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Therapy vs Behavior Modification for Teenage Boys

If your teenage son is dealing with tough behavioral and emotional issues and you are at your wits’ end, you might be thinking about different treatment options to help him. The two most popular treatment options today are behavior modification and therapy. Today we’ll take a closer look at the two to help you understand the differences.

What is Therapy?

Basically, therapy looks at the why behind your teenage son’s behaviors and emotional issues. A therapist addresses negative thoughts, feelings and behaviors of your son and tries to help him understand how those thoughts, feelings and behaviors impact his life. The therapist will help him find answers to these issues, but will not solve the problems for him.

The reasons for therapy include:

  1. Medical and/or health issues

  2. Rejection, divorce or death

  3. Stress

  4. Violence in the home or school

A teen boy could benefit from any of the following types of therapy:

  1. Individual therapy that is one-on-one with a therapist

  2. Group therapy, such as a home for teen boys

  3. Family therapy, with parents and siblings present

It is important to note that therapy focuses on restoring more positive relationships in your son’s life and gives him the tools to approach life and its inherent problems in better ways.

What is Behavior Modification?

Behavior modification zeroes in on unacceptable behaviors. These behaviors need to change and be replaced with new habits. Since most teen boys are still learning what behaviors bring the results they want, modification works for many of them, particularly younger boys. The earlier a behavior modification program is started, the more successful it is.

Some behavioral modification programs use a method that allows boys to earn more and more privileges through positive behaviors. He learns that his behavior determines what privileges he receives. As he earns more privileges, his self-esteem grows. As he then demonstrates the ability to fulfill responsibilities, he can learn to apply those to life at home.

Can You Combine the Two Therapies?

Yes! A therapeutic boarding school like Sundance Canyon Academy does combine the best parts of therapy and behavioral modification to help struggling teenage boys succeed in life. Individual therapy, as well as group and family sessions, help your son understand the issues that have previously impacted his life and his choices, and helps to reconstruct failing relationships and instill better self-esteem. Behavior modification techniques help encourage him to make better choices in the future and be a productive member of his family, school, and society.

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