A Residential Treatment Center for Adolescent and Teen Boys

Our innovative residential treatment program and school in Benton, Tennessee, for adolescents and teens were developed to help young men heal and grow. It combines extraordinary outdoor experiences, daily functional fitness activities, empathetic individual and family counseling, and exceptional educational rigor to help build greatness. Our facility focuses on the ability and willingness to engage in relationships as a key indicator of success.  

It’s become clear that adolescent and teen boys can’t thrive in today’s environment, which is dominated by technology, food that negatively affects emotional and intellectual well-being, and an often sedentary lifestyle. We work with boys who are struggling with anxiety, depression, social challenges, and learning differences. Our goal is to inspire a new confidence in them as well as a new way of being through a shift in how they learn. We illuminate a better way to educate young men and forge the path for mighty leadership skills to develop. 

If you’re looking for a residential treatment center for adolescent and teen girls, we have programs that serve those youths in White Haven, Pennsylvania, and Springville, Utah 

Take a Tour 

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Mental Health Treatment

Anxiety, depression, and suicide are on the rise, and young people are at risk today more than ever before. Too many adolescents and teens in and near Tennessee go through life struggling with these and other mental health issues.  It doesn’t have to be this way. 

Conditions We Treat 

Inpatient Treatment and Therapies Offered 

Our facility's mental health services are highly recognized. Specialized inpatient treatments and areas of focus at our Tennessee location include:  

Our Therapists and Team

Diane Stern

Position: HR Director
Diane Stern has over 25 years of experience working in human resources in both the healthcare and telecommunications industries. Diane has been responsible for different aspects of HR such as recruiting training, benefits and compensation where she focused on ensuring the HR function supports the overall strategy and goals of the larger organization. Diane graduated from the University of Tampa with her Bachelor’s degree in English Literature. She recently relocated from the Pacific Northwest and now resides in Eastern with her husband and three dogs and has three children who live in the PNW, Indianapolis, and Florida. Diane enjoys Pilates, painting, shopping, and reading.

Diane Stern

HR Director

Jake McNelley

Position: Residential Director
Email: [email protected]
Residential Director, Jake McNelley, manages all aspects of the milieu with a smile. Working as Assistant Residential Director from August 2021- September 2022, Jake has a withstanding history of excellence in leading and developing teams. He brings these skills to the Residential Department alongside his steady and secure therapeutic relationships with both our staff and students.

Jake McNelley

Residential Director

Chris Johstoneaux, LCSW

Position: Executive Director
Chris has 22 years of experience working with adolescents in residential treatment, therapeutic and boarding school settings. Having worked as a Therapist, Administrator and Program Staff, Chris specializes in building appropriate relationships with students and families and the clinical assessment and treatment of a wide variety of therapeutic challenges. Chris has consistently and successfully worked with students, parents and professionals to support families and change lives. Chris earned his Masters Degree in Social Work at the University of Utah, and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker is several states. When Chris is not working, he and his wife are busy with their five boys. He is an avid sports fan and is often found enjoying the outdoors and watching soccer.

Chris Johstoneaux, LCSW

Executive Director

Kristen Thompson

Position: Clinical Outreach Specialist
Email: [email protected]
Kristen Thompson joined Embark at The Forge in February of 2021. She has a foundation in purpose-driven work. Her background includes experienced work as a Marketing Coordinator with a demonstrated history of working in both print and digital media, and social media marketing. In addition, Kristen has been working with children in and out of the school system for nearly a decade. She has a longstanding education in Cultural Studies, and it is the combination of these varying backgrounds which led her to her current role at The Forge. As the Admissions Director, she has the integral opportunity of supporting families through the emotional road of finding the right care for their child. Within this role comes marketing and meaningful content development. Providing a consistent and clear message to educate families is organic to this process. She believes the best way to approach life is to show up with an open mindset and she structures this into her engagement with the families that Embark at The Forge supports.

