Definition: A phase system is a behavior modification program used in residential treatment programs for teens. It is used on a daily basis as a road map to help teens successfully work through the program by spelling out what behaviors are expected from them. This system is also referred to as a point, level or step system.
The phase system is designed to encourage positive behavior and responsibility for dealing with the issues that brought the teen into treatment. Expectations are spelled out and it's the teens' responsibility to keep moving forward in meeting the expectations for each phase. When the expectations of one phase are met the teen advances to a higher level with the approval of staff. If the teen does not maintain progress or gets into trouble, they are moved down in the phase system.
In meeting the expectations of each phase a teen earns privileges within the program in addition to increased responsibilities. In this way important skills are taught and the teen learns step by step how to make positive changes.