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Types Of Programs

The following overview will give you a sense of the types of treatment programs that exist and whom these programs serve. Understanding the types of treatment services available can be a helpful first step to making a good treatment choice for your child. For additional help understanding your options, please visit our pages describing educational consultants and read our informative papers, written by Fulshear and InnerChange clinical staff and describing a variety of adolescent emotional and behavioral issues. 

While there are numerous types of programs for young people struggling with emotional and behavioral problems, they can be broadly grouped in three main categories: Intervention and Assessment, Treatment, and Transition. 

Stabilization and Assessment


What: Short-term, hospital-based psychiatric programs

Who: Patients who are psychotic or at immediate risk of harm to self or others

When: During a psychiatric emergency

Why: To stabilize, typically for referral to longer-term treatment

Wilderness Therapy

What: Short to medium term program utilizing a wilderness setting for therapeutic purposes

Who: Adolescents struggling with a wide range of behavioral or emotional problems

When: Behavioral or emotional issues are threatening the well-being of the young person and/or others

Why: To interrupt or end a pattern of poor choices and to assess the need for further treatment

Detoxification Program

What: A medical treatment center for chemical addiction

Who: Patients who need medical supervision in order to safely detoxify

When: Prior to placement in a long-term addictions treatment program

Why: To safely clear the system of chemicals that would impede treatment


Residential Treatment Program

What: A program that combines therapy, psychiatric support, and schooling

Who: Adolescents who are stable enough to engage a long-term program of personal growth

and therapy, but who need the structure of residential care

When: Entrenched psychological or psychiatric issues need to be resolved for long-term well being

Why: To gain insights, tools, and habits necessary for lifelong mental health

Out-Patient Treatment

What: A program that allows the young person to live at home and attend school or work during

the treatment process

Who: Clients who are fully compliant with treatment and whose behaviors do not seriously

interfere with functioning at home, school, or work

When: When the adolescent voluntarily seeks help with emotional issues

Why: To allow a least-restrictive treatment option for compliant, engaged patients

Psychiatric Hospital

What: A hospital for long-term psychiatric treatment

Who: Severely mentally or emotionally disturbed patients requiring long-term psychiatric care

When: When the patient requires long-term supervision, containment, and medical treatment

Why: To have a long-term option for severely mentally ill patients


Young Adult Program

What: Program with the features of long-term treatment, but designed to prepare young adults

for independence

Who: Young adults (17+) who need a combination of treatment and life skills

When: When a young adult needs therapeutic and life-skills preparation for independent living or college

Why: To prepare young people to cope with life on their own


Step Down Programs

What: A lighter version of a treatment program - typically in the form of a highly structured

boarding school with therapy

Who: Young people who are compliant with the treatment process and do not require intensive treatment

When: Typically following a successful wilderness or residential treatment experience

Why: To keep the young person in an environment that supports gains made in treatment

Community-Based Programs

What: Day programs that allow the client or patient to live at home and attend school or work

Who: Adolescents who need support, but possess adequate coping skills to remain at home

When: Typically following successful treatment

Why: To provide support for a successful transition home or to independence

Halfway Houses

What: A residential program that provides sobriety support along with access to work

opportunities and normalized community involvement

Who: Chemically addicted clients who have had a successful treatment experience but require

moderate to intensive support

When: Following a residential chemical dependency treatment program

Why: To increase probability of long-term sobriety