“I Was Forced To Sculpt My Rape”: What Is Happening Inside The Troubled Teen Industry?

Paris Hilton didn’t set out to become the face of a movement. She was just 17 when she attended Provo Canyon School, a psychiatric youth residential treatment center in Utah. By the time she left, she planned on putting the experience firmly behind her. She did a good job. In the intervening 20-plus years, Hilton has become synonymous with the kind of life most people can only dream of — jet-setting, partying, filled with beauty, sparkles, and adorable chihuahuas. But even as Hilton cemented her status as a pop culture icon, the trauma she endured while at the program was still affecting her. And so were the nightmares.
“They need to be shut down,” Hilton tells Refinery29, speaking about what she describes as “the strikingly abusive facilities.” She would know: During her teen years, in the late 1990s, Hilton not only spent time at Provo Canyon, but also several other youth treatment centers. While each program had its own issues, Hilton says it was her 11-month long stint at Provo Canyon that was responsible for "the most vivid and traumatizing memories I’ve ever experienced in my entire life." She also spoke at length about her experience in her 2020 documentary, This Is Paris, detailing the ways she says she was emotionally and physically abused by staff members, completely cut off from the outside world, and force-fed mystery medication; when she refused to take it, she would be put into isolation for 20 hours at a time, without clothing and freezing cold.
There are many memories from that time that have stayed with Hilton — but there is one in particular that still haunts her. “I continually experience a nightmare where two men come into my room in the middle of the night and kidnap me,” Hilton recalls. “It has caused me severe trauma, and I know it is a tentpole of this industry that has caused millions of survivors to suffer the same nightmares throughout their adult life.”
In a statement provided to Refinery29, a spokesperson from Provo Canyon writes: “Thousands of youth with behavioral health issues have been helped over the years at Provo Canyon School. It is unfortunate that some do not believe they benefited from the care they received.” Provo Canyon School is still operating today, but is now owned by Universal Health Services, a healthcare service provider; the school says it can’t comment on what happened before the change of ownership in 2000, but says, "We do not condone or promote any form of abuse. Any and all alleged/suspected abuse is reported to our state regulatory authorities, law enforcement, and Child Protective Services immediately as required.”
Provo Canyon, though, isn’t the only behavior modification program that allegedly operates this way, or with similar methods. There are hundreds of other highly profitable institutions, schools, boot camps, and facilities across the United States, many of which have been accused of employing physically and emotionally abusive tactics in the name of rehabilitating misbehaving teens and youth — and plenty of them use the traumatic “legal kidnapping” that Hilton describes when they intake students. Together, they form what’s often-called — by media, by advocacy groups, by survivors — the Troubled Teen Industry.
Although Hilton hasn’t been the first survivor to come forward, her huge platform guarantees that the message she’s sharing is widely heard, and can encourage others to speak out. But now that a growing number of high-profile figures who have shared similar experiences have also come forward, their collective voices are hard to ignore. Recently, Danielle Bregoli, better known as rapper Bhad Bhabie, spoke about the abusive treatment she says she received at Turn-About Ranch in Escalante, UT, where she was sent following her viral Dr. Phil appearance.
In a YouTube video, Bregoli alleged that she was “taken there against my will” to the isolated ranch where she was denied “necessity privileges” and witnessed troubling behavior, including other children being physically restrained by staff. She also alleged that she had to partake in intense manual labor, and at one point was required to sit up for three days — no lying down was allowed. During her stint, James "Jimmy" Woolsey, a Turn-About Ranch employee, was killed by a teen enrolled in the program. She heard what happened through a counselor’s walkie-talkie. “I probably still suffer from PTSD from my time there,” she said in an interview with Refinery29. “It was overwhelming, the type of abuse we all experienced. I cope now by just sharing my story and hoping these institutions at some point get shut down.” Turn-About Ranch, which is still in operation, has not yet returned Refinery29’s request for comment, but in a statement to BuzzFeed News, a representative of the ranch said, “We enjoyed our association with Danielle. While we strongly disagree with her account of the time she spent with us, we continue to wish her well.” 
Each year, it’s estimated that 50,000 kids are forced into residential treatment programs against their will, either placed there through foster care, the Department of Education, mental health services, or by their own parents, according to Breaking Code Silence, an initiative organized by survivors and activists to raise awareness of the Troubled Teen Industry.
But while the Troubled Teen Industry is getting a lot of attention right now, its roots can be traced back decades, to an organization called Synanon that ostensibly started as a rehabilitation program in 1958, but revealed itself to be something quite different: a cult. It was founded by Charles Dederich who claimed to be inspired by Alcoholics Anonymous and wanted to treat addicts. But, the program used various problematic tactics, such as isolation, sleep deprivation, and manual labor. Treatment often involved something called The Game in which participants would berate, belittle, and humiliate whoever the group’s target was for the duration of the session in order to “heal” them, ostensibly from drug addiction. Some of these sessions turned violent.
Although Synanon was officially shut down in 1991, it had inspired followers to start similar groups that perpetuated Synanon’s worst principles. Some of the offshoots, including The Seed and Straight Inc. targeted teens. Many of these places have been closed for years now, after having faced legal battles and federal investigations; it was even determined that The Seed had used methods “similar to the highly refined brainwashing techniques employed by the North Koreans,” according to a study commissioned by the United States Congress in 1974, called Individual rights and the federal role in behavior modification. But, copycat programs have now proliferated across the country, negatively impacting a whole new generation of teens.
Rae*, 21, attended a “behavioral health residential facility” in Spring Valley, AZ from 2016 to 2017, and says she had been “brainwashed” to think the program had saved her. It wasn’t until she heard other people’s testimonies about their experiences that she realized what she’d endured was abuse.
“Something was just gnawing away at me for years and I could not put my finger on it. Something just felt really wrong inside when I wasn’t on my high of being saved,” she tells Refinery29. “And just this past October, I saw Paris Hilton’s documentary which… uncovered all of these repressed memories. I started to understand that there was something very wrong with what had happened to me.” Recently, Rae started sharing her own stories on TikTok in the hope of getting the word out to other survivors who, like her, may not yet fully understand what they went through.

