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Therapeutic Boarding Schools Vs Residential Treatment Centers

What is the Difference Between Residential Treatment and Therapeutic Boarding Schools?    

Therapeutic boarding schools and residential treatment centers are among the most popular struggling teen treatment options for parents in the United States to utilize. Both of these treatment options can be feasible options for parents who are desperately looking for therapeutic intervention for their out of control struggling teenage boy or girl. And, both treatment options address physical, emotional, behavioral, familial, social and academic (and sometimes vocational) restorative development. In fact, these two treatment options are so similar that many parents are confused as to how they differ from each other, if at all.

So what are the fundamental differences between residential treatment and therapeutic boarding schools? This question and more will be addressed in the following article.

You see, here at Elevations RTC, our one and only mission is to save the lives of struggling teens by any means necessary. Whether parents of struggling boys or girls seek out our services, the informative articles which we provide are specifically created to educate every worried, frustrated, helpless, albeit loving mom and dad during their most desperate time of need, clients of ours or not.


Elevations RTC is a leading Therapeutic Boarding School assisting struggling teens in their struggles with substance use and addiction, learning disorders, and a variety of mental, emotional, or behavioral health issues. Our residential treatment facility is focused on providing comprehensive recovery for all at-risk teens, which includes not just clinical care, but also the academic development that is so vital during an adolescent’s growing years. We help teens from all across the Country.



Residential Vs. Therapeutic Boarding School Treatment

As we’ve already discussed, there are many similarities shared between both treatment options. In addition to the commonalities we’ve already covered, both types of treatment programs also offer 24/7 lodging and recreational services such as outdoor activities (hiking, swimming, biking, going to the park, etc.). However, as similar as residential treatment and therapeutic boarding school treatment may be, they also differ in several fundamental ways.

Among these differences is each treatment facility’s primary focus. While both treatment options offer some form of educational services, therapeutic boarding schools, not unlike traditional boarding schools, emphasize academic development and performance. This added focus to scholastics requires enrolled students to stay at least the length of an entire school year – typically 9-12 months.

Also, due to the fact that therapeutic boarding schools are exactly what their namesake suggests, a school, these facilities are typically larger than that of residential treatment centers and generally house a larger number of teenage residents.

As for residential treatment centers, generally speaking, these facility’s primary focus is to provide extensive therapeutic services to struggling teens. In other words, a residential treatment center’s priority and function is to emotionally, mentally, physically (and in some religious programs, spiritually)  heal struggling teenage teens of all genders who are desperately in need of psychiatric restoration.  


Parents of at-risk adolescent teens of all genders from Alabama who notice their teens are exhibiting harmful and dangerous behaviors are encouraged to contact a mental health professional. Consultants from Elevations RTC are available to direct and coach parents of adolescent teens of all genders through the process of finding a therapeutic boarding school. Contact one of our licensed admissions specialists at to get professional assistance for your struggling teen today!



The Pros and Cons of Residential and Therapeutic Boarding School Treatments

As the case with most things in life, both treatment options come with their own set of pros and cons – it all just depends on the specificities and severity of a particular child’s behavioral, emotional, and psychiatric issues.

For example, most struggling teens in need of restorative treatment are most effectively treated at a therapeutic boarding school. Teens such as these are typically emotionally and psychologically suffering; no question. However, these types of struggling teenagers are mostly in need of disciplinary structure, as well as routine therapy sessions to work on their behavioral, emotional, and psychological issues.

On the other hand, teens who are severely emotionally and mentally damaged require more extensive treatments in order to successfully achieve personal restoration. These types of struggling teens also require more one-on-one, group, and family therapy sessions on a near daily basis in order to be fully cured of their psychological and behavioral maladies.

While therapeutic boarding schools are able to serve the majority of struggling adolescents, other teens who require more intensive therapy may not be able to receive the appropriate amount of psychiatric treatment if placed in one of these programs. Contrariwise, academically struggling teens who are placed in a residential treatment center may not receive the necessary educational services which they require, and therefore, may not meet the academic standards they otherwise would have met if placed in a therapeutic boarding school.


