Types of Programs for Troubled Teens

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So your teenager has been acting out lately, and you’re at your wit’s end. Their grades are slipping, they’re staying out late, and you have a sneaking suspicion that drugs or alcohol may be involved. As a parent, you want to get them help right away before their behavior spirals even further out of control

The good news is there are programs designed specifically for troubled teens that can help get them back on track. Whether your teen needs intensive residential treatment, specialized counseling, or an outdoor adventure to build character, there are many options to choose from. 

Wilderness therapy is a great options for struggling teens

Wilderness Therapy Programs for Troubled Teens

Wilderness therapy programs take troubled teens out of their usual environment and place them in nature. These programs vary in length but typically last 8-12 weeks. The goal is to facilitate treatment and personal growth through challenging outdoor activities. These programs focus on:

  • Gaining self-confidence and awareness through accomplishing challenging activities in a natural setting.
  • Learning better communication and social skills by working with therapists and peers 24 hours a day.
  • Developing problem-solving skills to work through emotional and behavioral issues. The wilderness environment provides opportunities for breakthroughs and insights not possible in traditional therapy.
  • Learning responsibility and accountability for actions by experiencing natural consequences. For example, not setting up a shelter properly could lead to being cold or wet.
  • Building trust and bonding with therapists and peers through shared experiences. This can motivate change in a way that office-based therapy may not.

Wilderness programs are ideal for teens struggling with behavioral problems, substance abuse issues, and poor social skills. They may not suit those with serious mental health conditions or a history of trauma.

Residential Treatment Centers for Troubled Teens

Residential treatment centers provide 24-hour care and supervision for troubled teenagers. The main focus is on clinical therapy and counseling to address psychological and behavioral issues. This option is best suited for teens grappling with severe problems like drug addiction, alcohol abuse, or mental health disorders.

Round-the-clock care in a structured setting away from negative influences allows teens to concentrate on healing and developing new coping strategies. Licensed professionals oversee treatment plans, which typically include individual and group therapy, life skills training, and family counseling. 

Group therapy for teens

Therapeutic Boarding Schools for Troubled Teens

Therapeutic boarding schools are residential programs tailored to troubled teens with psychological or behavioral issues. These schools focus on character development and addressing underlying issues through counseling and therapy.

Each student receives an individualized treatment plan to meet their unique needs. Small class sizes, around 6 to 12 students, allow for personalized attention. The program length varies but typically lasts 6 to 18 months. Some key components include:

  • Individual, group, and family counseling
  • Behavior modification and life skills training
  • Recreational activities and outdoor experiential education
  • Accredited academic curriculum and college prep
  • Nutrition, health, and wellness education

The goal is to provide teens struggling with issues like depression, trauma, substance abuse, or other disorders a supportive environment to learn strategies for success and develop their full potential.

Boot Camps for Troubled Teens

Boot camps provide a highly structured environment for troubled teens. These short-term programs, typically 6 to 8 weeks, involve a rigid daily routine, including physical training and education. The focus is on learning discipline, respect for authority, and self-confidence.

Boot camps may be suitable for teens struggling with criminal behavior or lacking motivation. However, they are not ideal for those dealing with depression, anxiety, substance abuse issues, or self-harm, as little to no therapy is offered.

Days start early, around 5 or 6 am, and involve intense physical activity like running, obstacle courses, and team-building exercises. Strict rules govern all aspects of the teens’ day, including hygiene, chores, and schoolwork.

Outpatient Counseling Programs for Troubled Teens

Outpatient counseling programs provide troubled teens with treatment and care for a portion of the day. Teens return home in the evenings and on weekends. 

Outpatient treatment allows teens to practice new skills at home while still receiving professional support. There are a few types of outpatient programs for troubled teens:

  • Individual Counseling – Teens meet one-on-one with a licensed therapist. Sessions typically last 45-60 minutes, 1-3 times per week.
  • Group Counseling – Teens meet with a therapist and peers struggling with similar issues. Groups discuss challenges, provide support, and help develop new coping strategies.
  • Family Counseling – Teens, parents, and siblings meet with a family therapist. The focus is on improving communication, setting healthy boundaries, and rebuilding trust within the family system.
  • Day Treatment – Provides 6-8 hours of programming 3-5 days a week. Includes schoolwork, group therapy, life skills training, and recreational activities. Teens return home on evenings and weekends. More comprehensive than once-weekly counseling.

