These are the top 20 therapeutic schools and programs for troubled teenagers in the United States. Therapeutic boarding schools help guide troubled teens and their parents through the turmoil of emotions and bad behavior, bringing about a better future.


In a world where traditional educational institutions are primarily focused on academic achievement, there exists a unique category of schools dedicated to nurturing the emotional and psychological well-being of students: Emotional Growth Therapeutic Schools. But what exactly are these institutions, and how do they differ from conventional schools or purely therapeutic centers?

Understanding Therapeutic Boarding Schools

Therapeutic Schools are specialized educational institutions designed to cater to adolescents and young adults facing emotional, psychological, or behavioral challenges. These schools seamlessly integrate academic curricula with therapeutic interventions, focusing not only on intellectual growth but also on emotional and personal development.

Key Features of Therapeutic Schools

  1. Holistic Approach: These schools emphasize the development of the whole individual, attending to emotional, social, psychological, and academic needs.

  2. Individualized Attention: Recognizing that each student is unique, the programs are tailored to address specific challenges, strengths, and requirements.

  3. Safe Environment: Creating a safe and supportive environment is paramount. Students are encouraged to express themselves, face their challenges, and seek guidance without fear of judgment.

  4. Professional Staff: The schools employ a team of trained professionals, including therapists, counselors, and educators, adept at addressing diverse emotional and behavioral issues.

  5. Group Therapy: Beyond individual therapy, group sessions provide students with an avenue to share experiences, learn from peers, and build supportive relationships.

  6. Life Skills Training: Apart from academic and therapeutic interventions, students also receive training in essential life skills, preparing them for adulthood and independent living.

  7. Family Involvement: Recognizing the crucial role of families, these schools often involve parents or guardians in the therapeutic process, offering counseling and guidance to the entire family unit.

Who Can Benefit?

Emotional Growth Therapeutic Schools are ideal for individuals:

  • Struggling with emotional or behavioral challenges that impede academic performance or daily functioning.
  • In need of a more supportive educational environment than traditional schools offer.
  • Facing issues such as anxiety, depression, oppositional behavior, trauma, or other emotional disturbances.

Emotional Growth vs. Purely Therapeutic Centers

While both emphasize therapeutic interventions, Emotional Growth Therapeutic Schools distinguish themselves by offering:

  • Academic Curriculum: These schools ensure students don’t lag in their academic pursuits while receiving emotional support.
  • Longer Duration: Instead of short-term interventions, students typically stay for extended periods, allowing for more profound emotional growth.
  • Community Environment: By fostering a sense of community, students learn social skills, teamwork, and mutual support.

Therapeutic Schools play a pivotal role in shaping the lives of many young individuals. They offer a beacon of hope for those grappling with challenges that extend beyond the academic realm. By prioritizing emotional well-being and personal growth, these institutions provide students with the tools, support, and environment they need to thrive in both their personal and academic lives. For many families, discovering such a school can be the first step toward a brighter, more fulfilling future for their child.

What Do Therapeutic Boarding Schools Cost?

The cost of attending a therapeutic boarding school can vary significantly based on various factors, such as the school’s location, the range and quality of services offered, its reputation, and more. Below is a general overview of the costs associated with therapeutic boarding schools:

1. Location:

  • United States: In the U.S., the annual tuition for therapeutic boarding schools can range from $50,000 to $120,000 or more. Some of the most well-established and reputed institutions, offering comprehensive therapeutic and academic services, tend to be at the higher end of this range.

2. Additional Costs:

Beyond tuition, there may be other associated costs:

  • Therapy Sessions: While many schools include therapy in the tuition, some might charge extra, especially for specialized or more frequent sessions.
  • Medical Care: If the school offers on-site medical facilities or requires periodic medical check-ups, there could be associated costs.
  • Uniforms and Supplies: Some schools may have uniform requirements, and textbooks or other supplies might incur extra charges.
  • Trips and Excursions: Therapeutic outings or educational trips might be an added expense.

3. Financial Aid and Scholarships:

To help reduce the financial burden on families, many therapeutic boarding schools offer financial aid packages or scholarships. These can be based on:

  • Merit: Scholarships awarded based on academic achievements, talents, or therapeutic progress.
  • Need-Based: Financial aid provided to families with demonstrated financial need.

4. Insurance:

Some health insurance plans might cover portions of therapeutic boarding school costs, especially if a physician or psychologist recommends the program. It’s essential to check with your insurance provider and the school’s financial department to see if any of the costs can be offset through insurance.

5. Day Students vs. Boarding Students:

If the therapeutic school accepts day students, tuition for them is typically lower than for boarding students, as it excludes room and board. However, most therapeutic boarding schools, by definition, primarily cater to boarding students given the immersive nature of their programs.

6. Duration of the Program:

Some therapeutic programs are short-term, intensive interventions lasting a few months, while others are longer-term, spanning several years. The duration can impact the overall cost.


Investing in a therapeutic boarding school represents a significant financial commitment. While the costs can be substantial, for many families, the transformation and support their child receives at such an institution can be invaluable. When considering therapeutic boarding schools, it’s crucial to research thoroughly, understand all associated costs, and explore all financial aid and insurance options.