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New Approaches to Teen Therapy Bring Results
Date:2/25/2010

, after less restrictive environments have failed (day treatment, intensive outpatient). Residential treatment facilities and therapeutic boarding schools offer 24/7 structure and supervision and the opportunity for a teen to gain knowledge about life skills and build more pro-social behaviors in a supportive therapeutic environment.

Waring cites an example of how new therapy approaches and therapeutic interventions helped a troubled teen named Stephen.

Stephen, 15, began skipping school and receiving declining grades. He started hanging out with new friends and withdrawing from the family. He distanced himself from his siblings and father, and attempts by his mother to communicate with him were brushed off. Stephen no longer demonstrated any caring or loving feelings for his family. At one point, he was questioned by a police officer about a recent break-in in a nearby neighborhood. Stephen’s disturbing behavior created a breach in the family’s otherwise close knit family.

Stephen’s parents were in crisis. They felt alone and frustrated. They didn’t know where to turn—and the justice system was at the doorstep. This family was on the edge of an emotional cliff. Is therapy the answer? Is the juvenile justice system where Stephen is headed? What should a parent do?

Today, a variety of therapeutic options are available to troubled teens.

A wilderness therapeutic program is especially effective as it offers an alternative setting to the traditional “talk therapy” of the past, where teens met with therapists in their offices, causing the teen to feel uncomfortable and defiant. Wilderness therapy offers the teen a complete change in environment away from negative influences and daily stressors, enabling the teen to become introspective and appreciate nature.

“Therapists now work with teens in non-threatening outdoor woodland settings where therapy can take place w
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