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Teen Help Programs

Are You Considering Residential Therapy?

Posted by Sue Scheff on December 27, 2018  /   Posted in Mental Health, Parenting Teens, Residential Therapy, Struggling Teen Help, Teen Help, Troubled Teens, Uncategorized

What is the best program for teen?

Are you at your wit’s end? Do you have a good teen making bad choice? Is it time for residential therapy?

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The Nature Effect: How Getting Outside Benefits You and Your Troubled Teen

Posted by Sue Scheff on September 15, 2016  /   Posted in Mental Health, Mental Illness, Parenting Teens, Struggling Teen Help, Teen Help, Troubled Teens

teennatureIf there was a simple way to better the relationship you have with your teen, you would want in on it, right? Well, the simple solution is all around you — nature.

Your brain on nature

Does your family make time to get outside and spend time in nature? If not, you may want to consider it. Spending time outdoors for an extended period of time is essentially like hitting the reset button on your brain. Oftentimes, people just like you and your teen, cite feeling more clear headed, less stressed, more creative and even more alive after spending time outside. It’s true. Spending time in nature is restorative to mental health, and its effect can be described as a psychological process called attention restoration therapy. Spending time outdoors can even change the wiring in the brain, but we will get to that later.

Disorders, illness and their relationship to nature

There are a myriad of health problems that face our children and teens today, from ADD/ADHD, cognition disorders and depression to obesity, stress, Type II Diabetes and even something called nature deficit disorder. And while there is no single remedy to treat many of these ailments, there is something that can help. Now more than ever, kids and teens are widely disconnected from their natural outdoor environment and spending copious amounts of time indoors. A disconnection from nature leads to difficulties concerning concentration, a sadly diminished use of the senses and even higher rates of mental illness. Even creativity levels, attention spans and desire to explore suffer because of our kids’ limited exposure to the outdoors. But as a parent, you can help to prevent these outcomes by simply getting them outside in a natural environment more often. In recent years, “wilderness therapy” has emerged as a way to help troubled teens and adolescents with disciplinary or psychological problems get back on track. Some of these programs last up to eight weeks, completely emerging your teen into the wilderness. However, these programs are not for everyone and should only be considered after taking other measures first. They are also only recommended for teens dealing with serious drug, alcohol and other serious issues.

Nature combats stress in teens and parents

One of the major draws of spending time in nature is its ability to reduce stress. While you may be thinking “What stress does my teen have?” right now, you should know that your kids are likely under a lot of pressure. From their peers, teachers, coaches and even you. Dating, sex, status, drugs and alcohol, school and other factors are big contributors to stress for teens. However, recent research has shown that our environments directly impact stress levels and our bodies. The University of Minnesota reports that nature soothes and restores, improving moods from stressed, depressed and anxious to more balanced and calm. Other studies that were also cited by the University of Minnesota claim that nature is all-around associated with a positive mood, meaningfulness, vitality and psychological well-being.

Using nature to connect with your troubled teen

Research out of the Human-Environment Research Lab has shown that time spent outdoors in nature connects people to each other and the larger world around them. If your teen is standoffish and distant, they may just need a little more nature in their routine. Use this time to put your screens away — yes, all devices, phones and tablets — and really connect with your outside environment and kid. You have to be genuinely invested in this activity and that means that you will have to power down. Whether you opt to take a weekend camping trip or just decide to go for an afternoon hike, being outdoors can help to foster a healthier relationship between you and your teen. When you’re ready to experience the great outdoors, make sure you’re equipped with the right outdoor gear. That way you can ensure you’re prepared for whatever adventure you have planned.

Walking outdoors has big benefits for adolescents and adults

Would you believe that a simple walk in the woods could actually change the wiring in the brain? You better believe it. Sure, people have cited that they feel better after talking a walk in nature, but recently both The New York Times and NPR reported that walking outside is truly beneficial for the brain. Researchers used brain scans and found that people who walked outdoors, even for a short period of time, actually had changes in their neurological functioning — for good. Something as simple as a walk in nature could change everything.

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Therapeutic Boarding Schools for Troubled Teens

Posted by Sue Scheff on August 21, 2015  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Residential Therapy, Struggling Teen Help, Teen Help

DistraughtFamilyYou are struggling with the fact you are reaching your wit’s end with your out-of-control teenager?

In most cases, this is the first time you have experienced this and you are clueless about what your options are.  You have exhausted your local resources, such as counseling, outpatient and some even tried sending their loved one to a relatives home.

Now what?