Kristen Thompson

Clinical Outreach Specialist
Dr. Cassandra Simms 1

Dr. Cassandra Simms

Position: Psychiatrist
Dr. Cassandra Simms is board certified in Adult and Child/Adolescent Psychiatry by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. Dr. Simms received her medical degree from the University of Kentucky in 1999. She completed her Psychiatry Residency and Child/Adolescent Fellowship at the University of South Carolina. During her residency, she served on the Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee, Residency Selection Committee, and was chosen to be Chief Resident for the Child & Adolescent Fellowship Program. In May 2004, Dr. Simms moved to Chattanooga Tennessee with her family where she started her professional career with Focus Psychiatric Services, Inc. and Parkridge Valley Hospital treating children and adolescents in an outpatient and inpatient setting until August 2012. In August 2012, Dr. Simms took a position with Community Health Systems via Skyridge Medical Center now known as Tennova Healthcare in Cleveland Tennessee. She provided outpatient care to adults and children at Behavioral Health of Cleveland and inpatient care to adults at Pineridge Treatment Center (Tennova Behavioral Health) via acute hospitalization, inpatient consultation and intensive outpatient programs until August 2015. It was in August 2015, Dr. Simms transitioned to her outpatient private practice as a co-owner of Comprehensive Psychiatric Care, PLLC in Chattanooga Tennessee. She has been joined by several therapists and a Nurse Practitioner to provide services to our beloved community. Dr. Simms collaborates with Healthconnect of America to provide supervision to nurse practitioners in the surrounding area and with Allied Behavioral Services, Inc. to provide consistent medication management services to their clients. In November 2020 while continuing her outpatient services, Dr. Simms was thrilled to join the Embark Behavioral Health’s newest program, The Forge School, a behavioral residential treatment center for boys in Benton Tennessee. She will serve as the Psychiatric Service Director to oversee and provide the psychiatric care to the residents referred to the facility. During her 17 years as a provider, Dr. Simms has also found a passion for teaching students through her clinical experiences. In 2009, Dr. Simms became a faculty member with the University of Tennessee School of Medicine where she briefly served as preceptor for medical students for a portion of their psychiatry rotation. In 2012, Dr. Simms contracted with Lincoln Memorial University’s Physician Assistant program providing their behavioral health clinical experience. Dr. Simms hopes through her current clinical experiences that she can continue to educate upcoming providers and provide them with a thorough clinical psychiatric experience. This is with the hope to make upcoming providers aware of the need for good psychiatric care in our communities and to reduce the stigma associated with mental health.
Dr. Cassandra Simms 1

Dr. Cassandra Simms

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Insurance Reimbursement 

Residential treatment at our Benton, Tennesse, center is frequently reimbursed by insurance plans. To determine if your insurance plan will cover the cost of inpatient care, contact our team or fill out ourinsurance verification form. We’ll work with your insurance company for free to help you understand your benefits. Let us help you demystify insurance coverage for residential treatment. 

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Why Choose Our Residential Treatment Center in Tennessee? 

We’re not only preparing adolescents and teens for the road ahead cognitively, physically, and emotionally but also taking into consideration their overall sense of being. This holistic educational experience with tactile and engaging life skills will help develop a deeper understanding of each youth’s core sense of self and initiate positive behavioral change.  

Our program offers sophisticated inpatient mental health treatment and care: 

  • Frequently reimbursed by insurance. 
  • Full-time child and adolescent psychiatrist with over 22 years of experience. 
  • Tailored evidenced-based treatments and therapies. 
  • Holistic nutrition education; chef-prepared cuisine. 
  • Ten hours of group therapy weekly.
  • Individualized two-hour individual and family therapy weekly. 
  • Personalized academic assessment and credit recovery. 
  • Daily functional fitness activities. 
  • Weekly adventure therapy experiences. 
  • Psychiatric medication review. 
  • Psychological/educational evaluation.
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Residential Treatment in Tennessee and Across the Country

Embark at The Forge is proud to offer residential treatment in Tennessee and across the country. We provide a unique developmental framework that allows us to heal and strengthen the functional, mental, and physical strength of your child alongside other adolescents that come from many different backgrounds and upbringings. Our peaceful, therapeutic environment in the mountains of Tennessee and high standards of treatment provides the perfect environment for your child to work alongside other pre-teens and teens from all over the United States to overcome difficult mental health issues.

