.
– Animal-assisted therapy. This is similar to a boarding school but also includes animal assisted therapy modules. Animal therapy is seen to be effective in promoting positive behavioral change. In caring for and relating with professionally trained animals, the aim is to promote stability and gentleness in the teen. The animals that may be involved in the therapy may include dogs, horses or donkeys. A variation of this will be a farm or working ranch, where the teen is given tasks around the ranch and work with farm or ranch animals.
– Christian boarding school. This is a therapeutic boarding school that is run based on Biblical and Christian principles. Christian boarding schools have a primary focus on transformation from within, as well as spiritual renewal. This is usually less rigid that boot camps or military prep schools.
– Military prep school. A military school provides a militarily structure type of discipline for the teen. This may also provide preparation for a future career in the military.
– Outpatient and day treatment. This is a treatment modality where the teen is home-based and will undergo outpatient therapeutic treatment.

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