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When A Therapy Camp Experience is Not Enough

Disclaimer: Before making any treatment decision, please consult your primary healthcare physician, psychologist, or a qualified educational consultant.  The purpose of this directory is to list available options, not to serve as a source of decision making for any family.

Sometimes a therapeutic summer camp is just not enough. Parents that have tried a short term intervention with little to no success should consider a Residential Treatment Center or Therapeutic Boarding School.

Wilderness Therapy programs can be useful as well, although the outdoor experience can overlap what the child already experienced at a therapeutic summer camp. Generally, the level of clinical sophistication will be higher at a Wilderness program, and the level of pathology will be higher as well in the general milieu.

Most Wilderness Therapy programs follow a nomadic model. Participants must rely on each other to meet their basic needs traveling from one location to another.

Why Wilderness can be effective especially for defiant teens is that the entire community is effected by one individual’s actions. It is truly easier to influence a 16-year-old’s defiance with other 16-year-olds versus typical authority figures.

Residential Treatment Centers or RTC’s offer a higher level of medical intervention than therapeutic summer camps. Generally a multidisciplinary treatment team is used to address the teen’s issues from multiple prospectives. The team typically includes a physician (psychiatrist), a psychologist, social workers working with the family at home will also be involved, along with art therapists, activity therapists, and so on.

Therapeutic boarding schools (TBS’s) are typically utilized after a stabilization period which can be done at a Wilderness therapy program, a psychiatric hospital, RTC, or qualified therapeutic summer camp.
At a TBS, the focus is generally 50% academics and 50% therapy and corrective experiences. Like a therapy summer camp, relationships can be reset over a longer period of time, such as a school year.

At the RSCD, we recommend Elevations Residential Treatment Center, ViewPoint Center, La Europa, Solstice RTC and Solstice RTC East, along with Equinox RTC as our go-to RTC programs.

If you apply please reference “Therapeutic Summer Camps Directory” in the BestNotes application and ask for Francis V., Christi B., or Charlie F. and you will be guided to the best RTC available.