Interview Episode: The Troubled Teen Industry with Emma Lehman

Special Guest: Emma Lehman

Emma graduated from UCLA in 2022 with a B.A. in English and minors in Global Studies and Professional Writing. She hosts, produces, and reports for  Gooned, which is her second investigative podcast. When she's not making podcasts or writing, Emma can be found roller skating around Los Angeles, embroidering, taking photos, or annoying her cat Garlic.


Journalist Emma Lehman is the creator of the independent podcast Gooned, which dives into the Troubled Teen Industry or TTI – a network of for-profit congregate care facilities for youth ranging from wilderness programs to therapeutic boarding schools. In the podcast, Emma interviews survivors, parents, staff members, experts and activists.

Across the USA, young people are funnelled into this $23 billion industry not only by their caregivers but by government agencies. While these places advertise themselves as solutions to everything from troublesome conduct to mental illness, Emma shares through Gooned that they are ground zero for emotional, physical, and psychological abuse with lasting traumatic impacts on the teens they say they serve. And a number of the dubious and damaging methods many of them use can draw a straight line to a cult.



February 21st, 2024

35 mins 44 secs