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How Effective Are Residential Treatment Programs?

Do residential treatment programs work? Well obviously ‘yes’ because so many teens come home with a marked improvement in their behavior. But the degree to which they work will obviously vary with each individual.

We all know about respite care. It usually involves a person who is responsible for an elderly or dependent family member and who is on call 24/7. Taking time off means they get a break from their difficult job or they get some respite. After all, it can be physically and mentally taxing. And some parents who have a troubled teen may see a residential treatment program for their son or daughter as the perfect chance for them, the parents, to get some respite from their kid.

Well that’s an added bonus but the primary aim is to help the young person when you place them in residential care. Now there are all sorts of programs available just as there are all sorts of problems which teenagers manage to develop. But the point of this article is to consider the effectiveness of the various residential treatment programs.

To increase the chances of the treatment program being effective, you the parent, should do the groundwork in selecting the most appropriate venue. Things a parent should look for when seeking a residential treatment program is the type and amount of therapy on offer. A good program will have the appropriate staff and the proper philosophy and attitude. There is no point in having the teen achieve certain positive results when at the center, only to revert to their old ways as soon as they return home.

There is even an old trick played by some teens who, when they come home, complain that everything was fine in the treatment center but have only gone bad since they got home. It’s the old blame someone, anyone but yourself.

So a good program will help troubled teens learn to take responsibility, to face up to their problem or problems and work through them with life-changing strategies. Staff members in the successful residential treatment centers are good at relating to their charges. They develop a casual yet strong relationship, winning trust and doing as much listening as talking. Teens are very good at being skeptical and it takes experience and technique for staff to win the confidence of their young charges.

Parents should find the treatment program which is relevant to the problem faced by their child and has the staff with a track record for achieving positive results.

The best residential treatment programs are those which take the long term view. The therapy aims to not just help the residents over or through their difficulties but gives the young people the confidence and life skills to survive once they return to the outside world. The most effective programs are those which have graduates who go on to live interesting and fulfilling lives.