Our mission is to provide the best treatment programs for adolescents. We create environments that support healing, encourage growth and personal development. We are ALL in, every day, everyone of us, for every teen.   

At CERTS, we truly care about making treatment personal. We have built kind and supportive programs where intensive therapy and genuine care come together. Our approach is all about embracing each teen's uniqueness and using it to help them heal and grow. We believe in shorter and effective treatment that ensures long-lasting improvements in the lives of young people and their families.

Call us at 435-200-1125 to talk with one of admission counselors.

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CERTS Standards of Excellence 

Engaging Families

We prioritize family involvement with weekly therapy, coaching, on-site seminars, and tailored coursework. Trust and transparency are paramount, maintaining consistent contact between parents, their child, and the program.

Intimate and Personalized Programs

Our intentionally small programs create intimate, homelike environments for effective, individualized care, yet remain large enough to offer sophisticated treatment and social opportunities.

Exemplary Academic Experience

Our teacher-led classrooms not only challenge students but also successfully prepares them for their return home or college prep. Because we don't shortcut with packet learning or self-study, our  students discover or rediscover the joy in learning. 

Tailored and Specialized Approaches

CERTS programs each have unique niches and clinical approaches, emphasizing strengths and self-expression, whether through horses, animals, nature, creative arts, recreation, music, etc.

Fostering Joy in Transformation:

Engaging treatment leads to successful outcomes. Intensive clinical work requires the balance of laughter and play. CERTS Programs offer diverse activities, from outdoor adventures to animals, arts, and travel.

Holistic Individual Care for Better Outcomes

With research-backed expertise and over two decades of experience, we prioritize individual clinical attention. Our therapists maintain smaller caseloads, ensuring personalized care for each child's unique needs.

Varied and Effective Clinical Approaches

Our programs employ diverse, intensive clinical methods targeting unmet needs. Whether through trauma therapy, equine therapy, play or sand tray therapy, we provide comprehensive therapeutic experiences for all ages.

A Nurturing Environment

Guided by the Arbinger principles, our non-punitive, strength-based approaches foster nurturing environments. Team members are trained to see individuals as people, promoting support and understanding.

Cost effective treatment

Smaller means more personalized, and CERTS prioritizes cost-effectiveness, so we can deliver substantive care without inflated prices, making our programs generally more affordable than comparable programs.

What Challenges Do The CERTS Programs Help With?


Many students who enroll at CERTS have persistent feelings of loss of interest or sadness that characterize major depression. This can lead to a range of behavioral and physical symptoms, including changes in appetite, energy level, sleep, concentration, daily behavior, and self-motivation. Depression can also be connected to thoughts of suicide


Worry, concern, nervousness, and apprehension are completely normal in most stressful situations, such as taking a test or public speaking. Anxiety is an indicator of underlying disease when feelings become excessive, all-consuming, and interfere with daily living. Many students who enroll at a CERTS Program have experienced ongoing anxiety symptoms that have led them to withdraw from favorite activities, have trouble concentrating, or develop an avoidance of difficult or new situations.


Trauma is an emotional response from the body and mind to a difficult event. Immediately after the event, denial and shock are common to feel. Long-term reactions may likely include a range of unpredictable flashbacks, emotions, challenges to relationships, and even physical symptoms like headaches or nausea. In teens, trauma can lead to overwhelming feelings of shame and guilt, uncontrollable fear and trepidation, or a withdrawal from favorite activities.

Gender Dysphoria

Gender dysphoria is a sense of unease that a person may have due to a difference between their biological gender and their authentic gender identity. This sense of non-alignment or dissatisfaction with how they are perceived may be so intense it can lead to stress, anxiety, or even depression and can have a deeply challenging impact on daily life


Many of our students at CERTS have a history of self-harm. Self-harm is when you hurt yourself to deal with challenging feelings, painful memories, or overwhelming situations and experiences. After self-harming, a student may feel a short-term release, but the cause of their distress is very unlikely to have gone away. Most often, students have self-harmed by cutting themselves.

Suicide Ideation

A teen who is struggling with suicidal ideation might be preoccupied with the idea of suicide. They may regularly think about how they would commit suicide or what life would be like if they weren't around. They may also replay the suicidal act out in their mind.

