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Therapeutic Model and Approach
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
We believe that God has a purpose and a plan for every boy who comes to Teen Challenge. It’s not just about teaching boys how to stay out of trouble. It’s about seeing our students reach their full potential and experience the hope and future that God intended them to have. We believe that every boy that comes to us has the potential to become a man of character and integrity. Their attitudes can be positive, and they can be successful in their relationships with others. All of these elements are presented in a loving Christian environment.
Teen Challenge utilizes an integrated model of intervention. Our methods of intervention are Biblically-based and incorporate concepts and techniques from various psychological approaches including: Cognitive Behavioral therapies, Reality therapy, Choice theory, solution focused therapy, systems theory, and others. Our program makes use of behavioral elements, experiential activities, therapeutic interventions, and social/interpersonal activities. All of these elements are presented in a loving Christian environment.
Helping a Student Regain Control of his Behavior
Teen Challenge helps students regain control of their behavior by helping them to recognize the unproductive patterns in their lives and encouraging them to seek new solutions to life’s problems and difficulties.
We believe that students can and should take responsibility for their behavior and choices. While there may be life tragedies or difficulties which have contributed to a boy’s problematic behavior, a child can learn to make better choices regardless of his situation or past. Effective solutions to life’s difficulties can be found, and healing from life’s hurts can be experienced.
The Teen Challenge program is broken up into five phases. The first four phases are completed on campus. Each phase has unique goals, objectives, and intervention material that a student must complete before moving to the next phase. The general goals of each phase are as follows:
Phase 1 – Basic Self-Management
Phase 2 – Teamwork and Cooperation
Phase 3 – Leadership Training
Phase 4 – Leadership and Service
Phase 5 – Successful Transition outside of the program
Each phase has additional privileges as well as greater levels of responsibility. There is improvement in behavior and attitudes as students progress through the different phases of the program. A scoring system is used to provide students with feedback on their behavior and to help them become aware of and manage their own behavior. This behavioral technique is used for each activity of the day. A student’s behavior is scored in the following five areas:
- • Punctuality/Preparedness
- • Obedience/Flexibility
- • Diligence/Determination
- • Respect/Attitude
- • Leadership
The scoring system helps staff and the student identify the areas where the student is doing well or has made significant progress. It also helps us to identify areas where the student may be experiencing difficulty. If challenge areas are identified, we will work with the student in problem solving and help him develop strategies for success.
Our program is approximately 18 months long. The first 9-12 months are done in residence at Teen Challenge, and the last 6 months take place after the child returns home and enters our aftercare program.
Our Extensive Aftercare Approach (Few other programs do this!)
We believe that a critical factor to the success of the boys is our Aftercare Program. We continue to work with boys and their families after the residential portion of the program is completed. The aftercare portion of the program is designed to last at least 6 months. We continue to work with the student and his family and help with any transition issues he may face when returning home.
We begin helping our students to make this transition several months before they actually complete the residential portion of the program. An aftercare plan is developed with the child, parents, probation officers, etc. We approach each student on an individual basis. We understand that each boy has unique needs, family situations, educational challenges, and aptitudes.
Teen Challenge Adventure Ranch also works with families in regard to finding a mentor for the child. This mentor will be someone from their local area who will coordinate with the Teen Challenge Transitional Services Director. He/she will meet weekly with the student and provide continued encouragement and accountability after he returns home.
The Transitional Services Director also maintains regular contact with the student after he completes the residential portion of the program. He makes weekly phone contact with the student and family to check on progress. When possible, in-home visits are often scheduled (if the family would like for that to happen). During the visits/calls, the following is discussed:
- • Re-entry into the home environment,
- • Transitions to and challenges with new educational facilities,
- • Vocational activities and goals,
- • Relapse prevention issues,
- • Interpersonal issues,
- • The student’s conduct and behavior.
Students showing significant difficulty transitioning back into society and/or participating in at-risk or delinquent behavior can be returned to Teen Challenge Adventure Ranch for a limited time. After re-stabilization, the previous aftercare plan is evaluated and appropriate changes are made in order to better assist the student with transition.