"Paris Hilton’s documentary… uncovered all of these repressed memories. I started to understand that there was something very wrong with what had happened."

The school Rae attended is called Spring Ridge Academy and was founded by a woman named Jeannie Courtney, who had reportedly previously worked in some capacity with Cross Creek Manor, a since-shuttered behavior modification program in St. George, UT that has faced a number of lawsuits (some of which are still ongoing) over its alleged mistreatment of students. Cross Creek has been linked to the World Wide Association of Specialty Programs (WWASP), a now-dissolved umbrella organization of independent institutions geared toward so-called troubled teenagers although the founder of the network, founded by Robert B. Lichfield. (For his part, Lichfield said in an e-mailed statement to the New York Times that he no longer owns any of the schools and that he was unaware of children being harmed.) In a recently filed and still-open lawsuit against Spring Ridge Academy by the mother of a former student, Courtney is named both in reference to her alleged connection to Cross Creek and for her alleged role in harmful treatment of residents at Spring Ridge and their parents, according to the text of the lawsuit. “[Courtney] was very adamant that she was trained at a WWASP school,” says Sara Hubbell, 22, who attended Spring Ridge Academy from February 2016 to August 2018. Courtney did not respond to Refinery29’s request for comment.
While at Spring Ridge, Hubbell said they took part in an exercise called “trainings,” purportedly therapeutic events that students had to complete in order to graduate. “The trainings are definitely very, very mentally abusive,” Hubbell tells Refinery29. “They’re best described as really, really intense therapy, more like brainwashing.” Hubbell says Courtney ran the trainings, which they also call “feedback heavy.” “She called me up and essentially forced me to expose my deepest, darkest trauma,” they say. “There was a lot of shame-based stuff there.”
Rae also describes attending group therapy sessions known as “feedback” that involved anywhere from 10 to 70 students. “It was verbally attacking your peers, and if you were doing the attacking you were getting rewarded for it,” Rae claims. “It’s like you can either get with the program or not. If you accept the attack, it’s seen as a good thing. And if you have a hard time taking it, you’re not doing well in the program.”
Although Spring Ridge Academy did not respond to Refinery29’s request for comment on some specific practices in which former residents claim they were forced to take part, the institution did ask that the following statement be printed in full: “The health and safety of our students are top priorities at Spring Ridge Academy. Our dedicated team of highly-trained clinicians and educators pours their hearts and souls into the well-being of our students and the families that have entrusted Spring Ridge Academy for more than 20 years to help young women succeed. We believe there is no place for abuse of any kind in any setting, and no such behavior is tolerated at our center. We encourage students and alumni to speak freely with us about their experiences and welcome the opportunity to help educate the public about the importance of young women having a safe and appropriate place to heal. Your readers and viewers can hear directly from some of our students and parents by visiting our Spring Ridge Academy YouTube Channel.”
Neither Rae nor Hubbell’s stories are outliers — many former residents of Troubled Teen programs report similar experiences with questionable therapy techniques, some of which are reminiscent of Synanon’s The Game. Kyra*, 22, attended Second Nature Wilderness Program and Eva Carlston Academy, both in Salt Lake City, UT, from January to April 2014 and from April 2014 to August 2016, respectively. At both facilities, she claims she took part in what was called a “hot seat.”
During a typical “hot seat” session at Eva Carlston, Kyra says, “one person gets up in front of the entire group and we all go around and tell them what is wrong with them. Typically what would happen in any therapy group, which would happen daily at both locations, is we would have some topic for the group, and normally one person or two people would share their story or experience, and once they’re done we basically all go around and berate them.” Kyra says Second Nature’s “hot seats” were very similar.
In a response to these claims, Devan Glissmeyer, PhD, the founder and current owner of Second Nature Wilderness Program, tells Refinery29 that “we encourage students to confront each other, with honesty and direct feedback. We don’t encourage or support 'attacking.'"
A spokesperson for Eva Carlston responded to Refinery29’s request for comment about these claims with this statement: “Group therapy is effective, in part, because it relies on one's fellow peers to provide support, feedback, and perspective. At times, it is important for other students to have a voice in expressing concerns and feedback about how another group member's actions have affected the community. While it is sometimes uncomfortable being on the receiving end of feedback, this feedback may be direct but it is always respectful (not 'attacking'), and clients then have the opportunity to take in this feedback to help them take accountability and growth in their relationships with others.”
The spokesperson also said: “Providing the best possible care for teens and families who are struggling is the priority for Eva Carlston, and the vast majority of our clients have a positive experience.”
Charlotte Rayburn, 19, attended Eva Carlston Academy from 2018 to 2019, and also claims she took part in “hot seat” sessions. She described one that took place early on in her year-long stay as being particularly disturbing.
It occurred, Rayburn says, in the basement of Eva Carlston. “Every single person in the room was just over and over and over shaming this girl, she was I think 13 or 14, she was in tears, she was trying to leave, and the staff wasn't letting her leave,” she tells Refinery29. “Her therapist was speaking, breaking all confidentiality, telling her all these things — that her trauma wasn't real, that she's faking everything. And I was about to start crying just being in the room. It was one of the hardest things I've ever had to experience.”

“I was forced to sculpt my rape... I also had to do that with my other sexual assaults, and that was not therapeutic in any sense."

