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School Refusal Program

For Adolescents

Insight’s School Refusal Partial Hospitalization Program

School refusal is avoidance of the school environment due to emotional distress. The environment can include teachers, peers, the classroom, daily assignments and homework. Emotional distress may manifest as anxiety, fear, depression or opposition.

Some adolescents exhibit social anxiety, test anxiety, perfectionism, obsessive compulsive behaviors, defiant behaviors and difficulties transitioning between grade levels. Their experience can result in school refusal, poor attendance and low academic performance. Ongoing school refusal may in turn affect self-confidence, autonomy, mood, interpersonal relationships and executive functioning.

How do we treat it?

Insight Behavioral Health’s School Refusal Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) is designed to treat adolescents struggling with school avoidance. We offer a collaborative approach provided by a treatment team composed of mental health professionals, parents and school staff. Our program addresses underlying anxiety and oppositional behaviors associated with school refusal.

Through a combination of the following approaches, we help the students overcome their avoidance of school:

  • Exposure Response Prevention Therapy (ERP) is offered for adolescents struggling with anxiety, depression and fear relating to the school environment.  
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is used to address the oppositional or behavioral symptoms that have prevented the adolescent from effectively engaging in school.  
  • Educational support and executive functioning skills training.
  • Parents engage in weekly Multi-family DBT groups and ERP skills training to assist their adolescents in overcoming barriers to school reintegration.
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