Therapeutic Boarding Schools for Troubled Teens in San Mateo, CA - Are They Truly The Right Therapeutic Option for Teens from San Mateo, CA?

Therapeutic boarding schools, like any behavioral health restoration programs, can be quite effective in changing the lives of troubled teens. However, when it comes to providing the most dynamic therapeutic environment, traditional facilities like therapeutic boarding schools, or residential treatment programs, they are unfortunately at a disadvantage. 

Whether or not boarding schools have all the right psychiatric and academic amenities, one truth they will never have the capacity to overcome is the love of freedom every child inherently yearns for. In other words, children, who are prone to having trouble sitting in one place, let alone living in and remaining in one locked down facility for a year and a half at a time, are far more guarded and mistrusting of authority figures whom they often believe are their captures, rather than their ticket to a clean bill of mental health. It is for this reason that parents from San Mateo, CA  should be wary of sending their child to a static location where they will almost certainly feel as though they are prisoners, as well as consider anyone in a position of authority as their enemy. Just logistically speaking, it's quite easy to suss out why teens have a guarded resiliency to fall in line with tenants of any program whose walls they are unable to escape or leave with any sort of regularity. 

It is also worth noting that not all therapeutic boarding schools are created equal in either their overall effectiveness or mode of application regarding the treatment of troubled teens. Like any other business, there are some facilities that live up to the content posted on their website while others hide behind their empty promises to parents desperate enough to seek help in any way they can for their at-risk teenage boy or girl.

With that in mind, It should go without saying how highly important it is for parents to do their research on any potential treatment center before entrusting strangers with the life of their child. Just as a qualified and reputable therapeutic boarding school can change the lives of children for the better, the opposite can be said when it comes to therapeutic programs whose heart isn't in saving the lives of children, but rather, individuals who are merely interested in bringing home another paycheck at the end of their shift. 

In the following section, we will help parents come to find that there is, in fact,  a viable alternative to having to deal with this fundamental issue of a prisoner vs. warden mentality most teens face at a therapeutic boarding school. In fact, over the next section, we will actually inform parents from San Mateo, CA  that there is actually a treatment option that is completely free from the unproductive bonds of such power-dynamics and institutionalizing issues.

Additionally, we will explain to parents from San Mateo, CA why wilderness therapy is much more than just a financially convenient alternative to therapeutic boarding schools. And finally, we will cover what makes our wilderness therapy program, in particular, so uniquely designed to treat the complexities of the underlying mental health-related issues of troubled teens.   

With that being said, we want to take this moment to urge parents of troubled teens from San Mateo, CA  to become more familiar with what the day-to-day life is like for a WinGate student - and compare it to the quality of living and treatment they would endure while enrolled in a therapeutic boarding school.  

The Anything But a Typical day-to-day life of a Troubled Teen in the Wilderness 

A Typical Week for teens emersed in the WinGate wilderness experience is exciting, refreshing, and, in a word, an all-around awe-inspiring and transformative experience. First and foremost, it's important to understand that while they are living in the wilderness, the way in which our campers spend their time is very structured and consistent.

For instance, every day begins the same: with our campers delegating the first part of their day to create and practice what we refer to as, their morning routine of contemplation, meditation, or prayer - this of course depending on each student's own personal and familial belief structure). Divvying themselves up into what we call 'personal circles.' teenage campers are instructed to work on personalized therapeutic, reading, and other working assignments. We call this phase of the day, Personal Mentoring Time (PMT). 

Additionally, PMT is also an opportunity for staff to check in with students on a more personal one-on-one level. It is their patient and all around non-authoritarian way in which they speak and act towards teens which allow the child to become more perceptive to actually listening and hearing their advice and guidance than they would say, a therapeutic boarding school staff member who, in all likelihood, considers it his duty to forcefully make the teens understand that under his supervision, they all must obey - See the difference? Or, most importantly, do you see the fundamental issues with how traditional therapeutic facilities are self-defeating in their approach in providing behavioral and therapeutic restoration? ( take my word for it, as the author of this page, I am also former alumni and staff member of such a facility) 

To be frank, these type of facilities (generally speaking) are from - and continue to operate as if - they are from a bygone era that most people were naively unaware ever past us by, to begin with. In short, psychiatric treatment has changed a lot, even within the last ten years; the approximate length of time it has been since I graduated from a therapeutic boarding school, myself. 

At WinGate, Teens are The Masters of Their Domain, The Leaders of Their Tight Knit Tribe

Upon first setting foot on the campsite, all campers must keep track of what their goals are for that particular day. We call this daily devotion to goal setting, "Day Tracks." 

Rather than enforce or display authoritarian rule over the student, our staff is highly trained in teaching teens how to essentially run the program themselves. With this kind of nurturing role of leading and depending on one another, students will be able to trust their staff while simultaneously building self-confidence, most likely unbeknownst to themselves.

In fact, when the program is running smoothly as it is designed to operate, the troubled teen campers play a major leadership role in their own therapeutic development.  Whether it be choosing what they listen to, participate in, or conducting what we refer to as, 'WindSpeaks' (Group Discussions) on topics that will help themselves and their peer group become more mentally and emotionally self-aware. At the end of the day, it is the teenage campers who are in charge and thus, trusted to take full responsibility for not only themselves but also their peers, who by this point in their journey, will have almost certainly built strong bonds with one another - it's the way of the wilderness. 

Through their journey, our students will get the chance to make primitive wilderness living things like spoons, fire, moccasins, leather goods, and maybe even a bow and arrow or two. Interspersed in all of this will be recovery work and recovery meetings that focus their attention on what they came to the wilderness to work on.

Mondays and Tuesdays are typical 'layover days.' On these days, the group doesn't hike. These are also the therapy days- your therapist will come out to do individual sessions and therapy groups. This is also the time in which current staff rotates out as a fresh one rotates in. Layover days are a good opportunity to make goals that will proactively prepare them for the next week's journey. This list of preparations may include anything from crafting items, finishing letters to parents, to working on therapeutic assignments that are tailored specifically to meet their specific treatment's needs.

The rest of the days of the week are typical "hiking days." On these days, the group packs up camp and hikes to a new camp. There are chores to attend to in cleaning up camp and in setting up the new site. Hikes vary in length according to the capabilities of the group members, the weather, as well as whatever the season happens to be at the time. 

By simply applying basic common sense, it's easy to understand why world-class wilderness therapy programs like WinGate are effective where other, more traditional treatment facilities fail. 

If You are the Parent of a Troubled Teen From San Mateo, CA WinGate is Here to Help! 

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Our students experience the changing heart which will lead to a healthy, balanced life. Call us today at (800) 560-1599

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