Charlotte Rayburn
Another technique Rayburn recalls being used during group therapy sessions at Eva Carlston Academy was called “sculpting.” “A person would get up and they would take several people in the audience to act out certain things in their life,” Rayburn says. “I was forced to sculpt my rape.” She had to pick fellow students in her group to “play” her rapist and herself, and act out what had happened to her. “I also had to do that with my other sexual assaults, and that was not therapeutic in any sense,” she says. “The other girls had to do that as well.”
Refinery29 emailed a spokesperson for Eva Carlston to ask if they’d like to respond to either of Rayburn’s claims; they said they were unable to do so, citing the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) and saying that this and “analogous principles of confidentiality prevent Eva Carlston from divulging protected health information regarding its patients. Eva Carlston abides by HIPAA. The information you seek constitutes protected health information, which Eva Carlston will not divulge, even if it deprives Eva Carlston of its ability to fully address, let alone deny, these specific accusations.”
Kyra’s history of sexual trauma was part of the reason that she was sent to Eva Carlston, she says. But instead of being helped, she feels that she was re-traumatized when, she says, the school’s clinical director — who was not Kyra’s normal therapist — put her in Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, a therapeutic practice developed in the 1980s that “focuses directly on the memory, and is intended to change the way that the memory is stored in the brain, thus reducing and eliminating the problematic symptoms,” according to the American Psychological Association. EMDR has been recommended to treat PTSD by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the American Psychiatric Association (APA).
“I think I did just two sessions with the clinical director and it brought up a ton of detailed memories of events that I hadn’t remembered, which obviously triggered a lot and I started, not relapsing… but going backwards I guess,” Kyra says. Rather than getting support from the staff, however, Kyra claims that she was punished for her response to the therapy, saying she was put on watch and taken out of a specialty therapy group for trauma. “It was handled really poorly and I spent years after that working on these events that I was basically there to deal with,” she says.
Maya Friedrich attended Eva Carlston Academy from December 2014 to April 2016, and tells Refinery29 being put into EMDR therapy with the clinical director was a pretty common experience. “I did EMDR for one session with [the clinical director] and then I was like, Why am I doing this? I didn't feel comfortable,” she says. “I was kind of experiencing active trauma, so it was hard to do that, I guess.” She was at Eva Carlston the same time as Kyra, and remembers Kyra being taken out of the specialty group. “She questioned whether her experience qualified for [the therapy group],” Friedrich explains, “and then the therapist was like, okay, well then just don't be in this group.”
When Refinery29 asked Eva Carlston to comment on Kyra and Friedrich’s claim that Kyra was removed from therapy, a spokesperson said, “No student would be ‘punished’ by being excluded from a group, however there may be situations where a student is not being respectful of other group members and would be asked to utilize their individual therapist until they are ready to engage productively in a group setting.” Eva Carlston did not respond to Refinery29's request for comment about whether they use EMDR at their facility.
Former residents of Troubled Teen facilities have complained about more than questionable therapeutic practices. Hannah Kay, 27, attended Lighthouse of Northwest Florida in Jay, FL from 2007 to 2011 and now volunteers at Breaking Code Silence. The school has since been closed, some time after an article detailing the years of allegations of abuse made by students was published in the Tampa Bay Times. Kay says she was taken to the school in the night through an escort system, similar to the one Hilton experienced. Once there, she says she was strip-searched, forcibly showered, and then entered into the program against her will.
