Substance Abuse Boarding Schools

Substance abuse boarding schools of short duration can help turn things around for a girl with a substance abuse problem. Once the substance abuse issue is dealt with, military school for girls may be an option for the troubled teen.

Military Academy Standards

Military schools are a form of college preparatory school, with an emphasis on academic performance and leadership potential. For these reasons, a student with serious academic or personal issues is not considered an ideal candidate. For girls with military school potential, but an existing substance abuse program, a short-term program in a therapeutic school or program may help turn things around and help her get into the military academy of her dreams.

Types of Substance Abuse Boarding Schools

Substance abuse boarding schools can be categorized several ways.  First, there are single gender programs for boys and girls separated, as well as coeducational programs. There are programs in which young people up to age 17 are in a separate group from those aged 18 and older, and other programs that treat girls as young as 7 up to 19 together. The size of the groups in therapeutic programs varies, as do the length of stay.

These boarding schools also differ by their approach and program philosophy. You can find these types:

  • Residential Treatment Centers
  • Wilderness programs
  • Outdoor Therapeutic Programs
  • Therapeutic Boarding Schools

Residential treatment facilities are the most medically oriented of the four program types. They treat young people with serious issues and often have medical staff. Their main focus is to provide treatment. Therapeutic boarding schools combine a program for dealing with issues with an education program.

Outdoor therapeutic programs use therapeutic models beyond the ones like interpersonal therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy in which primarily sitting and talking take place. Whether these programs are more general outdoor programs or specifically wilderness programs, they generally have some specific features:

  • using a task-based program to promote self-esteem based on self-sufficiency and accomplishment
  • using the natural consequences of outdoor living as part of the incentive for change
  • using the demands of survival and the fact of a group to encourage social behaviors that benefit the situation

There is some crossover between outdoor therapeutic programs and wilderness programs. Outdoor experiences may include ranching, farming, equine therapy involving animal care, carpentry, landscaping, horsemanship. Wilderness experiences may include camping, backpacking, and ropes courses. In both settings, students may prepare their own food.

Any of these programs may operate with a specific philosophical base, such as Christian, 12-Step, Positive Peer Culture, Art Therapy, Choice Theory, Reality Therapy, or others. They are likely to have opportunities for exercise, and some may provide opportunities for worship.

Choosing Substance Abuse Boarding Schools

Choice of schools should rest on reliable recommendations, proper licensing and accreditation, record of success, and appropriateness of the match for your daughter. Besides your pediatrician and school guidance counselor, the National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs is a good place to begin looking. Try their search here:

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