The Aspen Guide To Teen Treatment
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The Aspen Guide To Teen Treatment

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"The purpose of this e-book is to provide an introductory look at the various types of teen treatment opportunities that have helped thousands of young people and their families overcome issues......

"The purpose of this e-book is to provide an introductory look at the various types of teen treatment opportunities that have helped thousands of young people and their families overcome issues that traditional public schools or limited outpatient therapy have not been able to adequately address."

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  • 1. An Aspen Education Group Publication The Aspen GuideTo Teen Treatment
  • 2. IntroductionTroubled teens. Struggling students. Youth in crisis.These terms (and, unfortunately, a plethora of far less neutral labels) are commonlyused to describe adolescents and teenagers who are dealing with a variety of academic,behavioral and mental health challenges.However, while most parents, teachers, and even the students themselves are familiarwith the words we use to describe these problems, too many remain unaware of thewide range of options that are available to put them back on the path to continuedsuccess.The purpose of this e-book is to provide an introductory look at the various types ofteen treatment opportunities that have helped thousands of young people and theirfamilies overcome issues that traditional public schools or limited outpatient therapyhave not been able to adequately address.Topics covered in this e-book include the following:Chapter 1: Introduction to Residential TreatmentChapter 2: What is a Therapeutic Boarding School?Chapter 3: Wilderness Works!Chapter 4: Weight Management Programs for TeensAppendix A: Residential Program GuideAppendix B: About Aspen Education Group
  • 3. Chapter 1 Introduction to Residential TreatmentThe decision to enroll your teen in a residential treatment program is likely to bedifficult for any parent.You may feel that enrolling your child in a residential program means thatyou have either failed or given up on your teen.But just the opposite is true – by enrolling your teen in an effectiveresidential program, you are giving them the best chance to overcome anyaddiction or behavioral or mood disorder.Residential boarding schools and therapeutic programs provide students with essentialguidance, structure, and supervision, along with the necessary amount of time in aproductive healing environment.Length of StayEnrollment periods in a residential treatment programs for adolescents and teenagersmay last from a few weeks to a year or longer.One of the primary benefits of residential treatment programs for teens is thedevelopment of individualized treatment plans and high degree of personal attention.Because each participant is working through a plan that has been specifically developedfor him or her, he optimal length of stay depends upon the needs of each student, andshould provide ample time for each child to make necessary progress on his or herunique issues.Family Involvement & SupportWhen an adolescent or teenager enrolls in an effective residential treatment program,parents can (and should) expect to play an active positive role in their child’s healthydevelopment.Residential treatment programs provide regular opportunities for parents to speak withtheir child’s therapist, teacher, or other program personnel – and many of the best
  • 4. programs provide opportunities for parents to visit campus and participate in familysupport sessions (both with and without their children present).The major goal of all our boarding schools and residential programs is to realize truehealthy growth and assist in the creation of a positive future for each student and theirfamilyHistory of Proven SuccessAbout 97 percent of teens who attend a private residential therapeutic school showimprovement in behavior, communication, confidence and any emotional problemsthey were experiencing, according to a study of nine private schools.  The study was conducted by independent research company Canyon Research & Consulting Inc.  The study involved 993 students ages 13 to 18 who attended schools operated by Aspen Education Group between August 2003 and January 2006.  Regardless of age, sex or the reason for treatment, most teens showed a significant improvement between the time they entered treatment and the time they were discharged.“The analyses suggested that adolescent problems improved significantly during privateresidential treatment,” said Ellen Behrens, PhD, and Kristin Satterfield, B.S., authors ofthe study.By the time teens complete their stay at a residential therapeutic school, the studyrevealed, the majority will improve in the following areas:  Normal emotional issues, behaving like any typical teenager  Confidence to resist peer pressure and other outside influences  Much more cooperative  Decrease in negative behaviors  Improved communication  Better compliance with rules  Improved family relationships
  • 5. Chapter 2 What is a Therapeutic Boarding School?Boarding schools have a long tradition in our society, generally known for theirexcellence in education and ability to prepare students for a bright academic andprofessional future.Small class sizes, individualized attention, and often a higher quality of teachers andother academic professionals has given boarding schools a much-deserved reputation aseducational institutions that produce bright, skilled, and capable young adults.Over the years, a new breed of boarding school has developed. These schools – whichare commonly referred to as “therapeutic boarding schools” – specialize in studentswhose parents want them to excel academically, but who know that their children haveacademic difficulties, behavioral issues, and other mental health challenges that need tobe addressed if they are to achieve this goal.Therapeutic boarding schools serve students who have emotional or behavioral issuesby giving them not only an academic education, but a life education.Therapeutic boarding schools teach more than the “three Rs."They also teach responsibility and self-reliance, and promotehealthy behaviors so that these unique students can achieve totheir greatest potential.What Sets These Schools Apart?Class SizeGenerally the ratio of teachers to students is much smaller in therapeutic boardingschools. Children receive individualized academic attention, which makes them anexcellent resource for kids with ADD, ADHD, or learning disabilities.Most parents who have teens with these issues know their kids are bright and capable.They also know how such children can "fall through the cracks" in a traditional academicsetting.