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Adventure Therapy and Experiential Activities

Our program uses the healing power of the outdoors to help your son reconnect with his body and emotions while fueling him with nutrition that reduces inflammation and helps his brain integrate the therapeutic work he’s doing. Daily functional fitness and adventure therapy activities engage the hands-on, tactile nature of your child so he internalizes what he’s learning, which builds confidence and self-esteem.  

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White water rafting 

Strength training  






Rock wall climbing  

Mountain biking



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Service projects  



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Movie theaters  

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Arts and crafts

Music therapy

Equine therapy

REC therapy

Daily Schedule Highlights

Our Tennessee center offers highly specialized residential treatment specifically designed to meet the needs of adolescent and teen boys struggling with mental health issues. Our facility’s Tennessee location was designed knowing that individuals and families heal best in homelike environments filled with a sense of safety, nurturing, comfort, and well-being.  

Our daily schedule provides a balance of healing therapy, experiential activities, and school that can help youths create lives filled with joy. Here’s what adolescent and teen boys can expect during a day at our residential treatment program in Tennessee.  

8:30 a.m.

9 a.m.
Group Therapy

10 a.m.

12:30 p.m.

1 p.m.
Experiential Activity

2 p.m.

3:30 p.m.
Adventure Therapy

6 p.m.

6:30 p.m.

9:30 p.m.

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Residential in Tennessee FAQ

During residential care, adolescent and teen boys will live at our beautiful residential treatment center in Tennessee and participate in a schedule of activities centered around treating mental health conditions and healing. Some of the benefits of residential care at Embark are that it‘s more affordable than long-term care, the 90-day average length of stay means young people can more quickly transition back into life at home, and it’s frequently reimbursed by insurance. 

The main differences between our residential care and a typical inpatient treatment program are the treatment environment and length of stay. Our beautiful location in Benton provides adolescents and teens with residential treatment in a healing, nurturing setting and a schedule that mirrors home life but with therapy mixed in throughout the day. Inpatient treatment usually takes place in a hospital environment. Our facility also provides a longer treatment time, lasting around 90 days on average compared to an inpatient hospitalization stay that often lasts for several days. 

The length of treatment differs for each adolescent and teen, but on average, residential treatment at our Tennessee center lasts around 90 days. 

Adolescents and teens from all over the United States can come to our Tennessee facility for the intensive 24-hour care it can provide for a wide range of mental health issues. For youths who have safety issues or a lack of support at home or who need a high level of care after an inpatient hospitalization or outpatient treatment, our residential treatment center can be a good option. 

Our residential treatment is necessary when your adolescent or teen’s mental health needs are too great for outpatient care or when they’re stepping down in treatment intensity, for example from an inpatient hospitalization program. Residential care can also be a good option if someone feels unsafe at home or is trying to break out of a negative daily routine. 

It can be hard for adolescents and teens to think about or accept going to a residential treatment center to address their difficult mental health issues. Help motivate your child to embrace this type of treatment by asking open-ended questions about their situation and how this experience could improve it. Reassure them you’ll provide support by participating in family therapy during their stay and maintaining regular communication with them while they’re at the facility. Share success stories from residential treatment programs. We’re happy to provide a few testimonials from our Embark locations. 


