July 27, 2022

How is Our Real Ranch Different from Other Programs?

If you have a troubled teen, you may have already been advised by experts to find a teen help program. This is not an easy thing to do and can be overwhelming to decide where to send your teen. Adolescent treatment for troubled teens takes time and a lot of care. Depending on your teen’s needs, different stages of healing and reform may require different types of treatment.

At Turn-About Ranch, our treatment program has helped thousands of teens get their lives back. Recommended by doctors and therapists and frequently featured in the media, our acclaimed program has helped parents when they’ve needed it most. Here is how our program is different compared to other programs.

Turn-About Ranch Wilderness Therapy Boarding Schools Teen Boot Camps Scared Straight Programs
Clinical Model A Residential teen treatment facility on a real ranch Provides therapeutic methods outdoors Long-term treatment center and school Short-term, military-style disciplinary program Organized visits to prison for at-risk teens
Length of Stay 3 months average 2 to 15 weeks or longer 3 months to a year or more 2 months average 1 day on average
School Credits Given? Yes Not usually Yes Not always No
Therapy Types Individual, Group, Family, Equine Individual, Group, Family Depends on the school Not always provided Not provided
Staff Licensed therapists, certified nurses, teachers, and teen behavior experts Some have licensed therapists. Medical staff may not always be accessible in the outdoors Teachers and headmasters. Some may have nurses, nutritionists, and therapists Former military personnel Correctional officers and government officials
Accept Insurance? Yes Depends on the program and your provider No No No

Turn-About Ranch vs Wilderness Programs

Wilderness Programs

Wilderness therapy is a mental health treatment strategy for adolescents with maladaptive behaviors. Wilderness programs combine therapy with challenging experiences in an outdoor wilderness environment to engage teens on cognitive, affective, and behavioral levels. The goal of wilderness therapy is to provide:

  • Therapeutic Assessment
  • Treatment of Problem Behaviors
  • Safety and Stabilization
  • Lasting Change

One of the most common criticisms of wilderness therapy is that the program may not be able to provide the same quality care a residential treatment center can provide. Some are skeptical of the effectiveness of wilderness therapy due to the high variability in its therapeutic methods.

Turn-About Ranch’s Program

Turn-About Ranch’s program is not a wilderness therapy program. However, teens that come to the ranch do get a lot of the same advantages of wilderness therapy programs. While we are a residential teen treatment facility, we’re located in Escalante Utah and are surrounded by one of the most beautiful and unique environments.

We have mountains, canyons, slot canyons, and even arches nearby! Students learn to love our desert scenery as they undergo positive character transformation both on the ranch and during our off-ranch adventures. We aim to enhance our students’ therapeutic experience by doing outdoor activities such as horseback riding and hiking.

Equine therapy and Horsemanship Program

Our Ranch vs Teen Boot Camps

Teen Boot Camps

Teen boot camps are short-term, highly structured, military-style rehabilitation programs. They are designed to teach troubled teens to respect authority and to learn to deal with their issues or face consequences. Most boot camps use:

  • Military Training
  • Authoritative Teaching Methods
  • Vigorous Exercise
  • Strict Discipline

These tactics are designed to discipline defiant, angry, and destructive teens in hopes that they’ll come home with the attitude of a “good soldier.” While these programs may be effective for parents who want their teens to be more disciplined, even boot camps are not an effective therapeutic treatment program for teens who are truly struggling.

Turn-About Ranch’s Program

At Turn-About Ranch, our goal is to instill positive, lasting change in the teens that come to us. Using radically authoritative teaching and overly strict discipline goes against our mission. The teens that come to us have real struggles and want to see overall change. We don’t feel that constant restriction and discipline are effective or helpful.

Student’s who come to Turn-About Ranch participate in a rotating schedule of activities. As a working cattle ranch, there are projects that students complete every week that contribute to the functioning of the ranch. By participating in projects like bailing hay, cattle drives, building projects, daily chores, and community service, teens learn valuable lessons—including teamwork, leadership, coping with frustration, and the value of hard work.

Turn-About Ranch vs Traditional Boarding Schools for Troubled Youth

Traditional Boarding School

Similar to residential treatment centers, some boarding schools are long-term teen help facilities that are run almost like a school, with lots of students, regular classes, licensed teachers, and more. Typically, troubled teens either go to therapeutic or religious boarding schools. While boarding schools can be effective, sending your teen away for an entire school year (or longer) takes away critical time with your teen. While long-term programs may be necessary at times, you’ll want to consider shorter programs first to see if your teen’s needs can be met.

Turn-About Ranch’s Program

Out of all the other teen help programs, boarding schools are probably the most similar to our program. However, there are still some big differences that set us apart, the first being our program length. On average teens stay at our ranch for a little over three months (the average stay is 100 days). For us, we have seen a lot of success happen within this amount of time and believe you don’t have to send your teen away for long periods of time.

Another difference between us and boarding schools, or really most other programs, is that we offer The Turn-About Ranch Guarantee. After students graduate from our program, we understand many parents may feel a little nervous about their teen’s transition from a therapeutic environment to being back home in the “real world”. That is why we offer a guarantee where, if needed, your teenager can return to the ranch for a free 30-Day refresher course.

The Ranch vs Scared Straight Programs

Scared Straight Programs

You’ve most likely heard of “scared straight” programs from popular tv shows. However, these are very real programs that involve organized visits to prisons and jails for teens who are at risk for criminal behavior. The point of these programs is to give teens first-hand observation of what prison life is like and the key lesson is that if they continue down the path they’re on, they too could end up in prison. They may also get to hear the stories of prisoners who are hand-picked by the staff there to share their stories and dissuade the teens from staying on the prison-bound path. Throughout the day, they’ll interact with other inmates, eat the food, and (in some programs) even stay the night in a cell or, at least, spend some self-reflection time in one.

While scaring teens into behaving may seem effective, it isn’t always. There are multiple different studies suggesting that scared straight programs are purely not effective in deterring criminal activity.

Turn-About Ranch’s Program

At Turn-About Ranch, we understand that a teen can’t be “scared” into behaving. They need our support, therapy, and most importantly support from their loved ones. Not only are we here to help struggling teens, but we are also here to help improve family relationships and home life. To support these relationships, we offer family therapy as a part of our program. We also work with our teens’ parents to be ready for their return–equipped with effective parenting techniques, parent-child conflict strategies and even book recommendations. Research shows that one of the most significant predictors of a teen’s success after completing a program is the extent to which their families are involved.

It has always been our mission to help struggling teens and create positive, lasting change in their lives. That is why we focus on real values in a real ranch environment that helps teens to experience real change. Our end goal is to help troubled youth become mentally healthy individuals. During their time with us, it is our hope that students will learn concepts like leadership, teamwork, accountability, and responsibility—skills they’ll need to be successful in their roles back at home with their families and in their future adult lives later down the road.

The Turn-About Ranch Difference

Here at Turn-About Ranch, we are committed to helping you and your teen. We have created a facility where our students can grow and work on their issues in a safe environment. If you believe that we are a good fit for your child, contact us and our admissions team will be in touch with you as soon as possible.

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Turn-About Ranch

280 N 300 E.
Escalante, UT 84726
(800) 842-1165