By the time parents are referred to our office, the family is in crisis and has exhausted all local resources. Their child is often socializing with a negative peer group, failing in school, dishonest with authority figures, being defiant at home, and may be engaging in risky/illegal activities. These students frustrate the ability of schools, parents, and therapists to provide adequately for their needs. At times like these, the assistance of an experienced, understanding consultant can transform a deteriorating situation.
Peer influences, substance abuse, and the emotional turmoil experienced by these vulnerable young people can compromise their motivation and desire for success. Others may fail to secure the support they need to handle more serious emotional problems, learning disabilities, or psychiatric disturbances.
Fortunately, there are programs and schools dedicated to working with the unique needs of these students, many of whom have already obtained local help but failed to successfully resolve their academic and adjustment problems. In such instances, the student usually benefits from a full-time, specialized school or program that provides a structured environment and a caring professional staff trained to recognize and address the student’s needs.
In our Student-Centered Process, we look for what’s right with your child, identifying hidden strengths as well as special needs. Our comprehensive testing enables us to refine diagnoses and our skilled consultants offer insights that can open up new possibilities for growth.
The Price Group will help you find an effective program or treatment facility for:
- The student who has seen repeated failures
- The student battling with adoption and/or grief and loss issues
- The defiant student acting outside of the family’s boundaries
- The student whose behavioral and/or emotional problems must be addressed before academic needs can be fully met
- The student who is identifying with a negative peer group
- The struggling student with serious psychiatric illness, eating disorders, or psychoses
- The student battling with addiction
- The student battling with substance or sexual abuse
- The impulsive student caught up in the legal system
Residential Treatment Centers
The length of stay at an RTC is shorter than the stay at a TBS and insurance will often reimburse part of the cost because of the level of care. One should also expect there to be more individual and group therapy at an RTC than what is offered at a TBS. The therapeutic program is emphasized over the academic program because an RTC is more concerned about correcting the maladaptive behaviors interrupting a client’s life than their academic record.
Once the client is healthier, academics become more of a priority. TBS goes on the premise that education and therapy go hand-in-hand for healing to occur. An RTC feels the emotional and behavioral issues need to be addressed before worrying about a person’s education.
Diagnostic & Assessment Services
We often find adolescents who are at a loss about their life’s direction or college major. By assessing both a student’s Personality and Career Interests, we can make recommendations for appropriate career majors.
The Secondary School Aptitude Test (SSAT) is often required by the admissions department at competitive boarding schools. We administer the Flex Test in our office as a service to our students who may need a quiet individualized setting or may need to take the test at a more convenient time than the scheduled SSAT national dates.
When assessing a student’s needs, we find it is beneficial to conduct a School Observation and meet key staff member who work with the student. The classroom observation gives the consultant real time information on what the student is struggling with academically.
There are times when it appears that student’s issues are complex enough that a one day assessment is not sufficient to get a complete picture of the current issues. In this instance, we will refer a student to a Comprehensive Assessment Center. There are several of these centers throughout the nation and each specialize in different types of assessments.
Another reason we find wilderness therapy successful is because some young people do not respond to traditional talk therapy. Outdoor programs offer an active way for staff and students to relate to one another, so the emphasis is not solely on talk. In some programs, students are “in the field” for the entire experience and the therapeutic staff join them in the woods, typically for two days each week. However, in a “base camp” model, students trek for several days at a time but return to a base for a variety of activities – including weekly therapy sessions.
Outdoor programs place youth in unique settings where they are often quite unsure of themselves. Moving out of their familiar environment serves to reduce defensiveness and encourages changes in relationships with adult leaders. Most outdoor programs use a small-group format and encourage interdependence among group members. The 24/7 or ‘round the clock’ group experience is a very powerful teaching tool.
The interplay of therapy, group dynamics and the restorative power of nature creates major shifts in students’ outlook, perceptions and conduct. Removed from the distractions and temptations of home life, they are better able to explore the issues underlying negative behaviors. Because the group cannot function without everyone’s cooperation, students learn new pro-social behaviors like effective communication and problem-solving skills. Hiking to the summit of a trail in the dead of winter or getting a campfire going during a rainstorm helps develop self-esteem on an individual level and also offers students the opportunity to mentor other students – reinforcing their sense of accomplishment.
Therapeutic wilderness programs have an intense clinical focus. Every encounter, assignment, activity and experience a student has in the field has intention behind it. Intentionality gives students purpose for what they are doing and offers continual opportunities for growth. As students better understand the choices they have made in the past and the consequences of those choices, they begin to see how making better choices can change their future.
The wilderness experience is an invaluable tool for helping teens better understand themselves and for crafting an on-going treatment plan while continuing to work on academics so he/she can successfully move on with life. Often we find that this is a perfect time to get an up to date evaluation completed too.