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Four Types of Residential Treatment Facilities

When it comes to adult residential treatment programs, one size does not fit all.

Long term mental health care facilities range from apartment-based communities in urban settings to farm-based group homes. Residential treatment centers vary in the services they offer, the psychiatric disorders they are prepared to address, and the treatment approaches they take. They offer different levels of independence and community integration, and each facility offers an ambience that is distinctly its own.


To help you make a choice, ARTA categorizes its residential mental health facilities into four different types. Please note that the types often overlap, as most residences offering long term treatment for mental illness offer similar services. A number of facilities fall into more than one category, and this is reflected in our directory. Please contact individual facilities if you have questions about the particular mental health and residential treatment services they offer.

1. Clinical Residential Treatment Programs

Residential psychiatric facilities offer a home-like atmosphere and strong sense of community that help residents build self-esteem, develop relationships, and improve life skills. In clinical residential treatment programs, clinicians can view the full picture of a resident’s functioning and use that perspective and insight to fine-tune psychiatric therapy.

Common Features:

  • Intensive, professional mental health treatment provided daily on-premises.

  • Individual psychotherapy.

  • Group therapy.

  • Vocational/educational counseling and support.

  • Treatment for co-occurring addictions.

2. Group Residential Communities

The family-like atmosphere of group homes is a major therapeutic tool, providing increased quality of life and continued growth. Residential treatment in a group home helps people with psychiatric disorders repair self-esteem, build skills, develop relationships, and learn to manage their mental health symptoms.


Common Features:

  • A stable, long-term living arrangement.

  • Clinical treatment may be optional and occurs off-site.

  • Length of stay varies and can be for an extended period.

3. Farm-Based and Work-Based Residential Programs

In these residential treatment communities, residents participate in daily work, which plays a key role in their growth and recovery. Meaningful, necessary work provides tangible results by teaching new skills, building self-esteem, and fostering supportive connections among teammates.

Common Features:

  • A range of therapeutic work opportunities, which may include clerical work, agricultural work, building maintenance and repair, and retail sales.

  • An opportunity to learn skills that can be marketable.

  • A variety of clinical treatment approaches, with some programs offering a rich array of psychiatric therapy services.

4. Apartment-Based Communities

In this type of mental health treatment community, residents live in individual or shared apartments while participating in a program of therapeutic activities, supportive relationships, and psychiatric treatment. Clinicians often spend time in residents’ homes each day to gain insight that enhances treatment and recovery. For some, this style of residence minimizes the perceived stigma of living in a mental health facility.

Common Features:

  • Regular visits from mental health clinicians.

  • Location close to a central “therapeutic community” gathering place.

  • A greater degree of independence than in other settings.

  • The nature and degree of clinical treatment varies.

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