Finding The Right Care For Your Teen Is The First Step To Setting Them Up For Success

When your teen is struggling, finding them proper care and support is critical. At Launch Centers, we understand the challenges families face in this situation and are here to help guide you to the right program for your teen’s needs.

When parents are in the middle of trying to make this difficult decision, it can feel overwhelming. At Launch Centers, our goal is to provide support for teens with mental health and substance abuse problems. We are here to answer your questions, discuss options, and find the care that will set your teen up for success. Call us today at (877) 895-3231.

About Our Founder

Jose Hernandez, for over a decade, has been involved in alcohol and addiction recovery helping people succeed in overcoming substance abuse and regaining control of their lives. He has experience in all aspects of the recovery world, from facilitating entry into treatment as an intervention specialist to counseling and case management at rehabilitation facilities. Jose has worked one-on-one with individuals as a sober companion and with groups as a resident counselor at addiction treatment centers and is certified by the California Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (CAADAC) to practice as a substance abuse counselor.

Through his professional experiences in crisis intervention, drug and alcohol detoxification, substance abuse counseling, and relapse prevention, Jose has developed a unique plan for case management that bridges the gap between a person’s painful past of substance abuse and a future of sobriety.

At Riviera Recovery, a sober living facility with multiple locations, clients continue their transition from the supportive environment of a treatment center to living well and happily in the “real” world. The program he designed at Riviera Recovery personalizes treatment plans that enable clients, including those with a single or dual-diagnosed mental health disorder, to embrace a satisfying life.

His greatest endeavor has been establishing LAUNCH, a Los Angeles-based life skills intensive outpatient program for young adults. LAUNCH works with recovering men and women to establish personal vocational and educational goals and develop the tools to successfully meet them. His mission is to ensure that no one stands alone in his or her recovery.

Meet Our Clinical Team

staff member drug alcohol treatment los angeles

Jess Beck, LCSW

Clinical Director

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Eric Chaghouri, MD


chloe kruskol los angeles rehab team

Chloe Kruskol, LCSW

Family Program Manager

Our Testimonials

Clients and Professionals Share Their Experience

  • HO

    Launch provided care on multiple levels. The highly skilled therapist coupled with the focus on purpose and long-term goals refocused my recovery from what previous treatment centers pushed onto me. I went from believing that I needed years of treatment to believing I needed years happiness and success. I began to focus on what I wanted to accomplish with my life. I came to realize all the things my addiction and mental illness had taken from me, and I used my future goals as a reason to never pick up again. Due to the passion that Launch instilled in me, I have pursued my future with excitement and dedication.

  • Nicole

    This place changed my life! I’ve had good laughs, good cries, shared a lot of heart to heart moments and grew a loving bond with everyone at Launch Centers. I will always be grateful!!! I really do miss it time to time. I highly recommend Launch Centers!

  • Joey

    The staff and clinicians are amazing and make you feel right at home from the second you walk in the door. I would absolutely recommend this place for a family member or close friend.

  • Ben

    This treatment facility has changed my life. I have always struggled with my mental health and this young adult program provided me with the necessary skills to launch to adulthood. I commend anyone who struggles with mental health or substance use (which was not me) to try this program out. It will change your life.

  • Conner

    Launch Centers Treatment was a major help to me. The therapists and staff genuinely cared about me and truly helped me to make a plan for my future. My personal therapists helped me to discover where some of my deeper issues came from. All of the staff worked tirelessly with me to talk through my issues, or just about life, and offered realistic solutions to my current problems and situation. All of the staff went above and beyond and advocated relentlessly for me. I am very grateful that I was able to have such a wonderful experience with Launch.

  • Adam

    In no uncertain terms Launch Centers changed my life. The staff at Launch are professional, knowledgable and relatable. They keep the format diverse and interesting which kept me engaged in the process. The greatest thing we can do in life is seek to improve ourselves. Launch gave me a skill set I consider to be invaluable in the journey of becoming the best version of myself. I would implore anybody considering Launch to step outside their comfort zone and go, you will not regret it.


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