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What is Residential Therapy and How Can it Help Your Teen

Residential therapy is a modern and integrative approach that aims to help children and teens grow into healthy adults.

Being a relatively new approach, some experts are skeptical about its effectiveness and outcomes. But aside from that, some parents are (rightly) concerned about the expenses.

Fortunately, many insurance companies now provide increased coverage for residential therapy. Furthermore, centers offer both scholarships and work exchange programs for those who cannot afford the costs.

If your teen is struggling with emotional or behavioral problems, residential treatment might be the best option. And there is increasingly more evidence to back that up.

Residential therapy: What is it?

Adolescents who struggle with drug use, violence, delinquency, and other types of antisocial behavior are often the victims of abuse (emotional or physical) and trauma.

Putting them in correctional institutions and boot camps – where they rarely benefit from mental health services – often results in high rates of recidivism.

These troubled teens don’t need strict sanctions. They need to learn better ways to cope with their emotional and behavioral problems. That way, they avoid ending up in youth detention centers or other juvenile correctional institutions.

Luckily, residential therapy offers a better alternative. By using approaches such as cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, or music therapy, residential treatments focus on the cause of antisocial behaviors.   

Residential treatment centers create a healing environment where your teen can overcome his problems and achieve personal growth. But besides therapeutic activities, residential centers offer a wide variety of courses. That way, your child will gain a solid academic background and will help him become a self-reliant member of society.

residential therapy
How can residential therapy help my troubled teen?
1. Science-backed interventions

To deliver positive outcomes and receive coverage from insurance companies, many residential centers opt for science-backed approaches.

Regarding treatment, children benefit from individual, group, and family therapy. Plus, there are plenty of other therapeutic activities such as arts, horseback riding, wilderness escapes, and other outdoor games.

Before you decide on a residential center for your troubled teen, make sure to do a bit of research. Ask about the academic background, experience, and therapeutic approach of the counselors working there. If that doesn’t ease your concerns, talk to an alumni family.  

 2. Meaningful group interactions

The whole idea behind residential therapy is to create a space where teens can work together to overcome their issues.

Through team-building activities and group therapy, students learn to manage conflicts, cultivate altruism, and exercise active listening. The social skills they acquire in a residential center, are crucial to their personal and professional success.

And it’s not just about building social skills. Residential therapy also seeks to bring together teens who are struggling with relatively the same issues. For example, some centers focus exclusively on treating drug abuse problems.

The problem that brought them all in the same place can cultivate a sense of relief (I’m not the only one dealing with this) among students. It can also inspire the motivation to achieve change through group effort.

3. A holistic approach to mental health

Regardless of the therapeutic strategies and activities they promote, most residential centers focus on a holistic approach to mental health.

In other words, residential therapy aims to treat the source of the problem while also cultivating personal and social skills. That way, your teen can successfully reintegrate back into society and avoid slipping back into his/her old habits.

Overall, residential therapy is a promising intervention that helps troubled teens make significant changes towards a better life.

To learn more about residential therapy, click here