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Treatment for Children & Adolescents

Inpatient Programs

The Menninger Clinic®

Adolescent Treatment Program

Do you have an adolescent with hard-to-manage symptoms of mental illness? Has outpatient treatment or medications failed to improve these symptoms?
Then let Menninger’s Adolescent Treatment Program (ATP) be the next stop on your child’s journey to good mental health. It’s ideal for teens who have struggled to receive an accurate diagnosis and for those who have not benefitted from previous treatments. It can also be a turning point for adolescents who are experiencing a crisis for the first time.
ATP offers stabilization and assessment for adolescents ages 12-17 who have psychiatric disorders or co-occurring disorders, that is, a psychiatric disorder coupled with substance use or another issue. Most of our adolescent patients average more than three diagnoses.
With its wide-ranging clinical expertise, the program’s interdisciplinary treatment team stabilizes acute symptoms, clarifies diagnoses, identifies your teen’s core issues and determines next steps for treatment.
"Life is now worth fighting for, and I value every second of it."
 - former ATP patient
The team seeks a broad understanding of your child through a battery of diagnostics, including psychological and neuropsychological testing, brain imaging, genetic testing and other laboratory measures, if necessary. Specialized, on-site consultation addresses substance use and addictions, trauma, anxiety disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), attentional problems (ADHD), autism (ASD), eating disorders, attachment disorders and more.
While the average length of stay is around three to four weeks, some patients remain an inpatient for continuing treatment.

Treatment Goals

Our goals for treatment are to:
  • Resolve your teen’s immediate crisis, stabilize him or her and support your family.
  • Reduce acute psychiatric symptoms and teach healthy alternatives to self-destructive or addictive behaviors.
  • Create a treatment plan based on accurate diagnoses.
  • Teach effective coping, communication and emotion regulation skills and strategies and give your adolescent plenty of opportunities to practice them.
  • Create a wellness plan that includes a roadmap to recovery and that will help your teen and their families stay on track after discharge.

Our Patients

Most of our patients have on average three or more diagnoses, predominantly anxiety, mood, trauma, ADHD and/or emerging personality disorder diagnoses, including borderline, avoidant and others. Substance use disorders and process addictions, like technology or gaming addictions, are common.
The most common diagnoses and core issues are:
  • Major depressive disorder
  • Persistent depressive disorder
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • PTSD and other trauma
  • Attachment disorders
  • Family conflict
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Emotional dysregulation
  • Self-injury
  • Suicidality
  • Alcohol, marijuana and/or nicotine use disorders
  • Self-esteem problems
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Panic disorder
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Psychosis
  • Autism and developmental disorders
  • Eating disorders

Psychological Testing

All ATP patients undergo standardized and evidence-based psychological testing to identify core issues and provide an accurate diagnosis or diagnoses.
Prior to testing, patients and their family members develop questions about themselves, their struggles and their strengths with their treatment team. These questions shape the testing process and make our care truly customized.
Personality, projective and cognitive tests are then administered, as clinically indicated, and provide objective evidence that supports the team’s diagnoses and informs the treatment plan.
Throughout the diagnostic process, we invite patients to be curious about the test results. During the family feedback meeting, family members have the chance to do the same. They also review the psychological testing findings with the team. Our collaborative assessment approach helps both adolescents and their families gain insights about their psychological functioning and core issues, which guides treatment and facilitates targeted, effective intervention.

Neuropsychological, Cognitive and Academic Testing

If family members or the treatment team have concerns about learning or attention problems, IQ, academic functioning, developmental or autism spectrum disorder, neurological impairment (e.g., epilepsy) or traumatic brain injury (e.g., concussion/loss of consciousness), we’ll refer your teen for additional testing.
This may include a comprehensive review of cognitive functions, including general intellect, attention and executive functions, language, memory and learning, visual-perceptual and motor abilities and academic achievement.
The team and family may use the evaluation results to confirm or clarify a diagnosis, facilitate educational planning or initiate 504 accommodations, establish a baseline of cognitive functioning, document changes in cognitive functioning over time and inform treatment recommendations.

The Diagnostic Feedback Conference and Executive Summary

The treatment team will hold a diagnostic feedback conference with the family after the adolescent completes at least three weeks in the program and all testing and consultations are complete. Before the conference, the team contacts referring clinicians, educational consultants or other professionals to discuss your child’s case. Written records are reviewed as needed.
At the conference, the team meets with your family, typically in person but often via teleconference, and presents a written executive summary, generally about 10 pages, detailing the results from the medical workup, psychological testing and our assessments. It also includes diagnoses, core issues and recommendations for further treatment.
We’re happy to answer any questions and educate you about your child’s testing results, diagnoses, medication changes, overall progress and aftercare plan. You can process the information and get answers without having to worry about your child being present. During a separate meeting, we’ll deliver the same information in an age-appropriate way to your teen.
We’re also happy to discuss and review your child’s executive summary with referring providers and educational consultants, as appropriate.