Embark at the Forge
Based on 53 reviews
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Peter KearnsPeter Kearns
22:27 07 Dec 23
Went here for stimulant addiction and for mental health issues this place saved my future and I'm glad I decided to go when my dad asked if I wanted to get help definitely recommend if you actually want to better yourself 🗣️
Julie AllenJulie Allen
21:26 05 Dec 23
A skilled and compassionate team of professionals and a huge support for our family during some of our hardest times. We are grateful for Embark Benton for helping our family begin to chart a better path forward.
Christine WamboldChristine Wambold
18:40 05 Dec 23
This is the season of thankfulness. When I reflect back on this past year, my family was faced with great challenges. My 16 year old son had sank to a dark place you never want to see your child go. After 2 acute inpatient behavioral health stays and attendance at an IOP program, my child still needed help that I could not provide him. Upon extensive research, we ended up at Embark at the Forge. No parent wants to send their child away to an unknown, nor does a child want to be away from their home/safe place. Embark at the Forge is an amazing comprehensive program. My son, while not perfectly cured, is in a much better place after his 70 day stay than he would have been having never made it to the beautiful mountains of Tennessee. Every staff person that I encountered was professional and truly cared about the treatment plan of my child. The staff interact with the children at their level and build a trusting relationship with them so that my child felt like he could confide and share his feelings and experiences. They are firm and hold the children accountable for working on their treatment plans. While being over 700 miles away, communication with our family was amazing. They offer a weekly parent support group which I highly recommend taking advantage of. I cannot say enough wonderful things about his Therapist Taylor and the Medical Director, Doc Simms….. Thank you all for your work to get my child in a much better place.
Brian BlazakBrian Blazak
02:21 25 Oct 23
Embark has exceeded all of our expectations. I was skeptical of sending my son to a residential treatment center. From the moment we entered the building we knew we had made the right decision. The staff is there for more than a paycheck. They are invested into these youg men. They are patient and genuine. If you believe this facility may be something your son may benefit from you will not be disappointed.
David Lund DesignDavid Lund Design
15:30 10 Sep 23
The comprehensive and overall quality of care our son has received at embark has been amazing! We feel he's in the right place, with the right people, and getting the right care. Every day he can spend with them is a gift to him and the family.
Rebecca FlemingRebecca Fleming
19:04 07 Sep 23
I can not say enough about this place and the people that work here. They have gone above and beyond expectations and have treated my son like family.
Rebecca LevineRebecca Levine
16:54 07 Sep 23
Embark completely changed our lives. My son felt understood and heard and the staff was amazing. He learned how to express himself and the psychiatrist got him on the proper medication. He started high-school today and I felt so positive and confident that with the new skills he learned from embark he is ready! Thank you
Tracey HawkTracey Hawk
14:54 14 Aug 23
Scott RubinScott Rubin
19:18 04 Aug 23
This place is AMAZING! The are ALL caring for the family and very understanding! My son came home a few weeks back and he has been doing AMAZING!
Dean FosterDean Foster
19:53 11 Jul 23
Embark Behavioral Health at Benton, Tennessee is an exceptional facility that goes above and beyond to provide comprehensive, personalized, and compassionate care. From the dedicated staff to the comfortable surroundings and emphasis on continued support, every aspect of the center reflects a commitment to the well-being and recovery of individuals seeking help. I wholeheartedly recommend to anyone in need of exceptional behavioral health services.
Heather SchafferHeather Schaffer
16:00 27 Jun 23
The care here is excellent from the staff and clinicians to the beautiful scenery and well-kept living space.
20:35 25 Jun 23
My 17 year old son was struggling with depression, anxiety and OCD. He was not on track to graduate from high school and was not leaving our home for extended periods of time. After extensive research on help for teens, I found Embark Behavioral Health. From the moment I spoke with an Admissions Coordinator, I was put at ease. The entire process of getting approved for treatment to what treatments they offer to follow up care was explained to my son and I so explicitly, that no questions were left. Once my son made the verbal commitment to the coordinator to accept help he was off for treatment at The Forge in Benton, TN. He HATED it!!!! Seriously HATED it!!! On the first day he could call me he had me ready to jump on a plane and go save him. After the therapist talked me out of my plan of flying to TN, he explained why my son was not happy. The fact was my son needed so much