What is the Troubled Teen Industry (TTI)?
The “Troubled Teen Industry” (TTI) is a term for the different facilities for “troubled youth” that represents a multi-billion-dollar industry in the United States. These facilities are sometimes referred to as boot camps, wilderness therapy, secured group homes, teen ranches, reform schools, emotional growth boarding schools, therapeutic boarding schools, religious boarding schools, conversion therapy, behavioral modification schools, residential treatment centers, etc.
These programs market themselves to parents, therapists, state and judicial agencies, and insurance companies as providers of therapeutic treatment for almost every problem. These programs will often claim to treat or be experts in an impossibly diverse and broad myriad of mental health diagnoses and behavioral issues. In the absence of a mental health diagnosis, the programs will often attempt to pathologize normal teenage behavior such as talking back, breaking rules at home, internet addiction, normal sexuality, homosexuality, etc, and treat teenagerhood as a problem that needs to be solved.