Kay recalls that one of the most insidious parts of her time in the program centered around eating. “I was naturally very skinny, and they would feed us tons of food,” she tells Refinery29. “It would make me sick, because I simply couldn't eat the amount that they would give me in the time that I was supposed to eat it in.”
Kay says that the staff would force her to finish her food at each meal, which often caused her to vomit. “I would get sick and throw up all the time because I would be stuffing my face with food when I was full,” she remembers. “They ended up giving me a paint bucket — like a five-gallon paint bucket. And I would just sit at meals with this bucket next to me and just throw up in it.” Staff members wouldn’t let Kay go to the bathroom alone, either, she says: “The staff really treated us like cattle. There were no exceptions. In this industry, the people, they're wolves in sheep's clothing.”
Rayburn also describes experiencing similar food-related issues at Eva Carlston Academy. “Some of the worst experiences were just random punishments that the staff would give us and these things called ‘interventions’ that they would put us on,” she explains. Rayburn claims that during one of these “interventions” she was forced to drink a 33-gram protein shake every few hours during the day, and then three more at night. “I had to drink those on top of all my food and everything,” she says. “That messed with my body so much that I developed IBS and would throw them up."
Friedrich says that she remembers some fellow residents at Eva Carlston being overfed and given protein shakes — but claims that others had the opposite problem. “The portions are very controlled,” she tells Refinery29. “For some people that was enough food and for some people it wasn’t. A lot of times I would be really hungry during the day and I struggled to manage my emotions because of that.” Eva Carlston did not respond to Refinery29’s request for comment about “interventions” or under-feeding residents, citing HIPAA laws.
Friedrich says that one of the worst parts about eating was the way that it gave staff members an opening to shame the students. “Having the staff members look over your shoulder and either give you consequences or shame you for having slightly too much rice on your plate, or forcing you to eat something that makes you sick was not, um, pleasant,” she says. “It completely destroyed the concept of intuitive eating for me.”
Given the allegedly dire conditions at these treatment facilities, it was not uncommon for residents to try to escape through various means. Rae, for instance, successfully ran away from Spring Ridge Academy, but was found by police within 48 hours, an experience she recounts on her TikTok page.
Friedrich, on the other hand, tried a different escape tactic. “I tried to jump off the balcony in front of Eva Carlston a couple months after being there because I was just so unhappy, and because I didn't have any unmonitored communication,” she said. “My ridiculous plan was to jump off the balcony and injure myself so I could go to the hospital and get out of there. I knew if I went to the hospital, I would be able to talk to people.”
Both women claim that they were punished for their attempted escapes. Rae alleges that she had her shoes and her right to use the bathroom and shower in private taken away, and says she was isolated from the other students. Friedrich says she received a mini “hot seat” of her own. “They did a group therapy session where the program manager and a bunch of the other higher-ups, who mostly do not have degrees in therapy, just told me all these things about how it was horrible for me to do that, and that it was attention-seeking,” Friedrich says. “There were very few things that I look back and think were therapeutic at all, frankly. It's just an overwhelming amount of carelessness when it comes to taking care of kids that you're supposed to take care of.” Spokespeople for Spring Ridge and Eva Carlston declined to comment on these specific incidents.