help and needed to be away from home to get the treatment that changed all of our lives. Day by day, he hated it less and less. Day by day, the pieces of the puzzle came together for my son and once he grabbed a hold of those pieces he completed his 90 day treatment plan in 54 days. It took 54 days for the staff at The Forge to find my son, treat his issues with therapy, teach him the tools to cope with his challenges and help him find his confidence, peace and happiness. At the same time the therapist at The Forge was treating my son, they were treating me as well with weekly family virtual calls. Teaching me the whys to mental health. Building my confidence in my mothering skills and dare do I say giving me back my power to be the mom I wanted to be. This was a team effort. Then the support group. The other parents of the other kids at The Forge were just like me. Tired, scared, sad, but hopeful and loved their kids with every fiber of their being. We started a group chat and were real with each other. They also understood my challenges (and I understood theirs) and finally I had a group that I could be real with and not just share the good moments like you see on social media platforms. Four months after meeting each other at The Forge for a parents weekend, we are still supporting each other with the challenges and celebrating the victories! Talking about victories, my son graduated from high school this past June! The Forge got him back on track and when he got home in April he continued and passed all of his classes with A's, B's and C's. He and I speak so often about his experience at The Forge and what they did for him (us). He talked about the days of him "hating" it and now when he thinks back he really loves all they did for him. It was an amazing experience. A once in a lifetime experience. A chance for him to put aside all his worries and concentrate solely on himself. Plus the food! The meals were prepared by chefs and he loved every meal. These kids are treated so special with so much care and respect by the entire staff. He told me his wish was to go back to TN to thank the staff for all they did for him. Since we couldn't physically visit The Forge, I made arrangements with the staff to have a virtual call with my son (complete surprise for my son) on the day of his graduation ceremony. He was able to see the staff and personally thank them. After the call, he told me how proud he is to be one of their success stories. My son starts college in a few weeks and he is now looking into the psychology program to be a therapist. His goal is to work for Embark Behavioral Health at The Forge and help other kids succeed too.If your son or daughter is struggling and you don't know where to turn anymore, call Embark. They understand and trust me when I say they will help your child and the whole family!!!!
Barbara MckellipBarbara Mckellip
21:43 17 Jun 23
I have visited Embark several times. The facility is always clean and welcoming. The staff are courteous and knowledgeable. The chef is an excellent cook and the meals are healthy and well-balanced. I can suggest you visit this facility.
03:23 30 Apr 23
Must say during my 93 day tenure it was quite a rollercoaster of an experience. The daily coaching staff are a group of absolute exceptional people that make the most meaningful connections with teens there throughout their stay. Overall the medical / therapeutic care is great. The most important part to me while I was there was the other teens you met and connected with and the daily coaching staff are held to extremely high standards. Overall would highly recommend this facility to anyone struggling that thinks short term residential is necessary.
James SmithJames Smith
18:30 22 Mar 23
Unfortunately, our family finally came to the decision that my oldest son needed some additional help. We initially chose the Forge because they only cater to adolescent boys, and the positive reviews that were written online.Although the day we dropped our son off was probably the hardest day of my life, I'm thankful that we made the decision to do so. He was dealing with depression and ADD issues, and he just wasn't quite getting the care he needed at home.It's hasn't been a full week yet since we picked him up, so I can't quite comment on the full end results. I am however very optimistic, and think we made a good decision sending him to the Forge. Our weekly sessions with Faith were great, and I'm hoping we all learned something from this experience.
Afton NordeanAfton Nordean
19:33 13 Feb 23
I am the PTO President of a local elementary school and the staff at the Forge School in Benton, TN have been incredibly generous to our school. When we reached out to request a donation for an upcoming school event, they did not hesitate to offer support. We are so thankful for this organization and their willingness to support the community and its students.
Michael RodriquesMichael Rodriques
00:56 21 Jan 23
