Behavior Modification Programs For Teens


Monuments is a therapeutic boarding school treatment center that serves adolescent young men and their families. Utilizing the benefits of the wilderness combined with a community-based living environment, Monuments creates a unique relational experience immersed in heuristic learning. These young men learn how to become relevant to themselves, their families and the community. As they work through their personalized challenges, those around them see their lasting value and worth. Our goal is to facilitate monumental changes and preserve them for years to come.


Behavioral Modification Programs 


With the rise of troubled teens reaching epidemic numbers in today’s America, it is more critical than ever for parents of said wayward teens to become familiar with the most reputable treatment options that are available for their child. Among these clinical options is a therapy known as, Behavioral Modification.

Probably the most widely recognized form of troubled youth-therapy around, behavioral modification is a methodology which, when conflated with a state-certified academic curriculum, and cognitive therapy, also happens to be the most popularly-used treatment model being used by programs today.

In the following, we will discuss the definition, functionality, and overall therapeutic significance of behavioral modification, and by extension, behavioral modification programs. Our discussion will include the types of behaviors, mental illnesses, and other adolescent issues that ‘behavioral mod’ facilities are clinically designed to help treat.

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Here at Monuments, we have created the following article in hopes that its content will educate needful parents on the specifics of this widely-used treatment model - including the types of facilities that utilize its therapeutic principles - so that they may be able to definitively decide whether or not its methods are appropriate for their child's specific mental, emotional, and behavioral issues.

If nothing else, we hope this article will encourage parents of troubled teens for two reasons: First and foremost, that the following words will assure parents that they needn't face the daunting challenge of saving the life of their adolescent boy, alone. And second, that upon reading the following article, parents will be comfortably reminded that potential life-changing treatment for their child, wherever and whomever that treatment may be or led by, is always just a phone call and a (most likely) plane ticket away.

So, What Is Behavior Modification?

Behavior modification is a type of treatment that includes replacing or modifying self-sabotaging behaviors with more self-serving, fruitful, and proactive behavioral patterns. According to Behavior-mod proponents, replacing said behaviors is made possible through therapeutic-learning techniques such as biofeedback and positive and negative reinforcement - e.g. rewarding good behaviors and punishing bad ones.   

While the treatment has varying uses for various types of mentally suffering people, behavior modification is most commonly used to treat troubled teen programs including, residential treatment centers, group homes, wilderness therapy, and therapeutic boarding schools.

While its origins are ambiguous, most experts suggest that behavior modification was originally developed by the famed American psychologist and behavioral expert, B.F. Skinner. Regardless of whether or not he was the actual creator of behavior modification, it was through his formulation of applicable concepts such as observing that behaviors could be more easily shaped by reinforcement (encouraging favorable behaviors and discouraging negative ones), Skinner was indeed the first expert to shape the treatment into what it would eventually become.

Skinner is also heralded by many as being responsible for its popularity and modern usage among troubled teen programs in modern times.

Behavior Modification Programs Attempt to Treat the Following: 

  • ADHD
  • Depression
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)
  • Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) 
  • Drug and Alcohol Addiction
  • Low-Self Image

Behavior Modification in Today's Troubled Teen Programs

While behavior modification has been ubiquitous in treating troubled teen behavior, the last few decades have given way to programs who use it as a supplementary part of their program rather than their curricular staple. While behavior therapy is still very much in use by said adolescent programs, most programs do not consider themselves to be “behavior mod” facilities. With the exception of boot camps and brat camps, most residential facilities - programs which now commonly use rather recent and provenly effective treatments such as positive peer culture, emotional growth, and leadership development -  refer to themselves as therapeutic schools or residential treatment centers. While recent developments in the evolution of troubled teen facilities have changed their functionality and approach to treating mentally-suffering adolescents, behavior modification still plays a very lively and fundamental role in most programs’ therapeutic curriculum.

Monuments: A Viable Alternative to "Traditional" Behavior Modification

The Following is an Excerpt From Our Treatment Program Page ...

Many programs talk about how they take a relational approach with their students. However, this language is connected to a level system that has embedded consequences and rewards for specific “behavior," (aka behavior modification. These hoops through which behavior-mod enrolled students are forced to jump through, create an opportunity to “behave” in order to avoid negative ramifications or gain some external “privileges”. This approach ends up minimizing the relationship between student and staff and puts all focus on what the student simply does, no matter the motivation. We believe there is a better approach.

Our focus will not be around change through privileges (levels), but rather change through choice. Our students and families will be invited to join us and educate our team about what they want to accomplish and the things that they need to work on. Our team will work with them to craft a plan of action and help them identify the goals they want to accomplish along the way.

For Immediate Assistance, please call our child placement experts at (800) 559-1980


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The road behind us — does not define the road ahead. A new start is waiting! Call Monuments today at (800) 559-1980