Residential treatment centers are usually not set up for long-term care, focusing on 30–90-day treatment periods instead. This is great for getting patients in crisis to stabilize but it is 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 two or three months for teens to buy into the process and open up with the treatment team.
For teens who need a stable, structured environment, a therapeutic boarding school can also be a great option. However, while therapeutic boarding schools offer quality academic support, they are limited in what they can offer to address mental health and substance abuse issues.
Wilderness therapy programs can be very beneficial as a treatment option, but these are also typically short-term programs that don’t last longer than 90 days. During this time patients continue to miss out on education time often leaving them behind the curve.
The Turning Winds Difference
Turning Winds offers a hybrid residential treatment program for teens by filling in the gaps left by the treatment options mentioned above. “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.”
It’s possible for a teen to be at Turning Winds for up to a year, allowing them 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.
Time enough to make the program a home away from home. “There’s time for them to really make decisions that are their decisions because adolescents basically expect us to try to fix them the way their parents want, and of course, they resist that,” explains Dr. Gordon. “Until they realize that this is something for them to figure out so that their life is the way they need it to be, then things begin to work. But if they feel that we’re only here to make them the way their parents want them to be, they’ll usually dig in their heels and the therapy won’t really work. So that makes a big difference—it’s long-term.”
Since 2002, Turning Winds has been operating and refining the hybrid model unique to our organization. We have blended the benefits of three approaches to creating a residential treatment center with a fully accredited academic program while leveraging recreational and activity therapy to promote positive change. The therapeutic approaches include character education, health, and wellness of the body and mind, outdoor therapeutic experiential education, therapeutic and academic success, along with continuously improving each vital pillar of our world-class school through measuring outcomes in each area.
Our one-of-a-kind hybrid program blends the successful aspects of residential treatment centers, therapeutic boarding schools, and wilderness therapy into one life-changing experience. A main part of the Turning Winds’ mission is to reunite troubled teens with their families.
“Our feeling was always to recapture the family and bring the child back into that family,” says John Baisden who co-founded Turning Winds with his son John Jr. “It was never to change the child by itself but to have an impact on the entire family. So that child and family had the ability to change over a long period of time.”
Our goal is to help teens develop the skills and confidence needed to live a productive and happy life. When they leave here, they leave with goals and aspirations they have set not for us, or for their families but for themselves and we have given them the tools they need to succeed. The relationships our staff builds with the kids allow them to feel cared for, both physically and mentally. We believe in a positive peer culture where growth is encouraged by everyone, not just staff.
Our mission is to rescue teens from crisis situations, renew their belief in their own potential, reunite them with their families, and put them on a sustainable path to success. Contact us online for more information, or call us at 800-845-1380. If your call isn’t answered personally, one of us will get back to you as soon as possible.