How to choose the Right Residential Program for Your Child

As a parent, witnessing your child struggle with emotional or behavioral challenges can be an incredibly challenging experience. When traditional interventions prove insufficient, residential treatment programs can offer a more intensive and structured environment for healing and growth. However, selecting the right residential treatment program for your child is a crucial decision that requires careful consideration. There are key factors to help guide you through the process of choosing a residential treatment program that aligns with your child’s unique needs.

1. Assessing Your Child’s Needs:

Before delving into the world of residential treatment programs, take the time to thoroughly assess your child’s needs. Consider their specific challenges, whether they are related to mental health, substance abuse, or behavioral issues. Identifying the root causes and underlying issues will guide you in finding a program that specializes in addressing those concerns.

2. Researching Treatment Approaches:

Residential treatment programs vary in their therapeutic approaches, and it’s essential to find one that aligns with your child’s preferences and needs. Research different therapeutic modalities such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and experiential therapies, such as the Adventure Therapy we offer at Summit Achievement through short, weekend expeditions. Understanding the methods used by each program will help you make an informed decision.

3. Accreditation and Licensing:

Ensure that the residential treatment program you are considering is accredited and licensed by relevant authorities. This guarantees that the facility meets specific standards of care and adheres to ethical guidelines. Accreditation also indicates that the staff are trained professionals, further ensuring the quality of care your child will receive. Our two programs: Summit Achievement and Summit Traverse are fully licensed by both state authorities and national associations, such as NATSAP, NEASC, AEE, and more! 

4. Staff Qualifications and Training:

The effectiveness of a residential treatment program often depends on the expertise and dedication of its staff. Look for programs with well-qualified, licensed, and experienced professionals, including therapists, counselors, and medical staff. Additionally, inquire about staff training programs and ongoing professional development to ensure they stay updated with the latest therapeutic practices. At Summit, we are committed to ongoing professional development for our staff at all levels of our organization, ensuring the utmost quality of care in both our Achievement and Traverse programs. 

5. Family Involvement and Support:

The involvement of the family in the treatment process is crucial for a successful outcome. Choose a program that emphasizes family therapy and provides opportunities for parents and guardians to actively participate in their child’s recovery. Support for families can also extend beyond the residential phase, helping ease the transition back home.

We are incredibly proud of our family program here at Summit. We offer weekly family therapy, individualized parent coaching, in-person visits, home visits (in Traverse) and additional resources such as parent support groups and psychoeducational webinars. We strive to help each family learn how to support their teen with anxiety, depression, and other mental health challenges.

6. Duration and Structure of the Program:

Consider the duration and structure of the residential treatment program. Some programs may be short-term, focusing on crisis intervention, while others offer longer-term solutions for more complex issues. Assess the daily schedule, therapeutic activities, and level of supervision to ensure they align with your child’s needs and your family’s preferences.

7. Safety and Environment:

The safety and well-being of your child should be a top priority. Investigate the safety measures in place, including security protocols, staff-to-resident ratios, and emergency procedures. Additionally, consider the physical environment – a welcoming and nurturing space can contribute significantly to a positive healing experience.

Choosing a residential treatment program for your child is a significant decision that requires thoughtful consideration. By assessing your child’s needs, researching treatment approaches, ensuring accreditation, evaluating staff qualifications, emphasizing family involvement, and considering program structure and safety, you can make an informed choice. Remember that each child is unique, and finding the right fit may take time, but the investment in their well-being is invaluable. 

Summit is a premier residential mental health program for teens in New England. We offer a continuum including Achievement and Traverse (our short term therapeutic boarding school). For more information about our programs, contact Admissions today!