  • 6. TherapyTherapeutic boarding schools promote emotional growth by offering group andindividual therapy for students, and educational opportunities for parents. No twochildren are treated alike, which means your child gets an individualized education planthat is specifically designed for him or her.The approach of these boarding schools is to create a complete education, one thataddresses the unique issues of its students and respects both their abilities and theirdifferences.Specific & Significant ExpertiseTherapeutic boarding schools employ teachers, counselors, therapists and other trained& experienced personnel who are prepared to provide innovative support to studentswho are dealing with a wide range of issues.Common issues that therapeutic boarding school students are struggling with includethe following:  Anger, Defiance, & Disrespect  Anxiety/Panic  Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD)  Bullying  Depression  Eating Disorders  Grief/Loss  Learning Disabilities  Opposition-Defiance Disorder (ODD)  Poor Self-Image/Low Self-Esteem  Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)  Running Away  Substance AbuseRecreational Activities & Unique AdventuresMany therapeutic boarding schools offer children exceptional opportunities toparticipate in wilderness adventures or other unique activities.Experiential therapy involves learning through experience, and is particularly effectivewith young people. Working with animals such as horses, rabbits and dogs helps atroubled teen connect with nurturing and love.Participating in art, music, drama, dance or writing becomes an outlet for pent-upemotions. Some therapeutic schools teach students calming techniques such as deepbreathing exercises, visualization, and yoga.
  • 7. Structure & SupervisionMost therapeutic boarding schools are highly structured with set times for classes,meals, homework, therapy, exercise, outings and sleep. In the best programs, studentsare under constant supervision with staff members guiding them throughout the day.These staff members will be trained in working with students who are struggling withbehavioral disorders and other mental health challenges.A Holistic Approach to EducationThe therapeutic boarding school educates the whole child by addressing the emotional,behavioral, psychological, academic, and creative needs of each adolescent.Teens who attend therapeutic boarding schools can make remarkable progress in allthese areas in their lives, enabling them to return home with a renewed sense of selfand strong character.
  • 8. Chapter 3 Wilderness Works!For some teens, a therapeutic boarding school doesn’t provide the ideal initialenvironment to begin working on the issues that have prevented them from achievingto their greatest potential.For these teens, a short-term, high-intensity therapeutic wilderness program can helpthem develop the skills they need to pursue success either during follow-on placementin a therapeutic boarding school or after returning home.Wilderness therapy programs, sometimes referred to as outdoor education programs,have proven themselves to be exceptional catalysts for change in troubled children,adolescents, and teenagers.The basic premise behind therapeutic wilderness programs is that the wildernesspresents an environment that cannot be manipulated by teenagers who have beenrebellious and defiant, and who break all the rules.Nature serves as the ultimate teacher, unable to be manipulatedor conned by a defiant, angry adolescent. Such an environment bynecessity requires certain behaviors and actions.Teens quickly learn how cooperating with their peers results in asignificantly more positive experience than when they refuse toparticipate.By removing the child from the home environment and all the influences of modernculture, such as parties, television, videos, and movies, a therapeutic wildernessprogram provides the teen with the ideal environment in which to explore his or hermotives, behaviors, and self-defeating attitudes.Through the use of positive peer pressure, introspective group discussions, and thebuilding of primitive skills, adolescents begin to understand through metaphor the skillsand behaviors that are necessary to lead productive lives in society.
