For many troubled teens, teen residential treatment programs and facilities answer to getting back on the right track. Set up to help teens struggling with emotional issues, behavioral problems, trauma, self-harm, substance abuse, and various mental illnesses, these programs do what they can to teach teenagers healthy life skills and coping mechanisms. If you know a teen who’s struggling and want to know more about how residential programs for teenagers work, read on.
Every teen residential treatment program works a little differently. Most use experiential therapy and group therapy, and individual therapy to help teens work through many problems. These groups combine treatment plans for mental wellness with academic and life skills supports. Group homes for teens can treat kids with substance abuse issues and, more general mental health issues.
Residential treatment programs help teenagers with behavior issues or other problems change their habits and build new behaviors and goals. These programs’ mission is that teenagers are taught to live healthier after release, no matter their length of stay.
Most teen residential treatment programs use cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to help teenagers tackle their mental health issues. This intense form of therapy is recognized as highly effective. Because of this, most health insurance policies will cover payment for teen treatment programs. Whether a child has experienced suicidal ideation or suffers from mood disorders, a treatment team is assigned to each teenager.
This team consists of a psychiatrist, case manager, social workers, and individual therapists at minimum. Together, this treatment team works to provide a supportive environment for all teens in the program, regardless of how serious their mental illness is. Team members will also work with family members in many cases. Family therapists can help parents with specific needs and questions to promote healthy relationships in the family system.
If you’re considering enrollment of your teenager into a residential program, the first thing to expect is to meet with an intake manager or the person who will be your child’s case manager. This person will work with you to answer questions and assess the situation. They may ask for medical records and waivers on your troubled teenager. Depending on whether your child is resistant, they will want to speak with them, too.
Once your child is enrolled in a teen treatment center, you can expect regular updates from the case manager and may be asked to attend family therapy sessions. Be sure to ask about rules for visits with your child, expectations for family members, and how you can support your teen through this transition. The case manager will work with you to make the situation as supportive as possible.
Some programs or insurance companies have limits to the length of stay, where others are more open-ended. This is something to ask about in the initial intake as programs work in a wide range of ways. If you aren’t in an emergency, consider meeting with more than one treatment center’s staff to find a place that feels like the best fit. You can also ask a doctor or your child’s psychiatrist for recommendations.
At the end of the day, the decision to put a teenager into residential care can be difficult. Parents are often reluctant to leave their troubled teen in someone else’s hands. However, residential programs can truly be the safest and fastest way to help a troubled teenager. If you’re open to this option, talk to your teenager’s healthcare provider or therapist to know more. They can help with referrals and the next steps in helping your teenager.