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.
To love and care for your son as one of our own.
To provide honest feedback and counsel to you to begin to build family restoration.
To give every opportunity for your son to change his life, and to be there for him beyond his graduation from the program. We consider this a lifelong commitment.
To include you in the process.
Teen Challenge utilizes an integrated model of intervention. Our methods of intervention are biblically-based and although we are clearly a faith-based alternative to traditional therapy we 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.
Our overall philosophy regarding our students is that we are here to support them and to give them the best opportunity to implement change in their lives so first that he might be restored and secondly so that the relationships with their parents and family might be restored. We firmly believe that we are created with a purpose of relationship in our lives. First, for a relationship with God but secondly for a relationship with each other. God saw this! He created more than one person because “it is not that man is alone”. Relationship is the cornerstone of what we do!
We implement this in several ways. We strive to provide a family type atmosphere and overcome the institutional feel. Each student is assigned an advisor that acts as a mentor to the student and a direct connection back to the parents. We also have a very intense curriculum that mirrors traditional therapy practices. Group Studies and Personal Studies for new Christians (GSNC & PSNC). This curriculum has been developed and proven over several decades around the globe to be effective in helping young people overcome life-controlling issues, and learn more about themselves. This allows them to become better individuals, restoring their lives and in turn restoring their relationships.
Change only comes once a person decides that change needs to take place. With young men that is very often a process of getting them to understand a need to change even something that doesn’t seem important. Everyone has something they need to change at all times in their life. They learn that change is not so bad and begin to look at other things, bigger things, things that they came to Teen Challenge for and then it begins to happen. Ultimately they see where change needs to take place in their life and take it on for themselves. Finally, we believe that change is made permanent and perfected through a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. It is through a relationship with him that we continually change and that our relationships with each other are made whole.
About Psychotropic Medications
We like to see students come off all psychotropic meds when they come to the ranch. This allows everyone to see in a controlled safe environment if the student really needs the medication. We understand that some really do need the medications and at times depending on the history of the student and a review by the director exceptions are made for some medications upon admissions.
Successful outcomes appear in a variety of ways for young men. Each is unique and someone who is still trying to define who they really are and who they will be as an adult. If there is one thing we like to see in a student that will show how successful they are and will be is how he responds to failure. When confronted with a negative behavior, violation of a rule, a setback in life, how does he respond. It is the tough moments in life that give us the biggest opportunities to change and to succeed. When a student responds well in adversity it is a great sign that he really is being successful in himself.
Helping Boys Regain Control of Their 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 four phases. Each phase has unique goals, objectives, and intervention material that a student must complete before moving to the next phase.
Phase 1 – Basic Self-Management
Phase 2 – Teamwork and Cooperation
Phase 3 – Leadership Training
Phase 4 – Leadership and Service
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:
- • Responsibility/ Work
- • Behavior/ Obedience to authority
- • Relationship/ Social
- • Spiritual Development
- • Leadership/ Servanthood
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.