  • 9. The average program lasts four to eight weeks, and the cost of these short-termprograms is relatively low when compared with longer term residential therapeuticfacilities or boarding schools.Benefits of Teen Wilderness ProgramsBy providing a safe yet dramatic environment within which to effect positive behavioralchanges, the wilderness experience accelerates the therapeutic process and givesstudents a powerful foundation on which to build a more positive, productive life.Students quickly learn how cooperation, responsibility for behaviors, and a strong workethic can create a positive group environment where they can develop self-esteem andobtain greater self-knowledge.Teenagers with behavioral and emotional problems begin to explore their relationshipswith others and their issues with authority, peers, and family members.Positive peer pressure replaces negative peer pressure.The group encourages defiant individual teens to participate in the necessary activitiesfor an outdoor wilderness experience.Focus on SafetySafety is the primary concern in any quality wilderness program.Because nature itself is such a powerful teacher, there is no need to allow any situationto progress to a degree that might put participants at risk for injury or illness.By keeping risk at a minimum, top-notch wilderness programs create a physicalenvironment where dramatic changes can take place while keeping the participant assafe, if not safer, than they would be in their home and school environment.  A quality wilderness program will have a support "base camp" that keeps in 24- hour touch with field personnel.  Radio contact is made between field supervisors and base camp on a regular basis.  An Emergency Response Team is ready to respond at a moments notice should any child become ill or injured.  The rates of injury in qualified wilderness programs are extremely low.
  • 10. Studies of effective therapeutic wilderness programs for teens have shown a child is atmuch greater risk of injury driving in a car in his or her hometown or participating intraditional hiking trips or school sports such as football.Study Shows That Wilderness WorksA study out of the University of Idaho has shown wilderness therapy interventions to behighly effective, even at a one-year follow-up.A number of outdoor education programs participated in an independent researchstudy by Keith C. Russell Ph. D., of the University of Idahos Wilderness Research Center.The study was designed to measure treatment effectiveness in outdoor behavioralhealthcare using the Youth Outcome Questionnaire (Y-OQ). The Y-OQ is an industryaccepted outcome instrument designed to measure symptom reduction in therapy.The University of Idaho study was based upon 858 participants, of which 589 were maleand 269 were female.  About 57% of these participants had prior outpatient treatment  About 17% had prior inpatient treatment  About 13% had both prior inpatient and outpatient treatmentResults of this study included the following:  The study concluded that participation in outdoor behavioral healthcare resulted in clinically significant reductions in severity of behavioral and emotional symptoms.  More than 83% of participants made clinically significant improvement.  The average score change for participants as a 51.6 point reduction. A 13-point reduction is considered significant.  Almost half (46%) of participants returned to a normal range as a result of treatment.  The highest reduction for all age groups based on a parent assessment occurred among 13 year olds.
  • 11. Chapter 4 Teen Weight Management ProgramsOver the past 20 years, overweight and obesity among children, adolescents and youngadults has skyrocketed from 8% to 33%. This makes overweight and obesity the mostserious health issue facing our children.Research from top universities shows that overweight children are likely to becomemore and more overweight, and that 90% of overweight teens will become obeseadults. In addition, studies are increasingly showing that overweight teens face socialand psychological challenges that can have permanent effects.The health risks associated with being overweight are well documented and includecardiovascular, orthopedic, gastrointestinal, respiratory, hormonal, neurological, andmetabolic diseases such as diabetes.In the past, the few options for young people were summer fat camps that were notbased on principles of long-term weight management.Today, the Wellspring weight loss program has developed a network of highly successfulweight loss opportunities for adolescents and teenagersWellspring weight loss camps and weight loss boarding schoolsare designed by leading researchers and clinicians to maximizelong-term behavioral change, which results in substantial andsustained weight loss.Wellspring recognizes that weight loss and management is a complex behavioral andbiological struggle and that most adolescents have an unprecedented level of freedomin determining their own lifestyle.This is why Wellspring’s intensive clinical programs provide campers, students andparticipants with the necessary tools, decision-making skills and new behavioralstrategies to control weight permanently.Wellspring programs have achieved the best results ever recorded for weight lossprograms for children, adolescents or adults.