“My ridiculous plan was to jump off the balcony and injure myself so I could go to the hospital and get out of there. I knew if I went to the hospital, I would be able to talk to people.”

maya Friedrich
It isn’t only their own experiences that were traumatic. Rayburn also says that she watched staff restrain students at Eva Carlston — including a classmate who had autism. “[The classmate] would have these kind of meltdowns, where everything was just a lot for her, and staff decided to deal with that by violently tackling her,” Rayburn says. “She had to urinate on herself all the time because the staff would just refuse to take her to the bathroom. Then she would have to defecate on herself sometimes, and it was just really terrible.”
That same student, alleges Rayburn, tried to hang herself in her bedroom one night. “My best friend and this girl — they were roommates — and my best friend walked in and the girl was hanging herself by the chandelier,” she says. “Staff didn't call 911 — they didn’t do anything. They just took her down.” This wasn’t an isolated incident, according to Rayburn. “When I was there, there were several suicide attempts,” she says. “They never called 911, because they weren't allowed to.” A spokesperson for Eva Carlston declined to comment on these incidents, citing HIPAA laws.
These are just a select few experiences from a handful of schools, but there are undoubtedly countless more within the industry. It’s impossible not to wonder: How can these schools get away with this? The answer seems to be that the majority of them are hiding what they do in plain sight.
It’s no coincidence that a majority of these schools are located in the same states, like Illinois, Utah, Montana, and Florida, where a lack of appropriate legislation means they can escape rigorous oversight. It also helps that some claim to be religion-based, and “a lot of states do not require religious programs to be licensed, which means there’s no documentation of them at all,” says Jenna Bulis, an activist and survivor of the Troubled Teen Industry.
“There's a real lack of licensure and oversight,” agrees Oregon State Sen. Sara Gelser, who is working on passing more protective legislation. “The regulations are very inconsistent across states, but kids are very mobile and they get moved all around. The states that have the most lax regulatory requirements tend to have more programs pop up.”
Because state and third-party licensing requirements can be very lax, even facilities that are licensed in some capacity may still be able to hide mistreatment of residents. Provo Canyon, for instance, told Refinery29 that their facility was "licensed by the State of Utah, Department of Human Services; it is accredited by The Joint Commission (national accreditation of hospitals), and Cognia/AdvancED for academic services.” But recently, Utah State Sen. Michael McKell sponsored Bill 127, which proposed changes related to the state’s human services programs, including explicitly prohibiting peer restraints, strip searches, abuse, neglect, repeated physical exercises, and “discipline or punishment that is intended to frighten or humiliate.” The bill also increases on-site visitation requirements, requires facilities to implement suicide prevention programs, and requires them to report the use of physical restraints or seclusion within one business day after the incident. In February 2021, Hilton spoke out in support of the bill. It was signed into law in April.
Eva Carlston tells Refinery29 that they are a “fully licensed facility” that “actively cooperates with state licensing and regulatory boards to ensure its compliance with best practices.” Spring Ridge Academy did not respond to Refinery29’s request for comment about their accreditations, although on their website they say, “We address issues through the utilization of a thorough, multi-faceted therapeutic program. In addition we create a challenging but supportive academic environment with our fully accredited college preparatory school.”
As survivors of these institutions continue to speak out, the movement toward reforming them is growing ever stronger. Even so, there’s a lot of work to be done: On March 12, the Montana Senate Public Health, Welfare and Safety committee tabled Senate Bill 312, which aimed to close a loophole that allows religious residential treatment programs to operate without any state oversight. The argument was that this would infringe on religious freedom.
But, the legislation Sen. Gelser is working on passing in Oregon is similar to Bill 127 that passed in Utah. “It has very specific statements of what you can never do, no matter what, and very specific statements of what's required to be trained,” she says. “You would actually have to have a certification, and anything that's outside the bounds of that will be found as child abuse.” The goal for this specific bill — and many others — is not only for it to pass, but also for other states to be able to replicate it.
Whether or not the Troubled Teen Industry can be reformed and remodeled to get to a good place, is a different question. Some survivors are calling for total abolition of the system. “This industry needs an overhaul and many of these places need to be shut down due to their inability to provide actual trauma-informed treatment and care to vulnerable populations,” Hilton tells Refinery29. “When their treatment model is, and has always been, based on aggressive ‘behavior modification’ which results in punitive and humiliating punishment and abuse, reform can only take us so far.”
The ultimate goal, Hilton says, should be to implement increased oversight and regulation, reporting procedures, and training for frontline staff “so the programs that are abusive will reveal themselves and states can make educated recommendations to intervene for the safety of children.”
“We want children to be protected and safe. We want them to have their rights,” Kay says. ”That's the bottom line, whether that manifests as the entire industry being shut down, I don't know. But that’s the bottom line.”
At least some of the programs seem intent on maintaining the silence that allows the Troubled Teen Industry to thrive. Kyra and Rayburn claim that Eva Carlston has refused to give them sufficient records from their time at the facility. “They know that there's proof on these cards and on these staff notes of abuse,” Rayburn says.

