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Why A Summer Camp for Troubled Youth Might Not Be Long Enough

Let’s start with this question. If your teen has had behavioral, emotional, or psychological problems for the last few years, or even a good part of their lives, is a short stay at a summer camp going to be enough to fully help them with these problems? You have probably tried for years to help your child. Your teen’s behavior may even be getting worse. To truly heal and change requires intensive therapy and time.

Summer Camp Is Not Enough

A summer camp may provide your teen with a structured routine and discipline, and some summer camps offer therapy for troubled teens. But problems like addictions, depression, or violent and rebellious behavior, are not going to be overcome in a few short months. It takes time for teens to understand their underlying behavioral, emotional, or psychological problems, and to learn how to cope with overwhelming emotions, childhood traumas, or addictive cravings. It takes time to change behaviors and accept responsibility for choices.

Boot Camps Are Not a Good Fit for Troubled Teens

A military-style boot camp will enforce strict discipline, but does offer therapeutic help. Boot camps were developed to prepare people for life in the military. They emphasize strenuous physical exercise, adherence to rules, and submission to authority. Teens may change their behavior while in a boot camp, in order to avoid negative consequences, but they often revert back to their old behavior when they return home. Troubled teens do not receive the therapy that they need to heal and to truly change from within. The strict and aggressive approach of a military-style camp can be damaging to a teen with emotional and psychological problems.

Therapeutic Boarding Schools Are a Better Choice for Troubled Teens

Therapeutic boarding schools provide a wide range of help for teens and for their families. Teens live in a safe, controlled environment, where they are removed from the distractions and negative influence of peers, social media, and the demands of daily life. They participate regularly in individual, group and family therapy. Therapeutic boarding schools monitor students’ well-being and behavior, and enforce discipline based on accepting accountability for one’s choices and actions.

Their staff is qualified and experienced in working with troubled teens. Therapists help them with their behavioral, emotional, or psychological problems. Teachers help students earn the school credits that they need for graduation. Medical staff monitors their health.

Students also participate in physical activities, community projects, and fun activities, like music or art. Some therapeutic schools, like Sundance Canyon in Utah, are situated in beautiful natural settings, and students enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, swimming, skiing, and kayaking.

Families participate in family therapy during visits and online, through a secure server. Therapists also help as teens transition to life at home. They offer online aftercare therapy and family support so that teens don’t regress back to previous behaviors.

Healing Takes Time

Healing takes time. Overcoming addictions or depression, changing behaviors, accepting accountability for actions and choices, learning respect for self and others, managing emotions, rebuilding family relationships – these do not happen in a summer. Therapeutic boarding schools will not limit your teen’s therapeutic intervention to a few short months. They offer a comprehensive program to help your teen turn their life around, and they help your family to restore a healthy relationship with your teen.

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