Sending Girls To A Therapeutic Boarding School For Help With Behavioral Disorders
Nobody wants to send their struggling daughter away. It may seem heartless or extreme, however, that time away may prove to be the most important factor in her success. While making this most difficult decision regarding treatment for a loved one, parents want to know results backed by research. Let’s take a look at the research and then consider what makes therapeutic boarding schools particularly special.
Several large scale landmark projects drew optimistic conclusions: the Drug Abuse Reporting Program (DARP), the Treatment Outcome Prospective Study (TOPS), and the Drug Abuse Treatment Outcome Study (DATOS). In these studies therapeutic boarding schools are grouped with “therapeutic communities.”
Research Shows That Therapeutic Boarding Schools Work
DARP – Drug Abuse Reporting Program
DARP was the first national follow up study to assess patients one year after treatment. Conducted from 1969 to 1973, it was the first study to include a large client sample and was conducted on publicly funded treatment centers. It found therapeutic communities produced positive results.
TOPS – Treatment Outcome Prospective Study
TOPS came next observing clients admitted between 1979 to 1981, and built on the findings and methodology of DARP. It examined more than 11,000 clients in 41 methadone, therapeutic communities, detox centers, and outpatient programs. That’s a huge study making the results legitimately dependable. Researchers assessed clients in intervals during treatment and in intervals after treatment for up to five years. It largely found therapeutic communities to be successful and it’s findings were noteworthy. Researchers watched as drug-use dropped dramatically during the first 3 months of treatment in therapeutic communities. Upon entering, 22 percent of clients reported more than minimal use of heroin; after three months of treatment that number had dropped down to seven percent. Also, 97 percent reported cessation of illegal activity during treatment.
Most importantly, researchers were astounded to see more than one-third of clients report total abstinence from their primary drug and a 50 percent decrease in depression during the three to five year follow-up period. Ultimately, results showed a positive correlation between length of stay in treatment and post-treatment drug use: the longer the stay, the greater the decrease in drug use. For example, stays of three months or more showed a 15 percent decrease in heroin use during the follow-up period compared to shorter stays, and stays of one year or more in a therapeutic community showed even greater decreases in use.
DATOS – Drug Abuse Treatment Outcome Studies
Finally came DATOS. By far the most comprehensive study, DATOS largely confirmed the findings of TOPS. Observing clients admitted between 1991 and 1993, DATOS continued to follow the clients for an additional five years and beyond. It’s findings “illustrate consistent behavioral and psychological improvements for adults and adolescents . . . following discharge across the domains of alcohol and drug use, criminality, social performance, and psychological functioning.” Most importantly, DATOS found therapeutic communities provided positive results for adolescents. This excerpt explains it best:
“Adolescents in treatment typically had multiple problems (e.g., 58.4% of them were involved in the legal system, and 63.0% met diagnostic criteria for a mental disorder). Nevertheless, less than half (43.8%) of all patients reported weekly marijuana use in the year following treatment (dropping from 80.4% in the year before admission). Similarly, there were decreases in heavy drinking (dropping from 33.8% to 20.3%), use of other illicit drugs (dropping from 48.0% to 42.2%), and criminal involvement (dropping from 75.6% to 52.8%). Additionally, patients reported better psychological adjustment and school performance after treatment. Longer stays in treatment were positively associated with several favorable outcomes.”
That’s all science talk for “it works”.
What Make Therapeutic Boarding Schools For Girls Special?
Therapeutic boarding schools for girls are all-female facilities that welcome troubled teens from across the country who struggle with challenges that make home and traditional school very difficult. Teens may have issues with anxiety, depression, bipolar, adoption and abandonment stress, substance abuse, reactive attachment disorder, post-traumatic stress, abuse trauma and many other kinds of mental illness. Therapeutic schools are intensive, long-term programs that help teen girls address their problems, learn ways to rise above them, and emerge as successful young women. Because of the length and immersion of their programs, therapeutic boarding schools often times provide the best results, as demonstrated by the research above.
In a recent study, 100% of patients and their parents said that they would recommend treatment to others. These programs are often included in the broader categories of therapeutic communities, long-term residential treatment centers, and rehabilitation facilities, however they differ in important ways.
Boarding schools are residential, which means that the teen girls live in family-style group homes or dorms, away from you and your current home. Troubled youth become part of a caring community with solid support, consistent scheduling, and clear responsibilities.
From licensed therapists to certified teachers, the caring staff at boarding schools work together to create a complete program for each girl, using lessons and experience to build upon one another. Great staff is a great benefit to teens. No matter how great a school’s philosophy, it can only be so good as the staff.
Therapeutic boarding schools differ from residential treatment centers by providing an increased emphasis on academics: residential treatment centers typically provide a 75 percent to 25 percent ratio between therapy and academics, whereas therapeutic boarding schools might provide a more balanced 50-50 ratio.
Perhaps the most important aspect of a therapeutic boarding school is the therapy they provide. Oftentimes, schools will provide group sessions to build positive peer-pressure, individual session to work through specific challenges, and even family sessions to to develop more beneficial relationships and prepare a safe environment for the teen to return to.
Choosing the solution backed by research
If you are searching for a solution for your loved one, start with Havenwood Academy.
One happy parent has this to say about Havenwood Academy:
“We can’t say enough good things about Havenwood Academy. The care they provide for trouble young ladies is second to none. It was the hardest decision we ever had to make to send our daughter there, but the BEST decision we ever made.”
Have a question?
Have a quick question about our residential treatment center? Leave us a message and we'll get back with you shortly. Click HERE to fill out our online assessment and see if your daughter is right for our program!