Choosing The Most Effective Troubled Teen Treatment Option

Most struggling teens, regardless of their personal issues, can be suitably treated at one of these two treatment options. Being that most programs for struggling teens are classified as either a residential treatment center or a therapeutic boarding school, it is crucial for parents to do a behavioral, educational, and mental audit of their child’s specific problems before finalizing their decision.

Obviously, if a struggling teen suffers from mild (or easily treated) psychological and personality disorders, such as mild depression, ADHD, etc., but is also in desperate need of drastically changing their habits, and academic behaviors, then a therapeutic boarding school is most likely the most appropriate choice.

For many parents, deciding between the two of these residential treatment centers is a problematic choice to make. Namely, there are many teens who require both intensive treatment and educational developmental services that are typically only offered at one treatment facility or the other, making it nearly impossible for their child to truly reach the full potential of their personal restoration.

However, what if someone were to tell these rightfully undecided parents that they didn’t need to make a compromise in terms of their child’s treatment?

What if these parents knew they could choose a program that provides the best of both worlds, so to speak?

But more specifically, what if we were to tell these parents that there are, in fact, highly specialized and widely sought after services, that while not as widespread as other competing programs (due to the near-exclusivity and extraordinarily dynamic services which they are uniquely able to provide), are equipped to therapeutically, behaviorally, familially, and educationally serve any type of struggling teenage boy or girl suffering from any personality, academic, or mental disorder?

… Believe it or not, parents, such a type of program exists.


Elevations RTC recognized that the dynamics of addiction, learning disabilities, and mental health issues naturally lend themselves to the presence of co-occurring disorders – many of which result in academic underachievement. That’s why when considering which type of residential treatment center for a parent to place their struggling teens, it’s important to note that multiple studies have shown that social and emotional learning is directly correlated to academic achievement in adolescents. This makes a strong argument for coupling academics with social and emotional learning, as they all work together to accomplish success not only in basic life tasks but also within the complicated confines of an adolescent’s growth and development.




Unlike many programs for struggling teens, Elevations RTC provides a traditional school environment within residential treatment. This allows for a smoother transition back home into normal life. With licensed teachers, a separate school building, and all gender classes, Elevations offers each student an academic setting inside a residential treatment center.


Residential Therapeutic Boarding Schools (AKA The Best of Both Worlds)

Residential therapeutic boarding schools are the perfect solution for any parent of any struggling adolescent. These alternative and highly comprehensive facilities provide a more focused clinical therapy with the potential to treat more struggling teenage issues than any other competing styles of behavioral/psychiatric treatment.

Residential Therapeutic Boarding Schools Provide Treatments For (but not limited to) The Following Disorders and Issues:

  • Substance use and addiction
  • Learning disorders
  • ADHD
  • Bipolar (both type l and ll)
  • Mild to severe depression
  • Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Low self-esteem
  • Anger management related issues
  • Immaturity
  • Lack of motivation
  • Issues with authority (disrespect, disdain, resentment etc.)
  • Mild to major issues relating to academic performance
  • Eating disorders

Elevations RTC Happens to Be a Top-tier Residential Therapeutic Boarding School

Lastly, I would like to address the reader. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “of course Elevations RTC would suggest to parents that their specific type of program is a better choice than other types of narrowly focused programs, such as residential treatment and therapeutic boarding schools.”

However, let us assure you that, while we stand by the notion that our therapeutic system is superior to other, more singularly focused facilities, our reputation and success rate of restoring the lives of struggling teens speak for themselves.

While we are proud of our treatment method’s and highly trained clinical staff’s superior ability to save the lives of teens, we understand that we cannot serve every parent in need of help. All we can do is offer our services to every mom and dad who our site reaches – whether that means providing information about how we can assist your child, simply providing an informative article to further educate parents of at-risk children: We are here to serve you.

If you are the parent of a struggling teen and you need immediate assistance in restoring the life of your struggling child, please call us today . If after calling you aren’t sure that we are the perfect match for your child’s specific issues, we will point you in the direction of a place that is.



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The Elevations Team