Juvenile boot camps vs. Therapeutic Boarding School: Which to Choose

Your daughter is one of the most important people in your life. As a parent, when you you notice negative changes in her behavior, you have a small window of opportunity to help turn things around for her.

Maybe you’ve researched different options and it’s come down to a few choices that you’re thinking about. Depending on the severity of the issues your daughter is dealing with, you may be thinking about a teen boot camp or a therapeutic girls’ boarding school. While both options can be suitable in certain circumstances, they are two very different types of programs.

Here is the breakdown:

Juvenile Bootcamp or Therapeutic Boarding School

What is a Juvenile Boot Camp?

Juvenile boot camps, also known as teen boot camps, shock or intensive incarceration programs, are short-term programs that use military-style training to modify the problem behaviors the teens are exhibiting.

The goal of a boot camp like this is to prevent troubled teens from ending up in juvenile detention or prison. Most teens who come here have problems with authority, act out and have violent behavior problems. The boot camp, which lasts about six months, is not for everyone, but can be effective at rehabilitating teens in certain situations.

Most boot camps focus on hard labor and physical training and breaking down of a strong will or hard exterior. In addition to strict discipline and training, boot camps also offer alcohol and drug treatment services, counseling and educational services. Aftercare is provided to help teens transition back into society after graduation.

How is a Therapeutic Girls Boarding School Different than Juvenile Boot Camp?

A boarding school for girls like Greenbrier Academy is very different from teen boot camp. Our therapeutic environment focuses on healing and provides a mix of therapeutic, academic and social solutions for teen girls. Our therapeutic boarding school is nurturing yet disciplined, and is the ideal environment for teen girls experiencing academic trouble or suffering from problems like ADHD, depression, anxiety and trauma.

Greenbrier Academy Therapy

There are several different therapeutic modalities, including:

  • Individual talk therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Equine therapy programs
  • Addiction counseling
  • Specialized therapy for eating disorders
  • Trauma therapy

Using the concept of Relationality, Greenbrier offers a program of healing that meets your daughter’s emotional and mental health needs.


This concept of Relationality is also applied to academics. The girls attend classes as they would at a traditional educational facility, however, the classrooms are small in size, providing the opportunity to connect and develop deep relationships with peers as well as staff.  Students learn how to problem solve as it applies to real-life situations. This encourages wisdom, not just the accumulation of knowledge.

The girls earn credit with each class toward their high school diploma and are also well prepared for the ACT and SAT. Almost 100 percent of the girls attending Greenbrier Academy continue their education, going on to a two-year college, four-year university or trade school.

Socializing and Teamwork

The girls are encouraged to participate in activities, sports and clubs during their free time. Many of the activities help them engage with others more easily and helps them learn how to be a part of a team. Various clubs are offered, and students may create their own with the help of their teachers. This teaches them how to use their own ingenuity and increases leadership skills.

Family Support and Aftercare

During your daughter’s time at Greenbrier Academy, you and your spouse will be equipped with the tools necessary to better support her when she returns home and encourage her on the right track. You’ll be involved in weekly sessions with your daughter’s therapist and even attend three different family workshops during her stay.

When your daughter leaves or graduates from Greenbrier, you both will be given continuous support. This will help make the transition easier and help ensure long-term success.

While there are some similarities between teen boot camps and therapeutic boarding schools (they are both designed to help troubled teens) the approach is very different overall. If your daughter needs help, a boarding school for girls may be the best therapeutic and academic option for a promising, healthy future.

If you’re ready to find out more, give us a call today!

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