Five Reasons Why RTCs Are Better Than Boot Camps For Teens

Boot camps for teens are popular–but they shouldn’t be. Boot camps use harsh methods to elicit temporary, fearful compliance from struggling teens, essentially worsening the issues teens are sent to the camp to fix. Boot camps for teens are founded on outdated values and tactics instead of current and cutting-edge research. This is why residential treatment centers (RTCs) are a better treatment option for struggling teenagers and their families.

Reasons why RTCs beat boot camps for teens

  • Individualized Treatment. In boot camps for teens, every individual is given basically the same aggressive, disciplinary treatment. This is an antiquated, outdated method of discipline that usually results in no progress. Why? Because everyone is different. What works for one teen may not work for another. Hard, uniform, non-therapeutic treatment isn’t helpful for actual behavioral, emotional, and mental issues in teenagers–they need individualized treatment by professionals that understand what they’re going through. Being beat down into submission won’t fix your child’s issues, but specialized meaningful therapy in an RTC will help your child work through these issues.
  • Therapeutic Environment. Boot camps for teens rarely–if ever–utilize actual therapy in their programs. In an RTC, therapy is woven into the very fabric of the programming. They understand that to truly make a difference, these teens need to be fully immersed in a therapeutic environment.
  • Evidence-based Methods. Boot camps for teens haven’t really evolved with the times–that’s because they don’t utilize actual research-based methods in their programming. Boot camps for teens usually use the same methods that were used when they first arose in the 1980s: militaristic, brutal, and designed to instill fear in teens until they temporarily submit. Boot camps continue to be criticized because of their lack of results and the trauma they inflict upon young minds. In an RTC, only evidence-based behavior changing techniques are used–and they are chosen specifically for long-term positive results.
  • Including the Whole Family. When a child is sent to a boot camp, they have minimal contact or interaction with family members–this teaches a teen that they’re the complete and utter root of the issue, when usually the whole family needs to evolve for real change. RTCs understand that a teen has more difficulty progressing without the support of their family behind them, that’s why they’re often included in the therapeutic process.
  • Teaches Life Skills. At boot camps for teens, adolescents learn that making a mistake is disastrous, that they’re the problem, that they’re broken–this can be extremely traumatizing. Oftentimes, teenagers go into boot camps with issues and come back with even more. RTCs focus on not just treating the issues teens face, but also teaching them skills that they can use for the rest of their lives, like coping skills, relationship-building, emotional control, and more.

Elevations RTC can help your family

Elevations RTC offers residential treatment for teens, ages 13 to 18, grappling with anxiety, depression, ADHD, and other emotional or behavioral issues. At Elevations, we use a combination of a focused therapeutic lens, real-world environment, secure setting, and caring staff to foster growth and success in our students. We strive to help our struggling students move towards a brighter future.

For more information about how Elevations RTC can help your child, please call .

Elevations Quick Facts

Leading RTC Accreditations


Ages 13 – 18

Comprehensive Medical / Psych

Community-based Approach

Fun, Experiential

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Real-World Setting

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