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We Help Teens Find Their Way to Health and Wholeness

Caron’s comprehensive integrated program for teens (ages 13-18) diagnoses and treats core issues, including mental health disorders and substance abuse.

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1 Your Role
I want to learn about treatment options for:


2 Basic Information
The Person is:
years old


graduated high school

3 Condition Information
Caron Treatment Centers accepts patients aged 13 years or older. For more information on services available to those 12 and under, please learn more about Caron's Student Assistance Program.

Whether it is psychiatric or substance abuse issues or both, the earlier you get help for your teen, the better their immediate and long-term future is likely to be.

Know the warning signs.

“Any drastic changes in your teen indicate that something is happening, whether it’s related to mental health, possible addiction, or both.”
Erin Goodhart, Senior Clinical Director of Women’s Services

It can be tough to tell if troubling behavior in a teen is just part of growing up or a problem that should be discussed with a health professional. But if there are signs and symptoms that last weeks or months and if these issues interfere with the teen’s daily life, not only at home but at school and with friends, you should contact a health professional.

Early intervention makes it more likely that your teen can bounce back socially, academically, and emotionally. Ignoring your teen’s behavior can make the situation worse, affecting your teen’s emotional well-being, social development, and academic achievement. It can also leave lasting traces on your whole family and your relationship with your teen and other children in the family.

Your teen might need help if he or she:

  • Often feels anxious or worried
  • Has very frequent tantrums or is intensely irritable much of the time
  • Has frequent stomachaches or headaches with no physical explanation
  • Is in constant motion, can’t sit quietly for any length of time
  • Has trouble sleeping, including frequent nightmares
  • Loses interest in things he or she used to enjoy
  • Avoids spending time with friends
  • Has trouble doing well in school, or grades decline
  • Fears gaining weight; exercises, diets obsessively
  • Has low or no energy
  • Has spells of intense, inexhaustible activity
  • Harms herself/himself, such as cutting or burning her/his skin
  • Engages in risky, destructive behavior
  • Harms self or others
  • Smokes, drinks, or uses drugs
  • Has thoughts of suicide
  • Thinks his or her mind is controlled or out of control, hears voices
Caron is the right place.

“The teen patient at Caron is likely to have equal parts substance use and psychiatric issues. The traditional primary drug use with secondary psychiatric issues is a thing of the past. Both issues are front and center with our teen patients.”
David Rotenberg, MA, MBA, CAC Diplomate, Chief Clinical Officer

With more than 60 years of experience, Caron is a well-known expert in treating teens and their families. While the most common issues we deal with are anxiety, ADHD, depression, and substance abuse, our team of medical and mental health professionals can also help your teen with:

  • Abuse
  • Anger issues
  • Body image issues
  • Co-occurring psychiatric and mental health issues
  • Codependency
  • Family conflict
  • Family problems
  • Mood disorders
  • Self-esteem/self-loathing
  • Self-injurious behaviors, including cutting
  • Sexual issues

A key element of our teen program is the development of coping skills and other tools necessary for maintaining good mental health. Counseling is designed to motivate teens to implement healthy lifestyle changes to maintain their recovery once they leave Caron.

Your teen can depend on a team of caring adults.

“Our collaborative multidisciplinary team of professionals addresses each person’s mental health and wholeness.”
Chris Owsiany, MA, CADC, CCS, Clinical Director of Teen Services

Each teen patient at Caron is assigned an on-site multidisciplinary treatment team. Team members may include professionals in:

  • Psychology and psychiatry
  • Addiction counseling
  • Medicine
  • Nutrition
  • Health and wellness
  • Physical education
  • Spirituality

Because a team with extensive mental health experience is supporting them, your teen always has a supportive adult to turn to and someone near by to depend on. We stress the importance of a safe, non-judgmental, firm, and nurturing environment to give teens the space they need to rebuild their trust in themselves and their ability to make good choices.

The team approach also allows for constant collaboration so we know and you know how your teen is doing at any given moment. Collaboration also allows for changes to be made as necessary.

An understanding of generational characteristics enables us to meet teens where they are. Our team includes a range of ages and backgrounds to enable positive compassionate relationships to form.

Meet our staff.

Residential assessment is a helpful first step.

“At Caron, assessment is a critical first step in getting to know the young person and beginning to assemble the components of a treatment plan that will get to the heart of the psychiatric/substance use issues that person is facing.”
Christopher O’Reilly, MA, LPC, CAADC, ACRPS, CSAT, Executive Director of Adolescent Services and Breakthrough

Caron's comprehensive evaluations provide the teen, the family, and our professional treatment teams the opportunity to understand the core issues and develop an integrated individualized approach for your teen.

