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Choosing Treatment for Your Troubled Teen

Helping Parents Navigate the Overwhelming Options of Teen Treatment.

First, you probably never imagined you would need to seek treatment for your troubled teen. But you are here, facing that reality. Now you are being told that YOU must decide as to what treatment path to take for your teenager. Like most parents or guardians, you might have assumed that a professional would lay out the path for you.

If you find yourself in this situation, it means that your teen’s counselors or therapists are at least being transparent with you in explaining that there are various avenues you can explore. In the past, too many parents and teens were not given a choice, and too many discovered later that a different approach to treatment might have been more beneficial for their situation.

The fact that there are so many different treatment options is a positive sign; it reflects progress being made in the field of adolescent therapy and behavioral health. With increasing recognition of the complexities of teen behavioral issues, there has been pressure on mental health professionals and researchers to develop more effective and empathetic treatment strategies.

Essential tips to Help You Decide Among the Many Teen Treatment Options:

  1. Be aware of professional bias. Understand that whichever treatment facility is chosen, will likely focus on the treatment their staff specializes in. Some may focus on talk therapy, while others might recommend group and adventure activities. In simplistic terms, you are “shopping” for treatment, much like you would for a new service. The most direct way to learn about a particular program is to visit that facility or interact with its staff. An indirect way is to talk to other parents or guardians whose teens have gone through the program you are considering. You can’t expect a counselor from one program to highlight the benefits of another. You must go to the source—and the same is true for teen treatment options. The wise course of action is to seek opinions from professionals across different areas of expertise who can custom-tailor a program specifically for your teenager.
  2. Don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions. Be polite but assertive with the counselors and therapists. You have every right to know the answers and to expect a standard of care that satisfies you. Express your concerns openly. Ask about the professional’s experience—how long have they worked with troubled teens? How many teens have they successfully helped? What are the success rates of their approach? How do they define “success?” What are the common challenges, and how frequently do their clients face these issues?
  3. Communicate, communicate, communicate. Request from the program that you are considering for your teen’s treatment to provide references from other families they have helped. Privacy regulations prevent the sharing of other clients’ details without their consent, but many successful practices have families who are willing and eager to share their experiences. If they hesitate to provide references, citing privacy laws, take it as a potential red flag.
  4. Network. There are many nationwide support groups for families with troubled teens. Organizations such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) offer resources and local chapters. Contact your local office and inquire about groups in your area. By attending local support group meetings, you can learn about the reputations of different treatment programs and hear firsthand accounts from other parents. If they are attending these meetings, they are typically open to discussing their experiences.
  5. Research. If you’re tech-savvy, utilize the internet for information. If not, the library can be a great resource. There’s a wealth of information available, which can sometimes be overwhelming when combined with the information you’re receiving from professionals. Remember to critically assess what you read in the media and online, as misconceptions and inaccuracies can spread easily. Ultimately, you will want to trust an experienced program that can demonstrate its effectiveness with tangible results. You and your teen deserve nothing less.


Before making any decisions about treatment for your teenager, carefully evaluate each treatment options potential for success and the risk of any negative impacts on your teen’s well-being. Considering your teen’s specific needs, their overall health, and the nature of their issues, you’ll want to find a balance between the efficacy of the treatment and its potential effects on their long-term development. Regardless of the treatment program you choose, maintaining a positive outlook and being informed at each step are crucial to navigating this challenge. 

Stillwater Academy is great for troubled teens because we have a caring and experienced staff who create personalized treatment plans. We gathered an “A-Team” comprised of dedicated and caring therapists, doctors, and mentors from around the country. We offer a therapy-immersed environment, therapeutic tools, support, reinforcement, and time to practice new behaviors. We focus on open communication and offer various therapies including equine, adventure activities, and group sessions to help teens grow emotionally, behaviorally, and academically. Stillwater provides a supportive environment where teens can build self-confidence and learn important life skills. With our family style approach and commitment to positive outcomes, Stillwater Academy offers real help and support for both teens and their families.

Take the first step toward a brighter future for your troubled teen and your family. Reach out to Stillwater Academy today and discover the personalized support and guidance your teenager needs to thrive.

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(385) 352-3371

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Choosing Treatment for Your Troubled Teen

Helping parents navigate the overwhelming options of teen treatment, we offer a family environment for teens to find success in life.

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