Program Components

The ATP is an intensive inpatient program. In addition to our comprehensive diagnostic workup, your adolescent will receive:
  • At least twice weekly appointments with a psychiatrist, and more if needed
  • 24/7 nursing care and supervision
  • Group therapy daily (up to four groups per day)
  • Family therapy one to two times per week
  • Individual therapy twice per week
  • Recreation therapy daily, such as yoga or use of the gym or pool (once safety is established)
  • Substance use and addictions group daily, as appropriate
  • Substance use and addictions individual counseling once per week, as appropriate
Group therapy and participation in a healing and therapeutic milieu allow adolescents to:
  • Practice social skills
  • Decrease isolation and alienation
  • Develop positive self-esteem
  • Increase adaptive coping
  • Improve communication and
  • Receive positive and negative feedback about their behavior from their peers.
Social workers, psychologists and even physicians facilitate ATP’s groups using evidence-based interventions, such as dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), mentalization-based therapy (MBT) and motivational interviewing (MI).
We also have multiple groups that encourage healing and self-expression through art, music and other creative methods.
Some of our patients’ favorite groups are pet therapy, when available, and Ask the Doc, during which patients can ask their doctor any questions related to mental health they might have.
Unscheduled time is important, too, and this primarily occurs on the weekends. Our patients use it to complete therapy homework, practice newly learned skills, exercise, read, do arts and crafts and participate with other patients and staff in planned recreational activities like Sunday night movies.
While we customize each adolescent’s schedule to meet his or her individual needs, a typical schedule outlines the types of therapeutic and recreational activities that we offer.


We appreciate the importance of school and want to ensure that your adolescent has the chance to achieve academic success while an inpatient and after discharge. That’s why Menninger offers a certified private school teacher who works with our adolescent patients, their parents and their schools to develop individualized plans for completing academic work during their hospitalization. Two hours every weekday morning are devoted to academics.

What to Expect

Whether you’re a parent looking for a stabilization and diagnostic assessment program for your child or you’re the teen in question, it’s important to know what you can expect from ATP and what we will expect of you and your family as well.
Upon arrival at Menninger, your teen will:
  • Meet with members of the clinical team and participate in an in-depth psychiatric evaluation and psychosocial assessment with the psychiatrist and social worker.
  • Have a health and physical exam, which is performed by one of our internal medicine physicians.
  • Receive an orientation to the program.
  • Meet with our research team to discuss participation in Menninger’s outcomes project.
  • Be assigned a room and possibly a roommate.
  • Have belongings assessed for safety.
In the first days after admission, patients can expect to:
  • Begin attending group therapy right away
  • Complete genetic testing to guide medication selection, if desired
  • Start psychological testing and other consultations
We find that most teens settle in and begin making new friends within a few days of admission, but it’s not unusual for some adolescents to be homesick. We’re prepared to help both patients and parents manage this normal reaction. We encourage patients to bring items from home that they may find comforting, like blankets or photos, and we ask parents to let us know in advance if they anticipate an intense experience of separation.
During hospitalization:
  • Patients are given a flip phone and allowed to call home during designated hours each day. Desktop computers are available on the unit with supervision for academic purposes. Personal cell phones, laptops and tablets are not allowed.
  • Patients have access to a washer and dryer and will do their own laundry with help from staff, if needed.
  • Patients are expected to adhere to ATP’s program schedule and academic tutoring.
  • Patients and their families will participate in a diagnostic feedback conference two to three weeks after admission when testing is complete.
  • Patients and their families will collaborate with the treatment team to develop a comprehensive discharge plan, which includes a comprehensive wellness plan. The discharge plan may include a recommendation to return home, participate in a residential treatment or a admit to a stepdown program.


Menninger offers a beautiful, 50-acre campus with plenty of amenities that will appeal to your adolescent. ATP has two hallways of welcoming bedrooms, divided by gender, with a large open common area, lots of natural light and even a ping pong table. Just outside the common area is an outdoor courtyard for patients in the program.
Menninger also has a café that serves Starbucks® coffee, a saltwater pool, impressive gym facilities, indoor basketball court, sand volleyball court, arcade games, an outdoor labyrinth and more. To get a comprehensive look at our campus, take our virtual tour.


Call us at 713-275-5400 for more information about how we can help your teen.
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