Therapeutic Boarding

Why Choose a Therapeutic Boarding School?

Since time immemorial, children have struggled with puberty. The teenage years can be summarized with a single word: change. Physical change, emotional change, new responsibilities, and new outlooks come crashing down on a child that not that long ago was entirely dependent on the parents. An adolescent may begin to test boundaries or act out – and, to a certain degree, this is a natural process.Asheville Academy, North Carolina, August 29, 2016.

By pushing the limits and exploring new things, a child begins to form their individuality. Difficult as it can be for parents to watch, children make mistakes and (hopefully) come out stronger for them. In some cases, however, a child will stray off a healthy path.

Ranging from substance experimentation to mental illness, there are many reasons a child could become distant or closed off. For a parent, it may seem as if their son or daughter has been replaced by a complete stranger. As frightening as these moments can be, fortunately, choosing a therapeutic boarding school can help a struggling child return to a journey of success.

What is a Therapeutic Boarding School?

A therapeutic boarding school is a live-in program that allows struggling children to get better while continuing their academic pursuits. Unlike other residential programs, therapeutic boarding schools are designed specifically to assist children during longer-term stays.

The key difference that makes this approach unique is the fact that at a therapeutic boarding school, there is a smooth transition between the healing environment and the outside world. That is to say, a therapeutic boarding school provides children with all the resources and knowledge they need to succeed – including top-notch college preparation that can help students be equipped to apply to the universities of their dreams.

The combination of healing and education in a therapeutic boarding school grants numerous benefits. Arguably, the most prominent of these benefits is the lack of a jarring shift from book lessons to life lessons. Oftentimes, therapy relies on suppressing the symptoms of a child’s issue and subsequently sends the child back into an unhealthy environment; at a therapeutic boarding school, however, a child’s schooling and living environment always complement each other in positive ways.

Trails Academy, North Carolina, August 28, 2016.For example, lessons in working together as a group (as part of therapy) can be applied to encourage each other to perform better academically; lessons from history, on the other hand, can be used to show ways real people have overcome their issues. These comparisons and combinations are endless.

Small class sizes help every student get the attention they require. A teacher’s attention never has to be divided – meaning that a student never has to go without help. Having such tight-knit groups is also crucial in building a community. Working together as one builds strong bonds that last a lifetime. A therapeutic boarding school is more than simply a therapy program or simply a boarding school – it is a way of life.

At a therapeutic boarding school, the focus is on positive reinforcement. Since every child and every struggle is different, it is only logical that the treatment and therapeutic approach is individualized. Unlike many traditional approaches, a therapeutic boarding school focuses on a child’s strengths and passions. Rather than defining a child by their problems, a therapeutic boarding school believes in building on what makes the child great.

Ultimately, every journey to adulthood is different. With the help of a therapeutic boarding school, a child can make the process occur in a healthy and positive manner. Highly-trained, caring, and respectful staff with years of experience treat children not as “patients”, but as family. By truly listening to every child, the
professionals of a therapeutic boarding school can help make the experience educational, enjoyable, and truly therapeutic.

Finding a Therapeutic Boarding School

While the core values of any therapeutic boarding school are fundamentally similar, there is a certain degree of variation when it comes to choosing the one that best suits a particular child. For instance, the student profiles
of many therapeutic boarding schools can vary – some may be geared only towards boys or only girls. Other factors, such as age or the severity range of issues treated, can also depend on the particular therapeutic boarding school. Choosing one that best matches a child’s needs can make all the difference in a child making the most out of the therapeutic boarding school experience.

Typically, it should be noted, a therapeutic boarding school will accept students with an extremely wide range of issues, be it related to behavior, mental illness, substance use, or any other reason. There is no issue too small to be addressed by a therapeutic boarding school. Therapeutic boarding schools such as Asheville Academy for Girls can help a struggling child find academic and personal success.

Contemporary Articles

The success of therapeutic boarding schools has been well-documented in the media. One article, for example, mentions, “[i]t’s everything we could hope for our girl”. A therapeutic boarding school features frequent communication with parents, so that parents are always in the loop about their child’s progress – and are never too far away from their child. Since a therapeutic boarding school is largely focused on rebuilding relationships that can seem broken, the family is a large part of the healing process. By working together, a struggling child can once again find their place beside those who love them most.


Journal of Therapeutic Schools & Programs Ed. Ellen Behrens, Ph.D

A journal specifically dedicated to researching the field of residential treatment and therapeutic boarding schools outlines the progress in the area in recent years. While boarding schools in general are hardly a young field, the idea of combining therapy and boarding schools is still relatively new. The research, however, shows the effectiveness of the approach. With new methods being available to measure the success rate of the students who complete their education at a therapeutic boarding school, it is becoming clearer than ever that sending a child to a therapeutic boarding school is truly a therapeutic approach of the future.