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The Real Truth about the Troubled Teen Industry: Industrialized Child Abuse

"I cried and begged to leave every day for the first four weeks and eventually gave up." 


This article discusses how teenagers were sent to wilderness therapy boarding school to receive help for their mental health issues and possible substance abuse worries but only received trauma, severe depression, anxiety, and PTSD. 


Many teenagers worldwide struggle with mental health issues and substance abuse and are categorized as a troubled child who needs navigation to live in society successfully. With this in mind, parents struggle to give their children the best care and try to do what is best for them. After careful consideration, some fearful parents sent their children to wilderness therapy boarding schools to get the treatment they need…only that never happens.  


Jasmine Barette, a 23-year-old university student in Montreal, Canada, was sent to Open Sky Wilderness Therapy in southeast Utah and Montana Academy in Marion, Montana, by her parents to get treatment for her struggles with mental health when she was just 16 years old. Not knowing how awful the wilderness therapy was, Barette was sent hours away from help to receive treatment, only to receive industrialized child abuse. 


In agreement to Best Therapeutic Boarding schools, it said that the Montana Academy is a "great deal of programs, the staff live and work next to the students daily, allowing the therapy to appear more comfortable and for students to create the necessary trust with the men and women striving diligently to help change their lives. Students are carefully monitored to help ensure their success, and parents are commonly kept abreast of developments by a personal counselor." 


Parents were told that their children would receive excellent therapeutic and academic care during their embarkation at the wilderness therapy school and be taken care of to the fullest extent. To emphasize, the wilderness school was supposed to help children cope with their mental health issues and substance abuse worries if they had any in an unplugged environment in the great outdoors. Nonetheless, all the young girls received were punishments and trauma. 


Barette declared her experience as "sleeping under a tarp every night even with 3 feet of snow, not getting my period anymore and losing so much weight, and getting a pound of cheese and canned tuna each week as a personal snack." 


Barette was put into a group of 6 girls and was never told what she'd do that day. During the day, students would have to hike for 6-8 hours in the below-freezing weather with a 40-pound backpack and make their tents, food, and fires. Shockingly, Barette even announces that she purposely tried to get frostbite so she could be sent to a hospital and get away from the wilderness therapy boarding school. As she was not appropriately nourished and suffered back problems from carrying a heavy backpack for many hours, this can be considered child abuse. 


Suppose the girls broke the rules, such as hugging someone without permission, not doing chores properly, etc. Leaving hair in the sink, talking when they were not allowed, and not advancing in the program, the young girls would be put on S.I. or social isolation. To clarify, social isolation was the staff's way of dehumanizing a member by not letting them talk to anyone, such as team members or anyone their age, for as long as the staff said so. 


"I had one friend that was on social isolation for about four months, which was very harsh and lonely then." Barette proclaims from her terrible experience at the Montana Academy. 


"One of the rules was that you could not be out of earshot of the staff, and if you were talking to a girl and the staff couldn't hear you, they would punish you for that." 


These girls were isolated from their parents and not even allowed to call them without staff overhearing their conversations to make sure they were not saying anything troublesome about the program. When the young girls would send letters to their parents, the negative information was blacked out and vice versa. As an illustration, the staff even took this so far that they would force the innocent children to smile for pictures to send back to their parents even though they were miserable in the harsh conditions. 


If you were not advancing in the program fast enough, your phone privileges could be taken away or sent to another program. The most compelling evidence is that the parents were warned that their children might talk badly about the program to try and get out, so none of the parents believed their children when they told them the actual conditions that they were living under. 


One of the most shocking ‘tough-love’ ways that the therapist held group therapy sessions is that they would have something called a feedback circle. "A lot of the time, we would have to give mean and to provoke feedback to the girls 'to help them improve,' which was just another form of bullying."  


The therapist would show everyone in the therapy group one girl's 'clam piece' or work they have done in therapy, and "the therapist would be super harsh to people by calling them attention seekers, and saying they were horrible kids to their parents, and insulting them. I specifically remember my therapist at Montana Academy telling me that I had no backbone." Barette communicates.


Instead of finding ways to help the teens, they would only be torn down by harsh punishments and telling the teens what a disappointment they are to their parents. Teenagers were brainwashed into thinking that they were awful, horrible people, and they had to follow the program and could not survive without it. 

It would be easy for a parent to believe that this wilderness therapy may help their child with the glowing reviews and calming websites with a lot of helpful information, but it could not be further from the truth. As many children go into wilderness therapy, such as Open Sky Wilderness and Montana Academy, trying to receive help, they become more damaged than ever by being isolated from friends and family and constantly being punished.

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