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Religion and Treatment for Teens

When it is time to send your teen to a treatment center, religion is a very important factor to consider.

Every treatment center is different. While some advertise themselves as adhering to a specific religious conviction, others are open to treat all teens, regardless of their religious faith (if any). If Christianity is important to your family and your teen, you may want to seek a Christian treatment center. If your family does not belong to any faith and you don’t want your teen exposed to religion at all, you should speak with the staff at the treatment centers you are considering to ensure that this will not be an issue.

Faith-based rehab and treatment can help give a large sense of strength to individuals seeking to become powerless against their addiction or mental illness. Meditation and mindfulness are often worked into treatment programs, and “God” or the idea of a “higher power” is often brought up in 12-step programs of all sorts. While the utilization of these components does not necessarily make a treatment center a faith-based one, it does speak to how commonly faith is found in treatment.

That said, most secular inpatient treatment centers will do their best to accommodate any requests to attend religious services during their time in treatment.

What is faith-based treatment?

There are faith-based treatment centers for adults and also many that cater specifically to teenagers. Some of these centers focus on addiction, some on other mental illnesses, and some on both. Faith-based treatment involves many of the same practices used in traditional treatment, but also applies several practices not commonly seen in a traditional treatment center. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Supporting and strengthening faith while finding relief from mental illness or addiction
  • Education on spiritual principles
  • Participation in religious study and prayer
  • Development of a relationship with a higher power

It is good to remember, however, that faith-based treatment may not be right for your teen. They may already be apprehensive about seeking treatment, and bringing an aspect of religion into it may cause them to rebel against it even more. Talk about this with your family and your teen’s doctor. Ask your teen whether they would feel more comfortable in faith-based treatment or in a center where religion is not brought up. Keep in mind that most faith-based treatment programs are meant for those already practicing a certain faith. Remember that if you do decide on faith-based treatment, you should find a center that embraces your teen’s beliefs. Do your research on faith-based treatment vs. traditional treatment and consider the pros and cons of each. Opinions surrounding faith-based treatment vary widely depending on who you’re talking to, so it is important to form your own informed opinions.

For Information and Support

Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know is in need of mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact an individual for the long term. The earlier you seek support, the sooner you and your loved ones can return to happy, healthy and fulfilling lives.

Our admissions team is available to answer any general questions regarding mental health issues, treatment, and/or specific questions about the program at Pacific Teen Treatment and how we might be able to help your family.


  1. org“Find a Top Spiritual and Faith-Based Rehab Center”. Reviewed by Dan Wagener, M.A. December 7, 2018.
  2. com“Faith-Based Drug Rehab” 2019.

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