In the years since its founding, the Academy’s clinical leaders have joined professional and lay discussions about adolescent troubles, about diagnosis and treatment, about residential therapeutic schools and programs. We were among the earliest, in this era, to point to the developmental nature of many common symptoms, misbehaviors and other problems in teenagers referred to us. In these troubled young people we have called for (and put to our own use) a diagnosis of relative immaturity—much to be preferred to contemporary psychiatry’s symptom-cluster diagnoses (of “disorders”), which we find of little use. Moreover, rather than simply medicate teenagers for symptom relief, or apply a brief psychotherapy merely aimed at target symptoms, we long have argued in public discussions for a more complex, sustained, definitive treatment, whose aim is a restoration of developmental momentum and progress.

With support from the Montana Academy Foundation, we have piloted a measure of maturity (and immaturity) we call the Montana Adolescent Maturity Assessment (MAMA). We have presented data at national meetings to demonstrate that restored developmental progress strongly correlates with a reduction or elimination of symptoms, increased scholastic maturity and improved academic performance, an improved capacity for grown-up diplomacy with teachers and other adults, and reduced (or eliminated) need for pharmacological symptom relief.

What follow are recent papers and lectures (given locally, regionally and nationally) by MA professional staff for the purpose of public education.


By John McKinnon, MD:

McKinnon, J.A., MD (2010) Unchanged Minds—an informal lecture for selected students delivered at the Barksdale Honors College, University of Mississippi, Oxford, MI, on 18 September.

McKinnon, J.A., MD (2010) Parenting Troubled Teenagers, a lecture given for the parents of students enrolled at Pine River Institute, north of Toronto, Canada, on 17 May.

McKinnon, J.A., MD & Creighton, V., PsyD (2010) Transitions to Adulthood: Concepts, Issues, Strategies, joint lecture given at the Spring Conference of the Independent Educational Consultants Association, Toronto, Canada, 14 May.

McKinnon, J.A., MD (2010) Troubled Transitions–to High School, to College, and Back from Therapeutic Programs, a keynote lecture sponsored by PRI and delivered to a Collaborative Roundtable on Effective Care for Teens Struggling with Mental Health or Addiction Problems at York University, 10 May.

McKinnon, J.A., MD (2008) Unchanged Minds—Immaturity in American Teenagers, a public lecture sponsored by the Department of Psychology, Middlebury College, Middlebury, CT on 15 November.

McKinnon, J.A., MD (2008) Unchanged Minds—Immaturity in American Teenagers, Lecture given Grand Rounds given for the Harvard University Department of Psychiatry at Beth Israel Medical Center on 13 November.

McKinnon, J.A., MD (2008) A Forward to What Now? How Teen Therapeutic Programs Could Save Your Troubled Child, by Paul Case, PsyD, Franklin, TN, Cool Springs Press.

McKinnon, J.A., MD (2007) A Lost Ring—The Developmental Point of View, keynote address to the annual meeting of the National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs, published in JTSP Vol II (1).

McKinnon, J.A., MD (2006) Not Like Us: Developmental Obstacles in the Treatment of Substance Abuse in Teenagers, a clinical lecture given at the California Society of Addiction Medicine (CSAM) in San Francisco on 4 October.

McKinnon, J.A., MD (2006) Will’s Choice by Gail Griffith, a book review, JTSP, Vol I(1).

McKinnon, J.A., MD (2003) The Residential Treatment of Developmental Delay, Grand Rounds given at the University of California (San Francisco) Department of Psychiatry, Langley Porter Institute, on 3 March.

McKinnon, J.A., MD (2003) The Clinical Concept of Developmental Delay, a clinical lecture given at the annual meeting of the National Association of Therapeutic Schools & Programs on 15 January.

By John Santa, PhD:

Santa, J.L., & Moss, J. (2006) A Brief History of the National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs, JTSP, Vol I (1).