Many residential treatment centers for teenage clients are not set up for long-term care, focusing on 30–90-day treatment periods instead. This is great for getting teens in crisis to stabilize but it is often not enough time to facilitate lasting change. In our experience, adequate time is a must for the growth and change required for today’s youth and it usually takes several months for teens to buy into the process and open up with the treatment team.
In his book Not By Chance, teen therapy expert Tim Thayne also emphasizes the importance of allowing enough time for change to occur. “There is another element to why good programs work and that is simply time,” Thayne wrote. “To create deep internal change, teens need to be immersed in a carefully crafted milieu, with positive values and solid principles, long enough for these changes to sink in.” Thayne likens this process to “baking bread in terms of the importance of keeping bread in the oven long enough to bake all the way through.”
Turning Winds offers a hybrid residential treatment program for teens by filling in the gaps left by other treatment options. “It can be long enough to really help young people,” says John Gordon, MD, Turning Winds’ medical director. “These days, most psychiatrists just do short-term hospitalization, usually about a week, which isn’t very much time to deal with anything but a crisis. And a lot of the kids here have been in other programs before that either were not long enough or there was too much resistance on the adolescent’s part to make it useful.”
The average stay for teens at Turning Winds is 9.5 months; however, it’s possible for a teen to be at Turning Winds for a longer period of time depending on their needs and goals. In essence, long-term treatment really allows our teens to form relationships with people that would not have been possible for them otherwise. “Usually, it takes about five months before kids really decide that they’re going to make use of the program,” says Dr. Gordon.
Thayne agrees. In his book, he appeals to parents to “allow the program to guide you in understanding how long your teen needs to stay… You don’t want to stop the process before it’s complete, because the results won’t be as good or have the staying power they would have if you’d given the program enough time to achieve the desired results.”
Effective programs such as Turning Winds teach values, expand a teen’s insight and make the outcomes of good or poor choices more obvious to the child or teen.
“The choice-consequence linkage is made overt as the program processes, corrects, and celebrates the choices that teens make,” Thayne wrote in Not By Chance. “In this process, teens are minutely examining the impact their actions are having on their lives. This provides immediate motivation for either a direction change or continuance in behavior.”
The hybrid program at Turning Winds blends the successful aspects of residential treatment centers, therapeutic boarding schools, and wilderness therapy into one life-changing experience. We offer a full continuum of care for teens with mental health needs. Our clients achieve success through a combination of therapeutic, recreational, and educational approaches that together provide the best possible outcomes.
Contact us online for more information, or call us at 800-845-1380 as we are available 24 hours per day to answer your questions and guide you in the process of finding a solution for your teen.