The first 3-4 days were challenging in terms of our son’s resistance and stress about being at The Forge and we had hoped for more frequent communication (daily) from staff about how he was adjusting. The “not knowing” was a difficult adjustment. That said, the staff is truly committed and the best advice I would have for other parents is to “trust the process.” When your child has that breakthrough moment, it’s just the best. It NEVER comes soon enough; was 3+ weeks in for our son. The greatest testament is the fact that our son who strongly resisted the program in the beginning now regular speaks of how much he learned and grew from the program. He told his hometown therapist today that his psychiatrist at The Forge was a “wizard” in terms figuring what works for him from a medication standpoint and his therapist was “really good.” Our description of his therapist is “amazing.”I think the part of the program that needs work is the education piece. The online only program is not very effective for children already struggling with issues that can divert their attention. Our experience tells us an in-person instruction program is a must. Our son essentially received zero credits for classes taken & thus has to go thru a remediation program to catch up.
John MasgalasJohn Masgalas
13:10 14 Jan 23
The entire staff at the Forge is amazing. Our son has made so much progress since going there. They have all been so great! He loved the food and got to be great friends with the staff and therapists. I would recommend the forge to anyone.
21:54 13 Oct 22
While we wish our family had not gotten to the point of needing residential care for our son, we are so thankful to have discovered The Forge. The success of The Forge stems from the wonderful people who make it what it is. Its beautiful location on the Hiwasee River is the perfect setting for struggling teens to be able to step back from their home life and be supportedby peers who are going through similar issues. Our son spent around three months there and was truly sad to leave. He loved the food, loved the campus and activities, and made meaningful connections with so many staff members. His therapist was great at connecting with him in a way that had been lacking in his previous therapeutic experiences. We felt like the staff truly cared for our son and that they were supportive of all the boys trying to grow and become their best selves in this truly trying time. The monthly on-campus family weekends were helpful and we looked forward to participating. Our experience with The Forge was overwhelmingly positive and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to another family.
Teresa EbelTeresa Ebel
02:50 06 Oct 22
Thank you will never be enough!10 months ago it became frighteningly clear that my 16 year old son, Philip, had a drug and alcohol problem far greater than your average teenager experimenting with what life had to offer. At the same time it also became abundantly clear to me that my parenting skills were, without question, lacking as well. Around Thanksgiving, I began researching treatment centers and by December 4th, Philip began his first stay at an inpatient treatment center. He spent 90 days at his first facility, which was a good facility, but there was something lacking when it came to the transition from an inpatient program, where there was professional support every hour of the day to home where there was daily parental support and once week therapy. 3 weeks after his discharge, Philip had his first relapse. At this time, he was attending an outpatient program once a week. Then came 2 more relapses, a trip to the ER and the 2nd inpatient program. This program presented well online, however, the facility was poorly run by staff that weren’t properly trained and very unorganized. Philip, who is not a violent person by nature, lasted less than a month before he was discharged for fighting a peer.HERE IS WHY YOU SHOULD CHOOSE EMBARK AT THE FORGE!Finally we landed at Embark at the Forge, where Philip began to receive the mental health services he needed and my family began their true journey to recovery. Not only was the staff clearly educated, well trained, organized and adept at their jobs; the love and understanding they had for my family’s heartache was overwhelming and clear from the very start. The team that was involved in the therapeutic modality, residential facility, medical treatment and academic facets of Embark's program came together to form a group of people who clearly understood what Philip was going through and more importantly what he needed to succeed in treatment and in life. The therapeutic experiences fostered natural leadership skills in Philip that I never knew existed. His therapist acted as a guide through a very thoughtful and constructive self-reflection process that was uniquely meaningful to Philip. Philip's therapist instilled a sense of ownership his recovery that I am certain will stay with him the rest of his life. The weekly family therapy educated us on how to communicate with one another and helped me begin the process of becoming the parent Philip so desperately needs me to be. The off campus activity staff not only exposed Philip to new outdoor experiences with his peers, they made what could have been a lonely and depressing time, enjoyable and exciting. Even the chef in the kitchen was a part of Philip's treatment, simply