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Residential Treatment Centers vs Therapeutic Boarding Schools

If you are parenting a troubled teen who has not responded to parental discipline or outpatient solutions, you may need to consider outside intervention in the form of full time care. As parents begin to research their options, the two types of facilities that come up regularly are residential treatment centers and therapeutic boarding schools. While many in the industry use both titles interchangeably, there are some official similarities and differences that may help you decide which option is best.

Both types of facility offer therapy, recreation, education and lodging, however, therapeutic boarding schools place greater emphasis on education. The average stay is generally longer than other programs and they often have a large number of residents. Most residential treatment centers do offer accredited academic programs, but their main focus is identifying and correcting the issues that resulted in bad behavior through therapy. These facilities require shorter stays and usually host fewer residents at a time in order to offer more personal and individualized care from the staff.

Therapeutic boarding schools operate on the premise that education and healing go hand in hand. While there is some time dedicated to each teen’s therapeutic needs, it is the structure, discipline and supervision of each resident that allows him to learn to manage basic behavioral issues. These facilities are intended for students with minor versions of issues such as learning difficulties, substance abuse history, defiance and some mild psychiatric conditions. They are not usually equipped for students with more severe issues, such as bipolar disorder or depression.

Residential treatments centers, on the other hand, are designed for residents with severe behavioral problems. They generally have both nurses and psychiatrists on staff and can create individualized treatment plans for residents who need IEP cohesion or medication adjustments as they work through the program. The primary goal of these facilities is to provide a safe and therapeutic environment where troubled teens can effectively work on healing their core issues and gaining the tools they need to be successful in day to day life. Most residential options also offer accredited academic programs, based on the requirements of their state, and can keep teens on an educational track while he is away from school.

While each type of facility has its merits and is able to claim success in treating troubled teens, it is important for you to select the one that is going to be the best fit for your child and his specific needs.

Sundance Canyon Academy is a residential treatment center located in northern Utah. We are unique from other facilities because of our successful use of relationship based therapy rather than behavioral modification techniques. We provide a safe and supportive environment where teen boys can turn their lives around and develop better relationships with the important people in their lives. If you have questions about our program or would like a free consultation, please call us at 866-678-2425.

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