teen with a therapist

What Should I Look For in My Child’s Treatment Center?

As a parent of a child experiencing mental health distress, it can be overwhelming trying to navigate a treatment center that will fit your child’s needs. Every treatment center has unique benefits to offer and a variety of different treatment therapy options within each center. Even treatment programs that share similar goals will measure success differently. 

When choosing a treatment center for your child, there are many factors to consider, such as:

  • The severity of the mental health condition
    • Does your teen need immediate crisis intervention?
  • The intensity of treatment necessary for your teen
    • Does your teen need an inpatient (residential) program or engage in treatment while remaining at home?
  • Goals intended for the treatment
    • Does your teen need assistance with managing emotions, mental discomfort, behavior, or a combination of factors?

Differences in Treatment Approaches

Mental health centers can differ in the way each center approaches treatment. While some treatment centers focus on traditional therapy techniques like psychotherapy, holistic treatment options focus on alternative medicine such as chiropractic care and mindfulness techniques. Some centers favor individualized treatment plans, while others may rely on one specific approach to recovery. Youth mental health centers tend to include educational opportunities so that your teen learns how to understand their mental functioning and their role in the world around them. Most treatment centers use a combination of approaches, such as education, mindfulness, and individualized therapy, to ensure that your teen will experience success while being a client. 

The Benefits of Each Treatment Option

The biggest thing to consider when choosing a treatment center for your child is the severity of their mental health condition. A physician will help you understand the level of severity with your teen, which will help you identify what level of treatment they will initially need. These options include inpatient (residential), hospital inpatient, and outpatient treatment. Inpatient treatment involves your teenager residing at a treatment center for a certain duration of time, engaging in intense treatment. Hospital inpatient is a form of crisis intervention. Teens may need hospital inpatient treatment in response to suicidal attempts or severe ideation, self-destructive behavior, or substance use problems. Outpatient treatment allows teens to continue engaging in their daily tasks, such as work or school, while attending treatment during the evening hours. 

Each treatment program offers a variety of treatment options to consider as well. Based on target treatment goals, different behavioral, cognitive, skills, and social therapies will help your teen improve their overall well-being. For example, one option is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT works to identify unrealistic or negative thought patterns in your teen. A mental health professional will work with your teen to replace irrational or distressing thoughts with healthier ones. They will also modify your teen’s behavior in the process—both inpatient and outpatient treatment centers offer CBT. CBT is just one of the many therapy options to consider when searching for a treatment center for your child. 

Other things to consider are the alternative therapy options that a treatment center may offer. For example, treatment centers may offer adventure therapy, art therapy, or other holistic options such as acupuncture or breathwork. Therapy options like this set certain treatment centers apart from one another and help engage clients in finding joy and contentment while experiencing treatment.

Key Questions for Parents

If you are a parent or caregiver trying to find a treatment center that will benefit your teen, there are many questions that you can ask yourself in the process. These questions will help you narrow your search for a treatment center that will not only fit your child’s specific needs but will also help you know what to expect from treatment as a parent. Before narrowing your search, consider these questions

  • What symptoms or diagnosis is my teen experiencing?
  • How are these symptoms affecting my teen’s life?
  • Do I want my child to go somewhere far for treatment or stay close to home? What are the benefits and consequences of both?
  • What activities am I looking for in a treatment center to get my teenager on board with receiving treatment?
  • What is my teenager (and myself) looking to get out of treatment?
  • Has my teenager experienced treatment before?
  • How engaged do I want to be as a parent with my teen’s treatment?

Once you find answers to the questions listed above, you can start researching treatment centers. Be sure to look for centers specializing in teens or youth, as many treatment centers are age-specific. Reading reviews of people who have experienced treatment from centers may also help you find a center that works for your child’s needs. Be patient with yourself and know that these decisions can take time. 

It is common for teenagers to experience mental health distress as they try to navigate the vast world around them. If your teen begins to experience symptoms that negatively affect their quality of life or daily functioning, it may be time to locate treatment for them. Finding a treatment center can be overwhelming, as there are numerous treatment programs and therapy options available. Consider your teen’s severity of symptoms, diagnosis, and target goals for treatment. It is essential that you consider the benefits of each program or therapy to choose a treatment center that will fit your teen’s individual needs. Fire Mountain Residential Treatment Center works with teens that need guidance with their mental health. We combine traditional therapy methods with innovative techniques to help transform your teen into a confident and responsible young adult. For more information about the treatment options we offer, give us a call today at (303) 443-3343