Top Ten Therapeutic Activities for Troubled Youth

Let’s be honest. When your child becomes a teenager, you might have moments when you want to pull your hair out. Maybe your teenager has developed some behaviors that concern you. Don’t worry, there are therapeutic activities for youth to get your teen’s life back on a positive path. No matter how challenging this developmental phase can be, keeping teenagers engaged in therapeutic activities can promote high self esteem and a positive perspective on life. All teenagers need help and support at one point or another.  Here are a some effective therapeutic activities for troubled teens:

Equine Therapy

Equine therapy can be one of the most powerful tools in teaching troubled teens empathy, respect, and emotional regulation. Having a horse be reliant on a participant for instruction and guidance can also lend adolescents a measure of responsibility that they may otherwise never develop.


There’s nothing that transforms a troubled teen’s perspective on life like helping others. When troubled youth realize that they have the power to leave a positive impact in other’s lives, the effects can be life changing. Service and volunteer opportunities are a great way to help a troubled teen make positive friendships and develop leaderships skills. Whether it be an animal shelter, an international service trip, or a food drive, there are many readily accessible service opportunities for teens.


Does your teenager struggle to talk about how they feel? Have they shut you out? One of the best ways to help troubled teens understand their emotions and behavior is through writing therapy. Gift your teen a journal that they know can be a place for them to express their feelings. You can suggest activities like writing letters to those they’re hurt of frustrated with, or simply a daily place for them to check in with themselves at the end of the day.

Animal Rescue

Animal assisted therapy can make a huge difference in your teen’s quality of life. The companionship and lack of judgement from animals can be very healing. Is your troubled teen very introverted? Animal therapy may help them have the confidence to come out of their shell.

Drumming Circle

Therapeutic drumming can provide anxiety relief, increased self awareness, and promote healthy self expression in teens. The rhythms of drumming circles are a great right brain therapeutic intervention, which is imperative when treating trauma.


Much like writing therapy, some troubled teens may find painting as a great creative outlet for their emotional and behavioral struggles. Some things, however, can’t be captured in words. Painting and other forms of art therapy are constructive outlets for self expression.


Sculpture and ceramics are another great expressive therapy for troubled teens. The creative process of clay sculpture is an engaging avenue for the imagination to solve issues on a subconscious level. Sign your teen up for a ceramics class with other youth. It’s a great way to help your teen through exposure to positive peer influence.


If your teen is struggling with depression, anxiety, or emotional trauma, exercise can help. Whether in a yoga class, team sport like soccer, or just a run around the neighborhood, exercise releases endorphins that help balance brain chemistry and promote positive emotions. Exercise can also be a wonderful stress relief tool for your teenager.

Adventure & Outdoor Recreation

Adventure therapy will help your troubled teen disconnect from their iPhone, social media, and all other moderns distractions that keep them from looking inward. The healing power of the outdoors is gaining recognition and may provide a useful re-set for your teen. Sign them up for a backpacking trip, an international service expedition, or even a river rafting trip.


Need more support for your teen than these activities may provide? You’re in the right place!

We’re a therapeutic boarding school for girls age 14-18 and we offer these therapeutic activities in some form or other within our 4 month program.

To learn more about how we can help, give us a call today at 1-877-788-8422

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