Boot Camp for Teens
When a family has a situation with a child, where he/she is struggling at school or at home or both and begins the exercise to find a therapeutic placement, their thoughts may first go to a boot camp for teens. There has been a plethora of media coverage on lots of therapeutic interventions and the one that appears to be the most controversial is the boot camp for teens. Years ago, when the therapeutic placement field was relatively new, the concept of a boot camp for teens became the first line of defense. Over the years, boot camps for teens began to initiate some punitive measures that resulted in very negative outcomes. These boot camps for teens were not staffed with trained clinicians and they often resorted to primitive methods to try to convince kids to behave. If you scare a child enough you can get compliance pretty quickly and many times these boot camps for teens resorted to just that. Unfortunately, none of the scare tactics resulted in an real change and kids quickly reverted back to their previous inappropriate behaviors.
I can say without any hesitation, that I do not use boot camps for teens or any other punitive approach in a therapeutic program. I travel about a third of my time, visiting programs and evaluating them and if there is even the hint of inappropriate behavior, I refuse to use the program.
The field of therapeutic placements has exploded in the past few years and unfortunately, there are still some people who are looking more at their bottom line than at your child. My job is to ferret out and use programs that I feel will give your child a life line, not a life sentence. The family with a struggling student is often at the mercy of a program which presents themselves as the answer and I am here to tell you that there is no perfect program. Placing a child in a therapeutic program may be just what is indicated, but make sure that you are comfortable with that decision; do not let a program dictate to you what needs to be done. My job is that of a Sherpa; I guide you when and if you decide this is the route that you want to take. It is not my job to convince you to place your child, only you can make that all important decision.