  • 12. Appendix A: Teen Treatment GuideAcademy at Swift River  Cummington, Massachusetts   800-258-1770  College preparatory therapeutic boarding school that specializes in working with adolescents ages 14-18 (grades 9-12) who have social, academic and family difficulties.Adirondack Leadership Expeditions  Saranac Lake, New York   877-252-0869  Wilderness program for troubled teens ages 13 -17Camp Huntington  High Falls, NY   866-514-5281  Co-ed, residential summer program for children and young adults (ages 10 to 21) with special learning and developmental needsCopper Canyon Academy  Rimrock, Arizona   928-567-1322  Therapeutic boarding school for young women ages 12-17Cove Forge Behavioral Health  Williamsburg, Pennsylvania   800-873-2131  Residential center for adolescents, teenagers, and adults who are dealing with addiction and co-occurring disorders
  • 13. Four Circles Recovery Center  Horse Shoe, North Carolina   800-893-2221  An addictions, substance abuse and co-occurring mental health disorders treatment program for young adults ages 18-28 that combines a traditional counseling setting with a series of wilderness expeditionsIsland View  Syracuse, Utah  866-952-7930 or 801-773-0200   Residential treatment center for teens ages 13-17 that focuses on helping students determine their strengths, abandon self-defeating behaviors, and understand their unique issues and giftsThe Meadow Lodge  Scotts Valley, California   800-924-2879  Comprehensive detox, residential & outpatient substance abuse treatment for adolescents ages 14 to 17.Oakley School  Oakley, Utah   435-783-5001  Co-ed college preparatory therapeutic boarding school for teens ages 14-19Outback Therapeutic Expeditions  Lehi, Utah   800-817-1899  Wilderness program for teens ages 13-17 blends the best of the “ancient cultural systems” with the most effective and proven therapeutic processes
  • 14. Phoenix Outdoor  Old Fort, North Carolina   877-305-0904  Therapeutic wilderness program for teens ages 13-17 who are struggling with substance abuse, as well co-occurring behavioral and mental health issues.Starlite Recovery Center  Center Point, Texas   800-292-0148  Adolescent drug rehab program for boys between the ages of 13 and 17Stone Mountain School  Black Mountain, North Carolina   888-631-5994  Year-round therapeutic boarding school for boys ages 11-17 with emotional, behavioral and learning issues such as ADD, ADHD and nonverbal learning disorderSUWS Carolinas  Old Fort, North Carolina   888-828-9770  Therapeutic wilderness programs for young people ages 13 to 17 who are struggling with a range of behavioral, emotional, and substance abuse issuesSUWS Programs  Shoshone, Idaho   888-879-7897  Therapeutic wilderness programs for adolescents ages 11-17 with a focus on clinical intervention and assessment.SUWS Seasons  Old Fort, North Carolina   888-828-9770  Wilderness-based treatment program for preadolescents & young teens (10-13)
  • 15. Talisman Academy  Zirconia, North Carolina 28790   888-458-8226  Year-round academic program designed to help children ages 13-17 with Asperger’s Syndrome, Nonverbal Learning Disorder and High-Functioning Autism thrive in an experiential learning environment.Turn About Ranch  Escalante, Utah   800-842-1165  Residential treatment center for teens ages 13-17, located on a working horse and cattle ranchWellspring Academy of California  Reedley, California   866-364-0808  Boarding school for overweight students (ages 12-24)Wellspring Academy of the Carolinas  Brevard, North Carolina   866-364-0808  Boarding school for overweight students (ages 11-18)Wellspring Camps  Various locations   866-364-0808  Summer camps for overweight adolescents and teensYouth Care  Draper, Utah   800-786-4924  Residential treatment for children and adolescents ages 11-18 in an intimate, homelike environment
  • 16. About Aspen Education GroupAspen Education Group is the nation’s leading provider of education programs forstruggling or underachieving young people.As the largest and most comprehensive network of therapeutic schools and programs,Aspen offers professionals and families the opportunity to choose a setting that bestmeets a students unique academic and emotional needs.Aspens programs exist at the intersection of therapy and education for students thathave demonstrated behavioral issues that are preventing them from achieving to theirgreatest potential.Recognizing that every individual is different and challenged by different needs, Aspenoffers a wide diversity of educational programs, settings and solutions that match clientneeds with the right learning and therapeutic environment.Our help and services range from short-term intervention programs to residentialtreatment, and include a variety of therapeutic interventions including: boardingschools, wilderness therapy, residential treatment, special needs summer camps, andweight loss programs.Aspen Education Group is a proud member of CRC Health Group, the nation’s largestprovider of behavioral healthcare services.For more about Aspen Education Group, please visit www.aspeneducation.comFor more about CRC Health Group, please visit