Utah Programs For Troubled Teens

Teenagers learn the benefit of calm and confident behavior through horse therapy.

Many programs in Utah offer therapeutic residential treatment programs for adolescents with emotional and behavioral problems. These programs typically involve a combination of psychological therapy, skill-building, academic learning and physical activity. Programs range from treatment ranches with horse therapy to nomadic wilderness therapy programs. Some programs last months, while others may last years. Throughout each program, adolescents are taught the importance of responsibility, accountability, self-esteem and teamwork.

Aspen Achievement Academy

Accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) and the National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP), the Aspen Achievement Academy provides a residential treatment program for teens between 13 and 17 years of age. Each teenager is unique and requires varying lengths of stay, but generally, a stay of no less than 35 days is expected. The program accepts adolescents exhibiting defiant behavior, depression, drug or alcohol dependence, low self-esteem and manipulative behavior. The program utilizes a four-phase system that includes therapy, physical activity, academics and skill building to address emotional and behavioral difficulties. As participants progress through the programs’ phases, they become more self-reliant and cooperative and learn to make healthy decisions, communicate and manage and express anger appropriately.

Aspen Achievement Academy

98 South Main St.

P.O. Box 509

Loa, UT 84747



Cross Creek Programs

Cross Creek Programs provides residential therapeutic treatment for junior high and high school students with a variety of behavioral and emotional problems. Throughout the program, adolescents work through six levels, each with their own privileges and responsibilities, that encourage positive behavioral changes. In order to advance through these levels, the program utilizes a self-assessment approach, through which each participant evaluates her own progress in areas such as cooperation, responsibilities and attitude. Program staff members review these evaluations. Students participate in core and elective academic work and individual and group therapy sessions. Specialized group therapy programs are available for grief counseling, adoption issues and alcohol and substance abuse problems. Students take part in physical activities, such as basketball, track and field and hiking and line dancing, as well as a number of seminars and workshops. There are workshops available for 18-year-olds that prepare these older participants for independent living through discussions about personal finances, job and college preparation, adult relationships and purchasing a home.

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Cross Creek Programs

150 N State St.

La Verkin, UT 84745

(800) 818-6228


RedCliff Ascent

RedCliff Ascent is a 30 to 60-day wilderness therapy program for adolescents between the ages of 13 and 17. The program provides individual and group therapy, life-skills training, teamwork and physical activity to help teenagers that exhibit defiant behavior, drug addictions, depression, poor academic performance, violence and more. Teens progress through seven phases of therapy and value building to internalize values such as courage, respect, honesty, compassion and self-discipline. Participants hike a total of three to seven miles every day, and have the opportunity to learn about modern geology and ecology, as well as archaic skills used to make tools, pottery, moccasins and more. Due to the physical nature of the program, RedCliff Ascent may not be appropriate for adolescents with severe asthma, epilepsy, hypoglycemia or diabetes.

RedCliff Ascent

757 South Main

Springville, UT 84663

(800) 898-1244



The Turn-About Ranch offers a residential program for troubled adolescents exhibiting defiance, low self-esteem, impulsivity, anger, depression, school truancy and drug and alcohol experimentation. The program is not suitable for teens with serious eating disorders, physical aggressiveness or suicidal tendencies. The program utilizes a multi-faceted approach to encourage honesty, respect, responsibility and accountability. Participants generally are required to commit to a stay of 100 days, throughout which professional staff uses horsemanship, ranch work, life skills training, academics and individual and group therapy to build each teen’s self-esteem, self-respect and respect of others. In addition to traditional academics, which are taught in four-hour sessions several times each week, participants have the opportunity to learn vocational skills in the culinary arts, auto mechanics and the construction trades. Parents are kept apprised of each teen’s progress through weekly phone conferences, as well as visits halfway through the program and at the final graduation.

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Turn-About Ranch

280 North 300 East

PO Box 345

Escalante, UT 84726

(800) 842-1165


Youth Care Inc

The Youth Care residential treatment center offers therapeutic programs for adolescents between 11 and 18 years of age who exhibit behaviors such as defiance, truancy, low self-esteem and impulsivity. Pregnant teens are also accepted. The program is not appropriate for violent teenagers or those with eating disorders. The program accepts no more than 14 students at any time. Each week includes three individual therapy sessions, one family therapy session and five group therapy sessions. The program also includes an academic program and recreational therapy where students participate in cross-country skiing, indoor wall climbing and community service activities at nursing homes and food banks. The teen pregnancy program at Youth Care uses infant simulator dolls to introduce participants to the daily demands of a new baby. The program has regular on-site medical care, nurse visits and dietary consultations to ensure a healthy pregnancy for the teen and baby.

Youth Care, Inc

PO Box 909

Draper, UT 84020

(800) 786-4924