Next Steps After Adolescent Residential Treatment


Despite lots of treatment facilities touting “30-day programs”, adolescent behavioral health recovery takes time and support. What is often not explained to parents is that residential treatment is usually only the first step in the treatment continuum. When in-patient treatment comes to an end, it’s natural to wonder what comes next after they complete their stay. In this blog, we'll explore some of the next steps available for adolescents post-residential treatment, including extended treatment options, teen 12-step programs, outpatient programs, and group therapy, offering insights and guidance to help you support your adolescent's ongoing recovery.


Extended Treatment for Adolescents


The term “extended treatment” gets thrown around a lot. All it really means is treatment that continues after a primary residential program. Generally speaking, every adolescent can benefit from additional treatment. For many teens, the journey towards recovery doesn't end with residential treatment. Extended treatment programs provide continued support and structure beyond the initial intensive phase, offering a safe and therapeutic environment for further healing and growth. These programs may include transitional living arrangements, therapeutic activities, and ongoing counseling to help adolescents transition back into daily life while maintaining the progress they've made.


As a parent, you can explore extended treatment options with your child’s residential treatment team. While it may require additional time and resources, extended treatment can provide continued support and guidance and studies show that the longer an individual spends in treatment, the higher their chances of long-term sobriety.


Teen 12-Step Programs


12-Step programs aren’t only for adults. Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous both offer a structured approach to recovery that emphasizes accountability, peer support, and personal growth that is designed for teens. These programs provide adolescents with a supportive community of peers who understand their struggles and can offer empathy and encouragement during their journey. 


Encouraging your kid to participate in a teen 12-step program could provide valuable support outside of formal treatment settings. These programs teach important life skills, coping mechanisms, and strategies for maintaining sobriety and managing behavioral health challenges. They also help to facilitate connection and help them realize they aren’t so different or alone. 


Outpatient Programs for Teens


On the continuum of care for adolescent treatment, outpatient programs follow the completion of residential treatment. These programs typically involve therapy sessions several times a week, allowing adolescents to continue their recovery journey while gradually reintegrating into daily life.


As a parent, you can work closely with outpatient staff to ensure that your adolescent receives the support and resources they need. Attending family therapy sessions, participating in parent education workshops, and collaborating with treatment providers to develop a comprehensive aftercare plan tailored to your adolescent's unique needs and circumstances are all options that are on the table. 


Group Therapy for Teens


Group therapy provides adolescents with a supportive and validating environment where they can connect with like-minded peers. These sessions offer confidential and safe opportunities for adolescents to share their experiences, learn from one another, and develop valuable coping skills and interpersonal strategies.


Encouraging your teen to participate in group therapy can help them feel less alone in their recovery journey and provide them with a sense of belonging and acceptance. As a parent, you can support your teen by discussing the benefits of peer support, encouraging them to actively participate, and reinforcing the skills and insights they gain during sessions.


Next Steps


Don’t let residential treatment be the end of your child’s recovery process. Explore extended treatment options and see how they can benefit them and the family as a whole. 


Remember, as a parent, your love, support, and advocacy play a crucial role in your teen’s recovery journey. If you have questions, concerns, or just need to talk through options with an experienced adolescent mental health professional, call Sustain Recovery today. We’re here to help.