• Palisade Area Community

Back on Track: Focused Programs for Troubled Teens

Parents of troubled teens sometimes have to accept the fact that they don’t have the skill or resources to change the path they see their children on. When strong parenting, tough love, and other methods don’t work, some parents turn towards programs for troubled teens and at-risk youth programs for help. There are various programs and organizations out there for troubled youth who need to get back on track as soon as possible.


Why at-risk programs work

Most at-risk youth programs are therapeutic residential programs that last for varying amounts of time. Programs for troubled teens’ success come from total submersion in a therapeutic program away from familiar territory. Whether the risk factor is drugs or anti-social behavior, the environment is important.


Another reason for success is the youth are more committed to therapy than they would be in a non-residential program. There are many distractions and temptations at home. In programs for troubled teens, therapy is the primary focus.

There are various at-risk youth programs available for troubled teens. The type of therapy used varies according to personal needs. For instance, a young person who has physical limitations is unlikely to wind up in Wilderness Therapy.


The programs for troubled teens are usually residential therapeutic programs. Enrollees attend a strict residential program that points them in the right direction. Many are alternative schools offering an educational program, structured activities, and therapy.


At-risk programs at a glance

These teen programs fall under different categories:


Therapeutic Boarding Schools – These are facilities for young people with psychological or behavioral issues. These schools feature outdoor and academic activities like sports, riding, and debate. It is a school setting with therapy as part of the curriculum.


Residential treatment programs are for young people with mental disorders or learning disabilities having difficulty in a traditional school setting. Students suffer from ADD, substance abuse issues or mental health issues like bipolar disorder and have difficulty in a traditional school setting. The programs combine education and mental health therapy.


Wilderness Therapy programs take place in outdoor settings and youth learn to interact and flourish in a wilderness-like atmosphere that teaches them self-reliance and teamwork. This type of therapy combines rugged individualism and self-reliance to build character and the chance to master a physically challenging environment.


Boot camps are more intense at-risk programs for young people. These camps are structured, disciplined settings utilizing a militaristic ethos. Boot Camps have demanding physical requirements along with therapy geared to emphasize self-reliance and group teamwork.