Treatment Programs for Troubled Teens

Which Option for Professional Help Is Right for Your Teen?

Complaining Mother Talking to Teenaged Son
SW Productions/Photodisc/Getty Images

Even when you know your teen needs it, the decision to seek professional help for your troubled teen is still a difficult one. It's important to know that the best way to help a troubled teen is to accept there's a problem, and then to find the best mental health professional or therapeutic program to work with them in healing and making positive changes.

The best place to start is to know what treatment options for troubled teens are available and what each has to offer.

Consult with administrators at your teen's school to ask if they have recommendations. Ask your pediatrician for referrals. Don't try to go it alone, there are many programs to help families and teens struggling with all manner of issues. Getting started is often the hardest part.

Treatment Programs to Help Troubled Teens

Professional help for teens is divided into two main categories:

Outpatient programs provide treatment while your teen continues to live at home. These options are usually the best place to start in getting help for your teen. But outpatient programs aren't always appropriate, depending on the nature and severity of the situation.

Residential programs provide treatment while the teen lives outside the home in a residential setting. This type of program is needed when your teen's behavior is dangerous, out-of-control or if they aren't responding to outpatient programs.

Types of Outpatient Treatment

This begins with a psychological evaluation, which is a thorough process of assessment and screening administered by professional.

It may consist of a series of formal or structured psychological or neuro-psychological tests as well as clinical interviews designed to identify and describe the emotional, behavioral or learning problems that may be contributing to the problems your teen is having.

Depending on the issue your teen is dealing with, individual, family or group therapy are all possible options.

For teens who are arrested, a diversion program might be appropriate. These involve recommendations for services, activities or therapy to curb the illegal behavior and prevent future arrests. Teens who are at risk for dropping out of school might be suited for an alternative school, designed to support teens with academic or behavioral problems.

Types of Residential Treatment

For teens who need more intensive help, residential treatments may be more appropriate. These may include residential drug treatment, boot camps, or psychiatric hospitals. Some other options include:

  • Group Homes, which provide 24-hour therapy, supervision and support in a home-like setting, where other teens reside.
  • Residential Treatment Centers, which are intensive therapy in a controlled environment, designed to help teens with serious behavioral or emotional problems.

In order to maximize the help your teen receives, take the time to research the therapeutic options and programs that best address your teens' problems.

Consult with professionals to be sure you're choosing the best option for your child. Knowing there are professionals and programs specializing in helping troubled teens means there is every reason to be hopeful your teen will get the help needed to get better, make positive changes and develop into a healthy adult.

Continue Reading