Mid Summer Therapy Options

Mid Summer Therapy Options- To Act or Not to Act?

In today's blog post we will examine the pros and cons of acting on your child's behavioral or mental health issues midsummer. Tension sometimes runs high over the summer months as a family is living in close quarters during the hot summer season.

The daily structure that was once enjoyed during the school year is now disrupted as the kids are at home playing video games or running around the neighborhood getting into mischief with friends. Often, it is over the summer when parents first notice behavioral problems.

It is not uncommon in my practice to receive phone calls in the mid-to-late summer inquiring about options for a child. Generally, the most prevalent concern is about the disruption of schooling which is fast approaching. Parents should not be concerned about disrupting schooling if a child is exhibiting behaviors which must be corrected before the independence of college or what lies ahead when the child leaves home at age 18.

Most therapeutic programs do you have some type of academic support, whether that is a fully accredited school or some type of academic curriculum that the child can receive credit for. However, parent should keep in mind that if the behavioral issues are not corrected now, how likely will future academic endeavors turn out?

Parent should keep in mind that statistically, only about half of students that enroll in college will graduate. Therefore, the focus I encourage parents to maintain is on preparing the child to be able to emotionally handle the unstructured nature of college or Independent living that is inevitable in a few short years or less for most teens.

Statistically, college-bound teens face a significant chance of not being able to successfully complete their college pursuits. Therefore, parents really need to focus on developing self-regulation skills and a sense of overall responsibility in their children. This includes developing your child's ability to maintain their emotional responses and to make safe and healthy decisions in life. In most cases, this is where the focus should be, not on a possible disruption of the academic record, which is actually a hurdle easily crossed by picking the right therapeutic program with academic support.

Another issue parents often express is the worry about financial hardship of a high-quality therapeutic program. Generally, when parents express this concern I point them to peer-reviewed research on graduation rates for work-study students. A simple search on work-study graduation rates using Google Scholar reveals a wealth of research which positively correlates work study programs with higher graduation rates.

In this regard, enrollment in a therapeutic program can actually be a blessing in disguise. For a student that is forced to enroll in work study because the college savings were spent on a residential therapy program, it is possible that the work-study will be the very thing to provide the structure needed to successfully graduate. Not only does work study provide structure and takes up free time for a college student, it also builds motivation. The act of working in a college library or College cafeteria further confirms the student’s commitment towards their study.

There are many variables to consider when enrolling your child in a residential therapeutic program. Ultimately, there is no ideal time and generally families are in a state of crisis when they are considering therapeutic residential options. If you would like to discuss the therapeutic process and the value of different types of therapy programs including residential treatment, wilderness therapy, working ranch, or therapeutic boarding school options please give me a call. I have been involved in residential treatment for teens since taking my first job at Charter Hospital in Asheville North Carolina back in 1989 and I'm certain I can help your family.



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