by befriending him and allowing him to help out in the kitchen when Philip showed an interest in cooking. The medical staff sent weekly updates on medication, vitals etc... The psychiatrist that evaluated Philip, spent over an hour discussing Philip's history with me. The clinical director led a parent's group during a "Family Weekend" that put parents at ease as he listened intently and guided us through an insightful discussion about our individual experiences. When it came time for Philip to come home, the staff was more than supportive, helping me to find a therapist for Philip and guiding me through how to support him when he returned home. I am not exaggerating when I say every member of the staff, the clinical director, the residential support/activities staff, the grounds keeper, the chef, the medical staff, the office staff etc. played a part in our journey and were incredible role models for Philip during his stay. I am overjoyed with Philip's progress and filled with admiration for Embark's staff and the program they run.Our experience with Embark At the Forge has instilled a confidence and peace of mind in Philip and I that will not be forgotten as we move forward in our lives. So I truly mean it when I say,“Thank you will never be enough!"
Kelly HardKelly Hard
17:06 06 Sep 22
The Forge is the third program my son has attended and the one that seems to have really gotten him engaged and on a different path. We wanted a program that offered multiple therapy types with group, adventure, individual, etc. and where when mistakes were made they worked through them productively, empathetically and as learning experiences without harsh discipline. My son's individual therapist is incredible and has helped our family learn how to operate better and support each other in co-parenting as we are divorced. The coaches and staff were fantastic and really worked with us as a family to make the best of a difficult situation, and I can even say there were some fun moments along the way. Food, accommodations, visitation policy, etc. all top notch. I am very grateful my son was able to be a part of this program.
Michael SwisherMichael Swisher
18:25 24 Jul 22
We could not recommend this place any more highly. The level of professionalism and organization is impeccable and the staff is warm, welcoming, and supportive. They provided top notch support and therapy to our teen and to us as parents as well. Four weeks out and things continue in a positive direction, thanks to Josh Nordean and the rest of the staff there.Their therapeutic model is superb and provides a level of consistency across and between staff and also gives us a guide for our interactions at home. And the mix of group, individual work AND outdoor activities is a highly effective way to engage young men who struggle with so many things.Food was apparently excellent, with the cook even preparing our teen’s favorites on request (empanadas - thank you!). Our teen still drools thinking of the meals there.THANK YOU!
Johanna CollinsJohanna Collins
23:00 21 May 22
We sent our son to Embark at The Forge and were sure from the beginning to the end that it was the right choice and quite frankly the best choice we could’ve made. We scoured the internet and talked with providers for/about any short term residential places. We often stopped our search at reviews, finding bad reviews to other places that contradicted their websites.The Forge is what it says it is and its awesome!I didn’t worry with him there because I knew he was receiving such extraordinary care! I would recommend The Forge to everyone!The staff is committed to caring. Experienced and well equipped to work with adolescents,they create an atmosphere of dynamic inclusion amongst the kids, making their time away from home more like a summer camp experience than a mental health intensive. Their care is intentional and appropriately intense, however, including effective daily group therapy, regular basketball fun, opportunities to take it all out on the punching bags, hikes in the beautiful environs and times of respite in the bamboo forest. Our son wasn’t even that into sports or outdoor experiences before his time in TN! But he embraced those things at The Forge through the positive influence of the staff and the through the comraderie of his fellow residents.He struggled quite a bit while there as his symptoms continued and sometimes worsened. The medical and psychiatry staff exhibited genuine concern and compassion. I felt like they loved him as their own. They worked with him carefully on medication adjustments and listened to him. His counselor and other staff stayed by him, sat with him, engaged gently and encouragingly, accepting him most on his toughest days.And when we went to pick him up after our insurance ran it’s course, he sat with us, the staff and the other boys for a ceremony in which everyone shared their encouragement for him and what positive things they saw in him.I saw that he had actually found a space in which he could experience what it felt like to thrive. I felt like I had my son back, out of the shadow of the sickness under which he’d been suffering for so long.Home now for almost four months he is doing much much better than when he entered The Forge experience. He continues to mine his lessons there and to apply the mantras and themes he learned. It definitely left a lasting, positive impression on him and we are so very very thankful!Thank you everyone: Kristen, Mike, Abby, Josh, Andrew, Natalie, Stue, Cassandra and the myriad of other staff! You have helped to make a huge difference and have changed our son’s life! We are forever indebted to you!!!
