As a parent of a teen who is struggling, you face a myriad of emotions. Your love for your child makes it hard to see the struggles until you face explosive or dangerous behaviors. Therapeutic boarding school can give your child the help they desperately need, but making the decision to place your child in a program isn’t easy. Many parents wonder what to expect from boarding school and question whether it is the right choice for their child. A closer look at what to expect can help you prepare for the next steps as you seek to get your child the right help.
Zion Educational Systems offers a directory of boarding schools that can connect you to the right one. We also offer counseling services to parents of troubled teens. Let us know how we can help you and your child through these difficult days.
Therapeutic Boarding School – Not a New Concept
Therapeutic boarding schools, and boarding schools in general, are not new. While it may seem like a noel concept in your efforts to help your child, truthfully these programs have been around for decades.
In the mid- to late-1800s, boarding schools were primarily religious in nature. These early boarding schools, like St. George’s School in Rhode Island and St. Mark’s School in Massachusetts, focused on training character through rigorous academics and religious instruction.
These religious boarding schools set the foundation for the therapeutic schools of today. Today’s schools use psychology and behavioral therapy, rather than religious training, as the primary means of helping their students. But the idea of sending children to a boarding school has been part of society for over 100 years.
How Boarding Schools Help Students
Today’s therapeutic boarding schools focus on helping children struggling with behavioral issues learn to regulate their emotions and control their behavior, all while also providing a solid academic education. They do this in several ways, including:
These programs for troubled teens use a variety of therapeutic techniques, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, to teach students the tools they need to overcome behavioral challenges. Therapeutic boarding schools are also equipped to help teens who have co-occurring disorders, such as substance abuse, depression, or learning disabilities, that make their behavioral issues worse. With a team of professionals assisting every step of the way, the right boarding school can help your child not only heal but eventually thrive.
As a parent, you know that your child is often pulled into negative behaviors because of the influence of friends and peers. Therapeutic boarding school removes this. The environment is safe and controlled, so your teen is less likely to fall into negative behaviors or get involved with the wrong friends.
Family Support and Counseling
Therapeutic boarding schools also help families. Removing the child from the home is not an easy decision to make, but it provides separation needed to allow the child and the child’s family to heal. While your teen is at boarding school, the staff will work with you to assist in treatment. They will provide you with the tools you need as a parent to help your child thrive when you transition back to living together at home. In the meantime, you are able to focus on restoring the areas of your life that your child’s behavior has affected.
Types of Therapeutic Boarding Schools
Therapeutic boarding schools do not all use the same techniques to help the students in their care. What works best for one student may not be what works best for you. As you search for the right solution for your child, consider the different options available to you.
Some types of programs include:
- All-girls or all-boys schools – Boys and girls have different physical and emotional needs, especially in the adolescent years. These schools are gender-specific, giving staff the opportunity to address those unique needs.
- Religious-based boarding schools – Religious-based boarding schools, including Catholic and other Christian denominations, use religious teaching and training alongside therapies and counseling to help students overcome behavioral and emotional challenges.
- Therapeutic Boarding Schools – These schools are co-ed and non-religious. They have strong academics combined with counseling and therapy to address the behavioral issues.
Which program is right for your child? That’s not always an easy question to answer, but Zion Education Systems can help. We will coach you and help you choose a successful therapeutic school for your student that will bring the best results.
How Effective Are Boarding Schools?
Parents who are considering therapeutic boarding schools have usually tried many options to help their troubled child. Counseling and therapy, punishments at home, and other interventions can often work well, bus sometimes they just aren’t enough. Parents who have tried other treatments without success often question whether or not residential schooling could help. So is therapeutic boarding school effective when other methods haven’t worked?
The answer is yes. Therapeutic boarding school removes the temptations and stresses of daily life for your teen and surrounds your child with caring and properly trained professionals who can manage a wide range of behavior issues.
In 2013, a multi-phase study was conducted to determine the effectiveness of residential treatment and education for youth. After reviewing appropriate evidence, the study found that these programs were effective at changing behavior in the adolescents who participated in them, even with different types of therapy used.
Why do these programs work? Therapeutic boarding school helps by:
- Teaching students to change their mindset
- Giving students behavioral and emotional tools for success
- Providing students with individualized attention, so they don’t fall through the cracks
- Ensuring students stay with their academic progress even while making changes to their behavior
- Allowing students to have access to counseling, therapy, and psychological help as needed
There’s simply more time and attention available in a boarding school setting than is available through outpatient therapy done through home, and this helps set your child up for success.
Types of Therapy and Treatment at Boarding School
If you choose to enroll your troubled teen in therapeutic boarding school the type of treatment used will directly impact the effectiveness of the program. While each school is different, some common types of treatment and therapy include:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy – This therapy challenges your child’s unhealthy thinking to change behavior and improve emotional regulation by improving the person’s thinking.
- Psychotherapy – This approach seeks to address behavior and attitudes through psychology, often through talk therapy. The goal of psychotherapy is usually to dig deep and find the root of the behavioral issues. One-on-one psychotherapy is common in a residential school setting.
- Counseling – Counseling is similar to psychotherapy, but with a more personal than clinical approach. Students may need counseling if dealing with trauma or struggling with substance abuse.
- Animal therapy program – Animal therapy, including pet therapy and equine therapy, is effective with teens. When a young person is responsible to care for and bond with an animal, they are able to take their minds off of their own troubles for a bit. Clinical studies have found equine therapy, in particular, to be highly effective with troubled teens.
- Wilderness therapy program – A wilderness therapy program connects your troubled teen with nature. By taking part in adventure challenges in a wooded or wilderness setting, your child can address the frustrations and emotional concerns they face in a structured setting.
Zion Education Systems offers coaching services to concerned parents who wish to find the best programs for troubled teens. Our trained family counselors will help direct you toward resources for parents of troubled teenage boys and girls that can help your child, and your entire family, find healing.
Is It Time to Consider Therapeutic Boarding School?
Is it time to consider a therapeutic boarding school for your child? If your child’s behavior is out of control, they’re harming others or themselves, or your family life has been upended because of your troubled teen, a residential school setting can give both of you the right chance to heal. These schools understand teenagers, support strong academics, and know how to reach teens socially and emotionally to address the issues they face. This can be your child’s best chance at overcoming the challenges they face on a daily basis.
You don’t need to fear the therapeutic school setting. Enrolling in one means you deeply love your child and want what’s best for them. Our education counselors are here to help you assess your child’s needs and choose a residential program that will effectively address them. Help is available. Zion Educational Systems will help you and your child find it. Reach out to our family counselors today to see if therapeutic boarding school is right for you.