3 Reasons Why Therapeutic Boarding Schools Should Be Paired With A Wilderness Therapy Program

If you have a troubled teen who is not doing well in school and has behavioral, legal, or substance abuse issues, you may wonder whether it is better to send them to a therapeutic boarding school, like Youth Programs For Troubled Teens, or a wilderness therapy program. Therapeutic boarding schools are long-term solutions that create a stable environment for troubled teens while helping them succeed academically. Alternatively, wilderness therapy programs tend to be short-term programs that help children confront their problems and begin recovery. Although both types of programs have their benefits, they actually work best when they are combined. Below are three reasons why you should consider sending your child to a wilderness therapy program and then continue their therapy at a therapeutic boarding school. 

Wilderness Therapy Programs Help Teens With Short-term Breakthroughs 

Wilderness therapy programs tend to be short-term. Some last for a few weeks and some last for a few months. This is enough time to remove your teen from any negative influences in their current environment and allow them to connect to nature and their own abilities. The self-growth during a wilderness therapy program can help a teen overcome issues with defiance and begin to trust authority figures and therapists. This can make therapeutic boarding school much more effective, because your teen will arrive prepared to work with their teachers and therapists and with a general understanding of how therapy works. 

Furthermore, many children end their wilderness therapy session excited about their development and self-discoveries. This excitement can be harnessed by educators at a therapeutic boarding school, whereas it may simply dissipate if your teen returns home. 

Wilderness Therapy Can Teach Your Child to Thrive In a Highly Structured Environment 

One thing that both wilderness therapy and therapeutic boarding schools have in common is that they both utilize a highly structured environment to bring stability to a troubled teen's life. Often, teens will resist the structured environment at first, which can lead to set-backs. Because a teen's survival is dependent on their acceptance of the therapeutic structure in wilderness therapy, many teens will accept the structure of a wilderness therapy program more readily than the structure of a therapeutic boarding school. 

Sending your teen to a wilderness therapy program before sending them to boarding school will help them get used to succeeding in a structured environment. This will allow them to concentrate on academics and self-improvement when they begin boarding school, making their time there more useful. 

Teens Often Relapse When They Return to Their Original Environment 

While your teen may be ready to make life-long changes after completing a wilderness therapy program, it can be difficult for them to maintain their new lifestyle if they return home full time. This is because many relapse triggers, such as the availability of illegal substances, stress, or social isolation may still be in their home environment. Choosing to send your child to boarding school gives you time to make sure that their home life is structured in a way that will support their recovery and prevent the relapse of negative behaviors. Additionally, it will give you time to undergo family counseling and prepare for your teen's homecoming. However, it is important to realize that some teens will be most successful if they finish the duration of their high school career at a therapeutic boarding school. 

If you are trying to decide between a wilderness therapy program and a therapeutic boarding school for your teen, you should consider the benefits of sending your troubled teen to both. Many wilderness programs partner with boarding schools, so your troubled teen can experience a smooth transition from the wilderness into the classroom.