Mike MaetzMike Maetz
19:21 28 Sep 21
My wife and I found The Forge when we were searching for a short-term residential facility for our teenage son. I cannot say enough wonderful things about their entire staff! Due to multiple circumstances (mainly due to the specific care our son needed) we ended up placing him in a different facility in another state. They are caring and passionate about providing the RIGHT care for the young men in their care. They have a beautiful, welcoming campus that is a site to behold. I would not hesitate for a second to entrust any of my family members in their care.
Jenny RobertsonJenny Robertson
20:06 24 Aug 21
I don’t think I can thank the people at the Forge School enough for all that they have done for our son. We have struggled for years to find an organization and people who truly loved what they did and put together such a good program. When we arrived from out of state to drop off our son, it felt like being greeted by family, Forge staff members were outside and there to welcome us. I was very nervous about leaving my only son in TN, but after meeting everyone there that day, I knew we had made the right decision. Our son suffered from trauma in his earlier life, yet it was never fully addressed. The Forge School used advanced therapies such as brain spotting that were life changing for our son. The staff there were always kind and responsive. We had regular family therapy and always were given detailed updates on how our son was doing. Upon our son returning home things have been significantly better. The outbursts have all but stopped and he is much more responsible, respectful and has much better self-esteem. Their psychiatrist is one of the best! She was able to adjust his medications, so that they worked to help him, both at school and at home. I found it incredibly difficult to find a place to help our son. He needed help emotionally and so many places seemed to focus on rehabilitation which was not an issue with our son. He’s happy now and so are we, that’s all we’ve ever wanted! Thank you to everyone at The Forge School, we will be forever grateful for all that you have done for our son!
Trent HardinTrent Hardin
20:07 20 Aug 21
Our experience at The Forge School was above and beyond anything we expected. They have created a safe, caring environment for young men to grow through compassion, empathy, and firm boundaries. Communication was always on point. We never felt uninformed. The staff is absolutely phenomenal. It was clear to us that they truly care about every young man there. Counseling and family therapy using the CASA Model taught us as much as it taught our son. I could go on for hours... Bottom line, I would recommend anyone I know, and any family member who is at a crossroads with their teenage boy to not hesitate for one second, and send their struggling young man to The Forge School.
Ryan HoganRyan Hogan
16:14 12 Sep 20
The Forge School has all the elements to bring healing and restoration to young men in need. The leadership of Joe Barnard is what brings all of the elements together. I got to know Joe during his selfless service to our country while he was stationed at Moody Air Force Base. He has the character, passion, and determination to lead young men at the Forge School to become productive and contributing members of society. I could not recommend the Forge School more highly for families that are needing a place for a young man whose path needs realignment.Ryan M. Hogan, M. Ed.Director of AdmissionsValdosta State University

A Continuum of Mental Health Care Offered Across the U.S.

Family enjoys time together after talking about mental health treatment for anxiety and depression at Embark Behavioral Health.

If residential programs don’t offer the level of care your adolescent or teen needs, Embark Behavioral Health offers a range of exceptional treatment and therapy options across the United States. 

From virtual counseling to outpatient therapy, our robust continuum of care will provide the right level of treatment to help your child overcome difficult mental health challenges.    

Contact us today to learn more about our programs and how they’re changing the lives of adolescents, teens, and young adults across the U.S., helping them embrace a fulfilling and purposeful future.   

Start your healing journey

Call or fill out the contact form below.

Phone: 423-375-4173

Embark Behavioral Health

5842 TN-30

Benton, TN 37307


  • Monday 9:00 AM–7:00 PM
  • Tuesday 9:00 AM–7:00 PM
  • Wednesday 9:00 AM–7:00 PM
  • Thursday 9:00 AM–7:00 PM
  • Friday 9:00 AM–5:00 PM
  • Saturday 7:00 AM–3:00 PM
  • Sunday 7:00 AM–3:00 PM

Read more about our treatment outcomes.