Deciding on residential therapy is a major decision not to be taken lightly.  Like many big businesses out there, it is a business.  As a parent that was once in your shoes, I know what it is like – I had exhausted every local avenue (including the relative), only to be duped by a residential program.

What that did for me is to empower me to help others gain from my knowledge and learn from my experiences.  Let’s be real – my one horrific ordeal doesn’t mean all schools and programs are bad – quite the contrary, in our research, we found that most are beneficial.

mom laptopIt’s about “you” – the parent, doing your due diligence and not making a decision while you are in a panic.  Not allowing these sales reps to convince you of something your gut is telling you is not so.

Many parents will get online and start searching all sort of terms for troubled teens.  Keep in mind, only those schools and programs (marketing arms) with deep pockets can afford those sponsored listings, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are the best for your teen.  In hindsight, the organization that duped me literally had the first spots all over the Internet – they were pros on marketing. Anyone can build a site and market themselves, it’s your research that is imperative – offline.  

  • Talk to local sheriff department in the town that the program is located in.  Ask how many times they are called out there, do they have runaways – big question – “would they send their child there.”
  • Call the Department of Social Services/Department of Children and Families – ask if there has ever been complaints filed (chanced are they can’t tell you the details, but at least let you know if there were complaints), are they up-to-date with their licences, how are they licensed?  As a childcare center, foster-care home, or as a therapeutic boarding school.  (Yes, things you need to know).
  • If you are visiting the school/program, stop in local restaurants, talk the people (waitress, locals) ask about the school, their opinions.  It’s amazing what locals will say.

I think you are getting the idea.  The Internet is very valuable, but in reality it can be hard to determine cyber-fact from cyber-fiction, there comes a time to take it offline – for the sake of your child.

More take away tips for parents:

When seeking residential treatment, I always encourage parents to look for three key components that I call the ACE factor:

  • Accredited Academics (Ask to see their accreditation): Education is important, some programs actually don’t offer it.
  • Clinical (Credentialed therapists on staff): Please note–on staff.
  • Enrichment Programs (Animal assisted programs, culinary, fine arts, sports etc): Enrichment Programs are crucial to your child’s program. They will help build self-esteem and stimulate them in a positive direction. Find a program with something your teen is passionate about or used to be passionate prior their path in a negative direction.

I also encourage parents to avoid three red flags:

  • Marketing arms and sales reps (All those toll-free numbers, be careful of who you are really speaking to and what is in the best interest of your child).  I also caution you to just fill out forms that don’t offer you confidentiality.  These are marketing arms that simply send your information to a variety of programs.
  • Short term programs (Wilderness programs or otherwise, rarely is there a quick fix. Short term program are usually short term results. They usually will then convince you to go into a longer term program after you are there a few weeks–why not just start with one? Consistency is key in recovery. An average program is 6-9-12 months, depending on your child’s needs and the program). There are some reputable Wilderness programs, however it is our opinion it is an extra step and money that parents should understand before taking this leap.
  • Statistics that show their success rate (I have yet to see any program or school have a third party–objective survey–perform a true statistical report on a program’s success. Success is an individual’s opinion. You have to do your own due diligence and call parent references).

Are you searching for a Therapeutic Boarding School, Residential Treatment Center or Teen Help Program?  Contact us for more information.

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Teen Help Programs for Troubled Teens

Posted by Sue Scheff on August 19, 2015  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Residential Therapy, Struggling Teen Help, Teen Help

It can be one of the most difficult decisions a parent can make.  You have a teenager that was always a good teen, used to bring home excellent grades, always participated in family functions, maybe was involved in sports or other extra curricular activities such as dance or cheer leading, and slowly is losing interest in the things they used to love.

Their behavior has become defiant, disrespectful, rude, underachieving,  lack motivation, withdrawn, secretive and before you know it – you feel like you don’t even recognize your own child.  Some parents have even said they feel like they become hostage in their own home to this behavior.

Maybe you suspect they are using drugs or drinking?  Maybe they have changed their peer group? Maybe they are experiencing something online that needs to be addressed?

Trying to get your teen to open up their lines of  communication is key to helping you determine where this negative behavior is stemming from.  If they are still shutting you down, sometimes they will be more open with an objective person like a relative, close friend or finally you may have to try an adolescent therapist.

After exhausting your local resources and you find your teenager is still spiraling into a dark hole, you may reach a point that they need residential therapy – teen help programs.  Teen Help Programs are much different than having one-on-one therapy at home.  They revolve around your child’s emotional growth in all their activities and they will be with peers that are struggling with the same issues.  It helps them to know they are not alone in whatever they are going through with their same peer group.

