In recent years a dizzying array of programs has emerged to meet
the needs of struggling teens and their families-wilderness therapy
programs, therapeutic boarding schools, alternative schools,
mentoring and court diversion programs, independent living
programs, and myriad day treatment and partial hospitalization
services. Yet not all of these offerings employ mental health
professionals or follow evidence-based treatment protocols. Some
programs are licensed and accredited, but many are not, and some
use techniques that are highly controversial, even abusive,
resulting in injury and accidental death.
Frederic G. Reamer and Deborah H. Siegel have written the first
scholarly book on this influential and controversial industry. They
begin with a time line of Americans' changing attitudes toward
challenging teens and the programs and schools established to
handle this population. Then they summarize reputable
organizations, including a selection of community-based and
residential programs and schools, and provide brief descriptions of
typical services. The authors candidly discuss a number of
troubling scandals and tragedies, exposing the tragic consequences
of emotionally and physically abusive practices, and recommend a
range of empirically sound interventions for the clinical
challenges of adolescent depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety,
oppositional behavior, eating disorders, and
attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. The authors conclude with
a blueprint for reform and twenty "best practice" principles
relating to harm prevention, program-based discipline, industry
regulation, quality assurance, parental involvement, staff
education, and after-care services.
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