Addictive Behaviors

Students who enroll at a CERTS Program might be struggling with addictive behaviors. This can include someone becoming extremely fixated and focused on something and developing an obsession regarding it. Addictive behaviors can include the use of substances, technology, social media, and even self-harm. The CERTS Programs are not a drug rehabilitation programs, but some students have often used substances for self-medication, leading to addictive substance use.

School Refusal

When a teen faces depression and anxiety challenges, they might feel too overwhelmed to attend school. A teen enrolling at CERTS is often missing school credits due to excessive absences.

Disordered Eating

While CERTS is not an eating disorder program, many students who enroll have a history of disordered eating. Some students might be restricting what they eat or binge eating, while others might have a history of purging.

Attachment Disorders

These are conditions that can develop in teens who have issues establishing a deep emotional connection. Since the quality of the attachment and bond profoundly impacts your adolescent's development, experiencing issues related to attachment can affect their ability to express emotions, develop trust and security, and build meaningful relationships later in life. Attachment challenges can occur in both adopted teens and those who are not.

Poor Peer Relationships

Many students at CERTS have struggled with developing and maintaining good peer relationships. Some have difficulty understanding the nuances of the give-and-take needed in social interactions. Others might have social anxiety, which keeps them from reaching out to peers, or they might not feel like they deserve close relationships.


Residential treatment is a level of care that combines 24/7 support staff, individual therapy, group therapy, and education. It is ideal for the young person who is making poor choice, is engaged in dangerous behaviors (e.g. cutting, eating disordered behaviors, drug or alcohol abuse, etc.) and/or who needs a high level of support for mental or behavioral issues. By contrast, acute care (hospital setting) is a higher level of care (typically for suicidal or extreme out of control states and shorter term) and therapeutic boarding (less therapy, less supervision, and longer term) is a lower level of care.

CERTS programs are more clinically rich than most programs for two reasons: first, we believe it gives us a better chance of getting at the core issues which drive behavior, thereby increasing the odds of your teen truly healing and making better choices in the future; second, we believe it also shortens the average length of stay, saving everyone money. Incidentally, we use the word “rich” to answer this question instead of “intensive” because of the types of therapies used by our therapists.Healing can be rewarding and often even fun!

Lots! Throughout the CERTS Programs, our clinicians use a variety of therapeutic modalities  For example, Art therapy is a mainstay at La Europa Academy. Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a useful therapeutic approach for teens struggling with emotional regulation and is used at all the CERTS programs. Equine-assisted psychotherapy (EAP or “horse therapy”) is a powerful way of reaching and teaching girls with a variety of issues and is used at both Kolob Canyon RTC and Moonridge Academy. Adventure therapy and a wide variety of experiential approaches (including sand tray therapy) is freely intermingled in order to reach our girls in the ways that work best for them at all of our programs. Moonridge Academy uses play therapy in ways that are impactful for the younger average age in that program. And all of the programs use traditional cognitive behavioral therapy (talk therapy) in many of the individual therapy sessions. Many of our clinicians are trained and certified in trauma focused therapies including EMDR and Brainspotting.  

CERTS believes there are two keys (at least!) to clinical success: having lots of therapy “tools in the tool belt” AND having the flexibility to use whichever one the therapist feels is best suited at that time. The first explains the wealth of clinical therapeutic options above. Then therapists in CERTS programs are encouraged to do whatever will be most impactful for the teen, meeting them where they are at to best address their clinical needs. 

Yes, parents and families are extensively involved in treatment. We believe that failure to heavily involve the family system would set up many of our teens to relapse when returning home. The vast majority of our parents are excellent parents. While not perfect, they have generally parented the best they know how. 

CERTS programs help youy learn skills to parent your teen successfully. Parents do homework that corresponds with the clinical work their teen is doing in the program. This is often subject matter for family therapy sessions. Parents also participate quarterly in a Parent Seminar where all of the parents come together and learn principles, share experiences in the Parent Support Group, do therapeutic activities together as a family, and more. The net result is that the whole family system shifts while a teen is in treatment—everyone emerges healthier, more open about change, and equipped to handle the challenges of the future.

The only person who can guarantee change is your teen.  We are quite good at setting the table in a way that is inviting for them to come and dine. Usually over a fairly short period of time the depth of your teen’s relationship with our caring staff and an expert therapeutic team causes this to shift inside, allowing them to embrace change.

One of the best “guarantees” of success is parents and family systems that are open to change. Parents that are willing to do the homework and look at themselves and their family system openly and honestly do more to predict successful outcomes than just about anything else.