However deciding on a Teen Help Program,  (therapeutic boarding school) can be a major financial and emotional decision.  If you have PPO insurance, this can help you a bit.  The next step is taking your time and doing your due diligence.  There are many good programs in our country, but don’t get caught in the trap that you need the one closest to your home.  This is a mistake many parents make.  You have to select on that best fits your child’s needs.

EquineTherapyWe explain to parents that keeping in mind that you have to look at three (3) points which we call the A.C.E. factor, when searching for the right Teen Help Program for your troubled teen:

A – Academics (Be sure the program is accredited with their education. Another words, double check to be sure when they come home your schools accepts their transcripts).

C – Clinical (Especially if you have PPO insurance, be sure the therapist are credentialed and they will give you invoices for their clinical hours – this usually includes peer support groups depending on your policy –  so you can file it with your insurance if they don’t file for you.  There are only a small number of programs that will file for you. Again, PPO is usually the only insurance that has paid for a portion of residential, and that is only if you have already tried local therapy. This is in accordance to your policy.  We are not insurance specialists.   If you don’t have insurance, you want to be sure they have a solid clinical component to their program since it is likely you will be paying for it.  Check the credentials of the therapists).

E – Enrichment Programs (So many parents overlook this and it is so important.  Enrichment programs are what will stimulate your teen to recovery.  Enrichment programs can be sports, animal assisted programs, music therapy, art therapy – anything that engages your teen’s interest in a positive way).

Troubled teens can drive you to your wit’s end, but it’s not the end of the world.  You are not alone and there is help.

Takeaway tip we often give parents:  If you feel your teenager is about to be asked to leave their school (expelled), talk to the school and tell them that you would like to  withdraw them immediately.  This way the expulsion won’t be on their academic record.

If you would like more information on Teen Help Programs (therapeutic boarding schools or residential treatment centers) please contact us.  It’s best to be an educated parent, be prepared before you are placed in a situation that you need placement within 24-hours.

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Teen Boot Camps and Scared Straight Programs

Posted by Sue Scheff on August 13, 2015  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Residential Therapy, Teen Help, Troubled Teens

Scared Straight: Would it work with your teen?

Scared Straight: Would it work with your teen?

Years ago parents would threaten to send their children, especially defiant and belligerent teens to military school or boot camp.  Then some sheriff’s departments developed Scared Straight programs through through their  jails.

Inmates would speak to the youth about their experiences, both inside and on the outside, hopefully giving them enough of a jolt to realize they don’t want to be in their shoes.

If you are interested in scared straight programs, sometimes they can be effective with certain teenagers.  Check with your local sheriff’s department to see if they offer them.

Going back to military schools, parents are making false threats since they will be quick to learn that these type of boarding schools are typically a privilege and honor to attend.

Your child will need a good GPA to be accepted as well as be willing to attend.  Not to mention, if they are struggling with any type of experimentation of substance use, military campuses are not immune to students bringing in drugs or alcohol.  They will be reprimanded, and like a traditional school – will be expelled within their school policy.  However, you will forfeit your tuition with that too.  Keep in mind, military school tuition usually starts at about $25,000 a school year and up.

Boot camps are what parents think about initially.  They are very difficult to locate at this point.  With a lot of negative press as well as results, most have been closed and no longer in operation.

If you break it down, boot camps were usually a weekend where teens were literally placed in a military-style environment with rigorous physical exercise in an effort to break your child down.  It is an in-your-face type of discipline that isn’t resolving any of their emotional issues that is causing their negative behavior at home or school.

Many of these teens are already broken – emotionally.  They are usually depressed and struggle with low self-esteem, placing them in an environment that only degrades them will likely build more anger and resentment – especially towards the people that put them there – the parents.  

We challenge parents to switch places.  If you are going through a rough time in your life, whether it be a divorce or a friend that is not treating you well, how would you feel if no one was speaking with you and you had people screaming at you constantly and degrading you as you are struggling just to get by?

TeenArtTherapy

Teens & art therapy.

Residential therapy, which includes emotional growth programs helps your teen work through their issues.  Having conversations with counselors, peers and also participating in activities that can help build their confidence to make better choices is what can help start the recovery process.

Residential treatment centers is about building your child back up again, not breaking them down.

Before you think your child needs a good punishment, think about what it will really achieve?  Being a teenager today is not easy.  Being a parent is even more of a struggle – we all have to do our best to make it work and give our kids the best future.

Do you have questions or want to learn more about quality residential therapy?  Contact us today.

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