Tag Archive | Residential Treatment Centers

Residential Therapy: Are you ready to made the leap?

You have finally reached your wit’s end.  It has come to a point where you have exhausted all your local resources.  The one on one therapy is no longer working, if it ever did.  The fact is, it is a fight to even get your teen to attend a session.  If you do get them to attend – how many times to they actually manipulate the therapist to actually believe there isn’t an issue at all…… in some instances the blame can come right back to the parent!

Yes, manipulation of a teen is priceless.  They are the best at what they do.  However now is the time for the parent to be the best at what they are – a parent.

You decided it is time for residential therapy and you jump on the Internet and you start with Google by typing in key words.  Teen help, struggling teens, defiant teens, teen help programs, military schools, reform schools, troubled teens, rebellious teens, etc.

What you will find is a list of marketing arms that are very quick to “sell you a group of programs” rather than discuss what is best for your individual teenager.  I always caution parents to beware of these toll free numbers and marketing arms that you have no clue where you are calling and who is connected to what.

I once was at my wit’s end – my story is what prompted me to created an organization to help educate parents about the big business of “teen help”.  Take a few minutes to read – “A Parent’s True Story” and you will realize that although you absolutely need to get your son or daughter help, you also need to take the time to do your research.

I have listed some “Do’s and Don’ts” when searching –  these are some great helpful hints for parents.  This is such a major emotional and financial decision that I encourage to read through my website and learn as much as you can before making a decision.  I firmly believe in residential programs – I just also believe you need to select the right one for your child’s needs.

Visit www.helpyourteens.com for more information.

Wilderness Programs: Are They for Your Teen?

What is a “Wilderness Program?”  If you are a parent that is struggling with a teenager that is out-of-control, you will surf the Internet and attempt to find help.  Many parents first think of boot camps as a resolution – a way to teach our teen a lesson.  Then you realize that maybe that is not the best avenue and you are somehow directed to wilderness programs.  Not always, but especially if you have hired an Educational Consultant, their first recommendation is commonly Wilderness programs.

There are many very good Wilderness Programs in our country, however the question remains, are they necessary or should you go directly to where most teens eventually end up:  Residential Therapy program.

Wilderness programs are mainly designed to break a teen down.  Although they are not punitive, in comparison to a boot camp, they are primitive, forcing your teen to appreciate the luxuries he had at home.

However, a residential therapy program can do the same thing, since many are not designed by Hilton (TM).  Have you also thought about this:  Your teen is already broken down, why do we need to continue to break him/her down?

Let’s look at the pro’s and cons. 

  • Wilderness programs can cost you up to $500.00 a day. Yes, a day.  Some start as little as $250.00 a day (Yes, as little as).  Now multiply that by 30 days or actually 6 weeks, since the average stay in Wilderness is 6-9 weeks.  At the low end: A month in the mountains will cost you $7500.00.  That is questionable to many, as well as out of the financial means of many more.
  • Wilderness program rarely have academics.  Fact is your teen is probably not focused on academics and could care less about them.  Working on their emotional stability is the goal here, however it shouldn’t be an excuse to delay education.  Although your child may not care about their education, you do.
  • Wilderness programs are short term.  Short term program, short term results and a lot of money.  In most cases they go on to residential programs which will run you about another $5000.00 a month and up for another 10-12 months.  Wouldn’t it make sense to start and finish at the same place with the same therapist and the consistency of recovery?
  • Wilderness programs are sadly where we hear of the most deaths or accidents in teen help programs.  It is true, accidents can happen in any program, however when listening to speakers in congress while attempting to pass a bill to stop abuse in residential programs, it seemed the parents that lost a child in a program were mainly in Wilderness programs.

Some positives:

  • If your teen has not escalated to a point of serious concern, and is just starting to make some poor choices, maybe a 6-9 week wake-up call is all that is needed.  As long as you can afford it, and remember, if they decide he/she needs more than the 6-9 weeks, you need to be prepared to go the next step.
  • The teen is removed from their home environment.  They are put in a place of isolation and maybe this is just what they need to reflect on their current negative behavior.
  • There are some excellent Wilderness programs with very good and caring staff in our country.  Many teens that had a wilderness experience really feel it was very good.  Many parents also believe that the Wilderness program helped their child get ready for the next step, residential therapy.
  • Wilderness programs offer a great opportunity for your teen to live outdoors and experience outdoor therapy.  With some teens this is very beneficial.

This is a personal decision, and although I am not an advocate of Wilderness programs I can appreciate and respect parents that believe they need this extra step and it has worked for them.  It is my philosohy that starting and finishing at the program is part of the consistency of healing.  Having to switch programs and therapists (especially) and starting over, can feel like you have fallen back to ground zero. However, each family is different with different needs, so this is an individual decision.

Is Wilderness right for your teen?  Only you can answer that.

