Wilderness therapy is a subset of adventure-based therapy. It implements the use of wilderness expeditions for the purpose of therapeutic intervention. There are a range of different types of wilderness therapy programs, with a range of models and approaches. Some lean toward a survival approach and some an Outward Bound approach. Their aim is guiding participants toward self-reliance and self-respect. The pioneers in the field of therapeutic wilderness programs were Larry D. Olsen and Ezekiel C. Sanchez at Brigham Young University; Nelson Chase, Steven Bacon, and others at the Colorado Outward Bound School; Rocky Kimball at Santa Fe Mountain Center and many others.
Many teens who attend this type of wilderness boarding school for troubled boys report the experience as being positive, beneficial, and enjoyable. They learn independence, patience, assertiveness, self-reliance, and maturity. Studies have shown continued improvement in behavior one year after attending wilderness therapy.
After a wilderness therapy program, students may return home or may be recommended for a therapeutic boarding school, Young Adult Program or an intensive residential treatment center.
Wood Creek Academy is an example of a therapeutic boarding school that would be an extension of an outdoor wilderness school. Although attending an outdoor wilderness therapy program like Outward Bound is beneficial, the advantage of an extended program like ours will provide lasting benefits without the disruption of having to transfer from one program to another.
We engage with Camp Bighorn in completing several survival type campouts, river kayak trips, and mountain bicycle trips for the outward bound experience.
We are licensed through the State of Montana Private Alternative Adolescent Residential or Outdoor Programs
Wilderness therapy, in it’s purest form, is a positive growth experience where troubled teens face natural challenges and adversities that are designed to be therapeutic in nature. Teenage boys are not merely thrown into the wilderness and made to suffer hardships. They are removed from their environment, encouraged, challenged and given every opportunity to succeed. Wilderness therapy programming is overseen by support staff that have experience and training.
Young men begin to change naturally when they are removed from environments filled with negative influences and that encourage self-defeating, reckless or self-destructive behavior. They enter the wilderness on a journey of self-discovery. Instead of rushing around, they learn to reflect and be still. In those moments when they are alone watching a sunset (and not a television), they discover their true self.
These approaches are widely accepted forms of treatment and intervention for both adults and teens. They are a viable alternative to traditional therapy, residential treatment programs and psychiatric hospitals.
Wood Creek Academy
It is an honor to be considered as a potential resource to help your family at this important time. Please contact us today for more information about our program and specifics about the customized solution we can offer your teen.