"There's nothing more that we're afraid of than not being believed."

Charlotte Rayburn
Kyra says that while she’s glad to have received something, what records  Eva Carlston Academy has sent — including her psych evaluation and notes, individual and family therapy notes, group therapy notes, a master treatment plan and discharge summary, and her academic records — aren’t acceptable. “On face value, this may seem satisfactory,” she says. “However, I did not receive any records during the 16 months I spent at ECA pertaining to the following: records of taking and/or refusing any medication, individual medication consent forms, milieu notes (daily staff notes), any record of ever leaving campus, financial records and billing information, enrollment forms or contracts, consent to treat forms, or EMDR sessions summaries.” With the information she’s received, though, Kyra has been able to file a HIPAA report. “I think I could theoretically report to the police for harassment because they’ve reached out to family members after threatening to sue,” she says.
Rayburn, like Kyra, isn’t fully satisfied. “They didn't give me all of them,” she says. “All that they did was just give me some therapist reports and some psychiatrist notes, and that's it. They were supposed to give me my cards and staff notes, and they didn't. They also didn't tell me why.”
When Refinery29 reached out for comment on this matter, Eva Carlston said: “Providing the best possible care for teens and families who are struggling is the priority for Eva Carlston, and the vast majority of our clients have a positive experience. We are part of the mental health profession providing support for children, teens, and young adults struggling with a wide range of emotional and behavioral issues.”
Refinery29 also obtained a copy of a cease-and-desist notice that Eva Carlston sent Kyra, demanding that she stop posting about her experience on TikTok. Although Eva Carlston Academy did not respond to Refinery29’s request for comment about these allegations, Kyra has this to say: “They’re telling me that I’m lying and defaming [them] and I know what I experienced, but I just took it down because I can’t afford a lawyer. They’re still silencing me as an adult.” 
But, if there’s one thing this wave of voices over the last year has made clear, these former “troubled teens” can not be silenced — not anymore. They’re using their voices and their platforms — no matter the size — to speak about their experiences past and present.
“There's nothing more that we're afraid of than not being believed after everything we've went through,” Rayburn says. “Because it is unbelievable — it's unbelievable that this is going on in this day and age.”
Hopefully, it won’t be going on for much longer. Though many of the schools in this story are still operating — and still accepting hundreds of teens into their programs each year — scrutiny of them has increased dramatically, as has attendant legislation. “Not one more child needs to die of preventable causes in these centers,” Hilton says. “We've waited too long to take action, and now is the time.”
If you are thinking of sending your child to a residential treatment facility, please head to for a comprehensive list of evidence-based therapy programs and warning signs you should be on the lookout for as you search for treatment. If you are a former resident of such facility in need of support, please head to to check out their survivor resources and advocacy pages.
*Rae and Kyra have both chosen to keep their last names private.
This article originally stated Rae’s age as being 24; she is 21. The article also originally stated Danielle Bregoli had told Refinery29 that she’d been kidnapped in the middle of the night; the statement in question, in which she said she’d been “taken there against my will” and that transporters come “in the middle of the night,” came from a YouTube video. We regret the errors.

More from Wellness

R29 Original Series