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Is A Therapeutic Boarding School Right For Your Teen?

Is A Therapeutic Boarding School Right For Your Teen?

From Our Old Blog

What About a Therapeutic Boarding School for Troubled Teenagers?

Many parents find that it is difficult in determining whether their teen needs to be placed in a therapeutic boarding school. Therapeutic boarding schools are schools that offer structure and discipline to teens that are out of control and are in need of making better decisions. The key element behind the success of these types of therapeutic schools is therapy.

Therapy at home is very difficult but is a necessary step for parents to make before deciding to send their son or daughter to a boarding school. We have come up with 5 reasons therapy is often too difficult and does not work well at home.

The first thing is that most teens do not want to go to therapy and therefore are more likely to shut down when pushed by the therapist.

Second, teens that are willing to go to therapy at home typically have a 50-minute session once a week and the rest of their week they are in the same environment that has been helping to stifle their performance. Usually, the only thing that changes during the week is the one 50 minute session. Too much time goes by between sessions which could allow the teens to forget until the next session.

Third, good therapists are like finding other good professionals, they are hit and miss. You may find a good one, but in our experience, the more likely scenario is that you will have to go through several to find one that fits with your values and belief system. Often parents don’t know what is going on behind closed doors with their child and the therapist, and in most states, it is illegal for the therapist to discuss the child’s issues with the parents. If you are going to try therapy interview the therapist carefully before letting your child go behind closed doors with them because you may just be making your problem worse. After interviewing the therapist if you still are struggling to get a good feel for who they are and what direction they might take with your child, request that the therapist let you sit in on each counseling session.

Fourth, individual therapy is often not the answer to struggling teens. Family therapy is preferable as the problem almost always lies with more than one member of the family. Often parents will only send the struggling teen when the entire family may benefit from having an objective mediator to facilitate good therapy sessions where each member of the family is given an opportunity to help turn things around at home.

Lastly, therapy is difficult at home because there is little follow-up between sessions. Good therapists will keep the parents in the loop and provide the parents the tools to do the follow-ups between each counseling session.

If you have tried therapy and it has failed at home, you are not the first to experience this. The reason we have been so successful at helping teens’ to turn their lives around is that everything we do is therapy. Each student meets regularly with a therapist, and then all staff, teachers, and other professionals have many opportunities for follow-up throughout the week to keep the teen on track and going in the right direction.

Teens Snowboarding and Snowshoeing

The Warmth of a Campfire brings healing to the soul. One of the aspects that make teen boarding schools great, is the activities that are offered. Each week at Turning Winds Academic Institute, the students hold a Crew Meeting for all those who are doing well at the school. The students have decided to name their Crew, The Wolf-Pack. The kids are in the process of designing a logo and slogan which best represents their work as a Crew.

The mission of the wolf pack is to engage in high adventure activities; to foster the development of student leadership and to give back to society through meaningful service. This week we decided to hang out around a bond-fire to discuss the events that would take place for the next few weeks. The boys and girls came up with some awesome suggestions for service in the community. The kids talked about Christmas caroling at a nearby nursing home in December and making cards for those who reside there. Another idea was to bake cookies and make cards for the staff at TWAI. Both were great ideas!

The highlight of the night happened while telling scary stories around the campfire and just as the climax of one particular story was reached, one of the leaders let out a primal scream and the group of girls all jump in unison while one of the boys jumped so far that he landed on the nearby bench. We all had such a great time around the campfire and for a moment it seemed as though we had forgotten about the troubles in our lives and the very things that brought us to TWAI.

We concluded our experience by having root-beer floats while continuing to converse around the campfire. As we were discussing our logo and what it would look like, one of the girls suggested that we have a logo of a campfire with the smoke appearing as a wolf. What a neat idea; we should have a rough draft put together by next week.


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Owen Baisden, COO

Restoring hope for a brighter future.

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