Our evaluation teams include:

  • Medical staff
  • Psychologists
  • Addiction specialists
  • Spiritual care advisors
  • Referring clinicians

They will use a variety of comprehensive evaluations and tests to get to know your teen and their core issues:

  • History and physical evaluation
  • Psychological evaluations
  • Psychiatric evaluations, when clinically warranted
  • Neurocognitive assessment, when clinically warranted
  • Addiction medicine assessment
  • Lab studies, including comprehensive drug screens
  • Family assessments
  • Gathering and review of comprehensive collateral information
  • Collaboration with referent(s), including family and/or colleagues

These evaluations tell us about an individual’s history, physical and psychological conditions, chemical dependency, and whether any co-occurring disorders are present.

When residential assessment is complete, the multidisciplinary team meets with your teen and family members to review findings and recommend a program that works for and with your teen.

We support the whole family.

“Our emphasis on family involvement offers healing and support to each family member and gives the family tools to create sustained success.”
Michael Otey, Coordinator, Family Services

Caron supports the whole family because the whole family needs healing. Family involvement in treatment is vital for a teen’s long-term recovery. It’s also critical for families to educate themselves about the impact of mental health issues and substance abuse.

Families who participate in our programs reported a good to very good quality of life following their teen’s treatment at Caron and 65 percent found they were setting better boundaries.

Your teen can stay on their academic track.

“As a teacher at Caron, I have seen just how much it matters to teens and their families to be able to keep up with school work. We work with each teen to determine what kind of academic support they need, and we find a way to provide it.”
Robert Adler, Teacher

Caron’s teachers are experienced in working with teens who are dealing with mental health issues and substance abuse. The teachers find out where students are academically, where they want to go, and then they help them get there. In consultation with your teen’s teachers, they give your teen the academic support they need to complete their work.

That support includes credit recovery work, AP course work and exams, and preparing for the ACT and SAT college entrance exams. As necessary, Caron teachers provide special tutoring for GED testing. Tutoring is provided over the summer months. Teachers also help teens stay focused on their futures through activities such as writing a resume and completing college applications.

On-site schooling is only available at Caron’s Pennsylvania Treatment Center. The program is licensed through the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. All teachers are licensed to teach in an alternative education setting.

We provide safe spaces for boys and girls.

"The gender-specific programs at Caron offer teens a peaceful, safe environment for healing and growth."
Dr. Margaret King, Psy.D., Clinical Psychologist

Boys and girls have different responses, motivations, and learning styles. Caron’s 60 plus years of experience has shown that giving them programs specifically geared to their genders is highly effective and ensures that they have a safe place free of distractions to concentrate on themselves.

For boys
Caron’s individual, group, and family programming for boys encourage them to express their emotions, rather than “stuffing” them inside. We give teen boys a safe environment in which to truly open up and discuss gender-specific issues such as:

  • Sexuality
  • Abuse
  • Dating/relationships
  • Anger
  • Self-loathing
  • Low self-esteem

For girls
For teenage girls, a lack of self-esteem and inward pressure to be perfect can lead to mental health issues and substance abuse. The teenage girls we treat often come to us with issues like:

  • Abuse
  • Dependency
  • Family conflict
  • Low self-esteem or self-loathing
  • Cutting and self-injurious behaviors
  • Anger
  • Body image issues

We help them confront those issues, build a sense of confidence, establish healthy boundaries, and better understand how to create and nurture healthy relationships with family, friends, and romantic partners.

An important aspect of Caron’s approach to treatment is that teenage girls live during their stay in a building with women of all ages. We have found that this multigenerational residence offers nurturing and support that enhances the young women’s treatment and gives them a network of other women on which they can depend.

Our program focuses on strengthening the whole person.

“We provide teens with the tools and knowledge they need to maintain good mental health.”
Nate Mannino, BS, CADC, CFT, Director of Fitness, Wellness, and Recreation

A strong inner core gives teens the foundation they need to succeed in maintaining their mental health and building their futures. Through holistic program components that include peer counseling and recreational/adventure activities, we strengthen that core.

  • Peer counseling: We pair teens with young adults in supervised peer counseling groups that give teenagers an opportunity to learn from slightly older young adults and ask questions they may be wary of asking an adult.
  • Bolstered recreational/adventure activities: We believe that fitness, wellness, and recreation are important components of good mental health. In addition to a state-of-the-art gym, we also use ropes and obstacle courses to address issues like anger and anxiety among others. Recreation staff and therapists work together to design physical activities to meet specific goals tied to recovery.
  • Wilderness therapy: Caron offers a wilderness therapy component that incorporates backpacking, canoeing, rock climbing, and other outdoor activities. Available for an additional fee through Dr. George Bright, M.D., at Blackwater Outdoor Experiences, the program includes:
    • 22-day challenging, year-round courses
    • 1:3 staff to student ratio
    • Intensive family component
  • Continuing Care plan: For teens, this includes a home contract, which outlines things, places, and people we recommend the teen shouldn’t be connecting with. As needed, we can work directly with a teenager’s school to help them with the return transition.