Each Heartlight Boarding School resident meets weekly with a designated counselor who utilizes a biblical model of counseling. Each full-time, on-site counselor is responsible for the emotional care of approximately 10–15 students.

Counselors lead two group sessions and an individual counseling session with the student each week. They are intricately involved in the lives of the young people counseled, as well as with the parents, becoming the “point of contact” for each family.

Parents are phoned on a regular basis after the individual counseling session with the teenager to provide an update and to discuss important therapy issues. Counselors also meet with the parents during the on-site retreats and family weekends and communicate with the family via email.

Counseling Also Involves the Family

The goal of the counselor’s interaction with the family and the training of parents by Mark Gregston during the three Parent Retreats (one approximately every three months) is to ensure there are proper expectations regarding the behavior of the teen at each stage of the program and to help the family prepare for the eventual return of the teen to home. When a parent knows what to expect, they can more readily deal with the counseled teen on the proper level—to love him or her unconditionally. They are also more likely to be firm with their teenager and stick with the counseling program until the therapist says they are ready to leave. This helps the student engage in the counseling quicker, reducing the amount of time needed at Heartlight.

Our in-house Christian counselors constantly interact with Heartlight Boarding School residential staff and leadership to evaluate the progress of the resident’s emotions and behavior. A treatment team, which is made up of the Chief Operating Officer, the Director of Counseling, the counselor, the residential director, the Academic director, and the House Director, meet weekly to make a determination if a child is ready to move up a step in the Level program.

The Heartlight residential counseling center for troubled teens ensures not only improved attitude and behavior, but also a changed atmosphere upon the teen’s return home.