The average length of stay in our residential programs is nine to eleven months. Obviously this will vary from student to student depending upon the depth of clinical need and their particular situation.  We have had some students complete our programs in less than 9 months and others who have needed longer than a year to address their clinical challenges.  

At Mountain Springs, students stay for at least 6 months.  Some students at Mountain Springs prefer to complete an entire academic year before moving on, while others prefer to stay for a semester.  

Although the CERTS Programs work with a broad range of emotional struggles and diagnoses, we always do our best to ensure that our students receive the support they need. We look at each student on an individual basis to ensure they are clinically appropriate.  Between the respective programs, there are additional factors that might make one program more suitable than another.

With this in mind, we are unable to accommodate the following challenges:

  • Current pregnancy
  • ASD Level 2 & 3
  • Sexual perpetrator
  • Repeated AWOL from previous facilities
  • Florid psychosis
  • Students requiring detox
  • History of aggression toward peers
  • Students who are medically unstable 
  • Actively suicidal or self-harming (Mountain Springs only)

Yes. All CERTS programs are approved by the Dept. of Homeland Security to take international students on a student visa.

While the process varies from family to family, there are certain things we always recommend to families to help them make an informed decision:

  1. Call an admissions counselor at 888-406-5968. A counselor can help you understand not only what type of teen does best at a CERTS program, but just as importantly, who is not appropriate for one of our programs.
  2. Your child will undergo a screening process, including a review of their psychological evaluation, IEP/504 Plan, medical records, and conversations with previous therapists, to assess their suitability for our program.
  3. If your child is approved to enroll, we would then encourage you to come tour our campus and meet our team in person. If you are unable to travel to meet us in person, we are happy to accommodate a tour virtually via video chat.
  4. Many of our alumni families have waived their right to confidentiality and will discuss their experience with you. You will find their stories inspiring and insightful into what their journey was like for them.
  5. If you decide that a CERTS program is appropriate for your situation, we will ask you to fill out the application, you will need to receive a link from our admissions team.
  6. You will be provided with a packing list and our admission checklist that includes items and documentation required by the state of Utah.
  7. You will be provided with a Service Contract to review and sign.  

New students are admitted as beds become available. While historically CERTS programs run full with a waiting list, there is also a seasonal element as well, with certain times of the year when beds are available without delay. These beds are always first-come, first-serve as long as all criteria for admission is met.

Coverage of residential treatment is now mandated by most state and federal laws. Most insurance companies require pre-authorization. They will pre-authorize if they consider treatment medically necessary. If an insurance company authorizes coverage, they typically do so in 3-7 day increments.  After this initial period, the insurance company will request additional clinical information to authorize additional days.  Once an insurance company determines that a student no longer meets their definition of medical necessity, it is likely they will deny authorization for the full daily rate of residential treatment. When the insurance company will no longer authorize the daily rate, some insurance companies will continue to pay for individual, family, and group therapy sessions.  If a denial occurs at any stage of your claims, the insurance billing company will attempt to assist you with an appeal.  Because the CERTS Programs are not a provider on any insurance, most insurance companies might reimburse at an out-of-network percentage of our posted daily rate.

We work with our third-party insurance billing company.  This company will provide all insurance services including authorizations, utilization reviews, and billing for all authorized days to your insurance carrier. If a denial occurs at any stage, the insurance advocacy company can also assist in an appeal if you choose to do so.  CERTS will make our clinical records available to assist them in the process of continuing authorization, utilization review, and submitting claims.  

Prior to admission, you will provide your insurance information.  By default, this information is immediately directed to our third-party insurance billing company.  They will contact your insurance to determine what kind of coverage you might have for residential treatment.  If eligibility for residential benefits is established, you should provide all needed information as promptly as possible and work closely with our billing company throughout the process. Our insurance billing company will initiate a claim and provide reasonable support to facilitate appropriate documentation for the benefit, including billing for applicable services.

Every insurance plan is different. It is important to familiarize yourself with your plan and the exclusionary criteria. Once an insurance carrier will no longer authorize the daily rate, our insurance billing company can continue to submit claims for individual, family, and group therapy sessions.  We do have families who receive benefits for their child’s care but it takes time and diligence. Our Clinical team strives to provide the necessary documentation to potentially defeat insurance denial. Getting insurance funds is a team effort! 

Can we help?  Call us at 888-406-5968 to learn more