Visit www.HelpYourTeens.com.

Parent Stress – Troubled Teens – It’s More than just Pot

The first semester of school is over, now we are on to the final few months – and your teen is debating whether they “want” to finish school?  Excuse me – you mean teens have options?

Believe it or not, yes they do!  In Florida, at the age of 16 your teen can sign themselves out of school – of course they need your consent, however if you don’t, truancy charges will linger.

Now what?  Virtual school? Homeschooling? GED?  Who would have thought – generations prior graduating high school was  never an option.  Today is a new world.

Let’s compound this and you suspect or know your teen is using drugs, drinking and seriously mom, it’s no big deal?!  Really?

Now they develop an attitude of defiance, start sneaking out, completely disrespectful to your home and your boundaries…..

You find this is getting out-of-control and you realize that you have a limited time to get them help since at the age of 18 you no longer have control.

After exhausting all your local resources, therapy, outpatient programs, support groups – and some even send their teen to a relatives to live, you soon realize you need to take that big step – residential therapy.

You jump online after the sticker shock you find all these disturbing websites about all these so-called teen help programs, you find former students, disgruntled parents (which I was one at one time), as well as enough negative information you stop in your tracks.

I get it – I have been there -I fell for the fraud online – I won a major jury trial proving our experiences were true – even with our horrific experiences,  I still believe parents need  options.

Some of the wealthier ones will  hire an Educational Consultant, believing they are safe with these professionals.  Well, chances are good – you are safe, but are you being spun in the EC Shuffle?  Yes, that is a name some of us call it – they seem to have a cookie-cutter program design – Most clients start in Wilderness (and I can name the top 3 most EC’s give out) then they go on to a longer term program.

Hmmm…. why not start and finish at the same place?  Why not find a solid 6-9-12 month program that offers consistency?

Most EC’s or programs associated with Wilderness Programs will tell you that the time in the wilderness will break your child down?  Really, I am sure it will – but isn’t our teen already broken if we are seeking this help?  Isn’t  it time to start working towards building them back up by working through their issues?

My best advice to parents is to know this decision to find residential therapy is one of the most difficult many parents need to make.  You should take it lightly or make the decision when you are in crisis.  If you see the road getting bumpy – do your  homework early – so when that urgency hits, you are ready.

Also know this is not about “shipping off” your teen – it is about giving them a second opportunity at a bright future – after all, if you let things continue to escalate – what will be the ending?

My next post will have some hints to finding safe and quality programs.  My experiences and sound opinions – they may be criticized by some – but at the end of the day, I am a parent that has been right where you are, at your wit’s end.

For more information visit www.helpyourteens.com and checkout the hints and tips there!

Need to learn more about transport services (yes, another step you will hear about) – click here.

Learn more.

Sue Scheff (Founder of Parents Universal Resource Experts, P.U.R.E.) and Author of Wit’s End! Applauds the April 24th GAO Hearings on “Child Abuse and Deceptive Marketing by Residential Programs

In recent news, the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) has conducted a study revealing concerns about abuse and deaths in certain programs for struggling teens as well as deceptive trade practices of referral agencies within this industry labeled, teen-help.

At P.U.R.E. we are deeply touched by the publicized reports, which found thousands of cases involving abuse and even death at facilities licensed to help troubled teens. It is disturbing to hear about marketing arms (referral agencies) that prey upon the desperate parent. When I was a parent at my wit’s end, I became prey for a referral agency that made many false promises and my daughter suffered the consequences.

This reality hit home with my daughter and myself which inspired me to create Parents’ Universal Resource Experts (P.U.R.E.)  My organization helps to educate parents that are searching for safe alternatives for their children as well as create awareness in an industry that can be daunting for the desperate parent.

I offer sympathy to the families that have been affected by any ill treatment and as always, would like to encourage all parents considering this level of care to take the necessary steps to ensure your child’s safety and well-being. There are many excellent programs designed to help teens in crisis, but not all are created equal.

It is imperative that parents take an active approach in seeking the most suitable program for their individual needs of their child. As stated on my website, http://www.helpyourteens.com/questions_to_ask_schools.html . These questions to ask and helpful hints in assisting you to find the best program for your child. My book, “Wit’s End!” will expand on these questions and offer parents hope and inspiration if they are struggling with an at risk child.

It is certainly frightening to hear about the teen fatalities and incidents of abuse at Residential Treatment Programs and Wilderness Programs, but I am grateful for the media attention that this matter is finally receiving. I am joined by other industry professionals who are hopeful that this increased awareness resulting from these hearings will propel a trend for improvement within our industry. I strongly support any legislation, both state and federal, that will enhance the safety and treatment of at-risk teens as well as regulate referral sources. I intend to be active in the development of such policy and work with the GAO.

For more information on the recent GAO report, visit www.gao.gov .