Programs for an Uncontrollable Teen

Teens with severe behavioral problems can create safety risks and significant emotional hardship for families. Finding effective programs to help uncontrollable teens not only helps the adolescent, but also his parents and siblings. Choosing the best program for your uncontrollable teen might require the input of psychiatrists, counselors and your child’s teachers. Additionally, many programs have requirements and require referrals from educational or mental health workers.

Individual Outpatient Counseling

Individual outpatient therapy is often a first choice for uncontrollable teens. In outpatient therapy, the teen will meet at least once per week with her therapist. The exact treatment will depend on the teen’s behaviors and the underlying reasons for those behaviors. For example, teens who are physically violent may learn anger management skills as well as explore the reasons behind her anger. Individual outpatient therapy may also be augmented with medication management, administered by a psychiatrist or pediatrician.

Outpatient Group Therapy

Outpatient group therapy brings together teens with common behavioral issues and teaches them social and behavioral skills. These therapy sessions are typically led by a licensed mental health worker. One of the benefits of group therapy is that it allows adolescents to practice their new behaviors in a safe environment. The National Institutes of Mental Health explains that group therapy can also normalize the teen’s experience and help him see that although others might see him as uncontrollable, his behaviors might not be uncommon 1. This can improve the teen’s self-esteem and thus, his behavior.

Day Treatment

Day treatment is more restrictive than outpatient therapy. Typically, teens attend day treatment instead of traditional school. In this setting, they might receive individual counseling, group therapy, social skills training, recreational therapy and academic instruction. They might also receive medication management services. At the end of the day, teens are able to return to their families. Many day treatment programs also require parents to participate in their teen’s treatment through family therapy or parenting courses.

In-home Counseling

In-home therapy is generally an intensive program that focuses on parenting skills and the child’s behaviors. In such programs, a therapist or group of therapists comes to the family’s home, observes the teen’s behaviors and then makes recommendations on how to address the teen’s needs. In short, in-home services might involve both parenting courses and therapy for the uncontrollable teen. Additionally, in-home therapy services generally involve the whole family, including the teen’s siblings.

Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient treatment, or hospitalization, is the most restrictive setting for uncontrollable teens and is generally used only when the teen poses a risk to himself or others. Like day treatment, in-patient treatments are comprehensive and address the teen’s needs in both individual and group settings. In these facilities, the teen is monitored 24 hour per day and generally receives psychiatric medication management services in addition to talk therapies, according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 2.