Wilderness Therapy Program for Teens

Your Family is Our Passion

When your child is suffering from depression, engaging in dangerous behaviors, or declining in school, it affects the entire family culture. What may begin as a moderate challenge can easily become a serious crisis. Family systems are constantly changing as children develop autonomy, family roles become altered, and life’s challenges are experienced. These changes can often have a dividing effect on a family’s culture. Outback specializes in helping parents and their struggling teens come together to create healthy bonds, strong culture, and a united family. Outback offers comprehensive assessment and treatment for teens ages 13-17 in a multi-disciplinary wilderness program. Our short-term, intermediate treatment options place a strong emphasis on healthy relationships, increased self-efficacy, and a healthy amount of autonomy through skill-building.

Why Wilderness Therapy?

Various studies back the idea that wilderness programs for troubled youth work. In the proper circumstances, we see youth grow as individuals and progress toward properly being able to deal with their problems and make healthier life choices. This happens when a teen is able to separate herself or himself from their negative influences, detox from technological dependence and create strong bonds with others in similar circumstances as them. Wilderness programs really work to help teens on a group level as well as the individual level.

Outback uses wilderness therapy in order to create a positive environment for the teens to experience the growth they need for success out in the real world. For Outback, wilderness therapy means our students cultivate strong connections with both their family and their groups. They attend daily sessions and learn new ways to interact with the group. They also learn new ways to grow as individuals in both mind and body. They’re given specific goals for how they can improve themselves and their interactions with others. The students work day-in and day-out in order to achieve these goals.

In our program, teens will learn about important principles such as integrity, character and personal responsibility. In order to maximize the effectiveness of our program, we have Associate Therapists with the groups daily. The students get to take charge and problem solve as a group during their outdoor activities, but a field therapist is always by their side to help guide them through their day to day skill-building.

Strength-Based Approach

In addition to providing clinical oversight every day of the week, the strength based approach utilized at Outback is another factor that separates us from other wilderness therapy programs. Strength-based approach is a collaborative process that fosters student engagement and investment in personal outcomes. Our approach allows for students to discontinue seeing themselves as someone who is broken and encourages them to identify strengths and capabilities. It is an approach that focuses on supporting students towards a path of internal motivations for change instead of external motivations for compliance. Rather than taking a prescriptive approach, we act as mentors and teachers; our job is to help guide the students in seeing and acknowledging their own greatness.

At Outback, we only begin to see real, long-lasting changes when a young person decides for her/himself to start applying our daily workshop lessons in their life. We encourage our students to make positive changes in their life by pointing out their strengths. We would rather focus on what they are doing well and what they can do better than focus on what they’re doing poorly. These youth already know that they did something wrong and most of them understand that they’re continually doing something wrong. Pointing this out isn’t what they need. They need to be able to see what their strengths are and how they can change their weaknesses into strengths. This is the strengths-based approach that separates us from other wilderness programs for troubled teens.

Family Systems Program

The success of the student is strongly tied to the level of involvement and growth of the family as a whole. Students are often the identified individuals who are part of a larger system of dysfunction. Therefore, while our students are enrolled in our program, we work with and support the family system as a whole. Although the student is the one embarking on their nature-based healing journey, we believe that the whole family experiences different facets of the same journey. As such, Outback provides a robust Family Engagement Services opportunities that take parents through a built in parallel process called Family Journey Program complete with 16 – 20 hours of individual and group parent coaching sessions each month, a mid-stay Parent Visit, and more. Additionally, parents are provided with  readings and assignments that correspond to their child’s progress.

Families who wish and/or need to dive deeper into their family dynamics can opt-in for a three-day family expedition. This expedition is a single-family journey involving the parents, siblings, and student. Over the course of 3 days, the family will work with a therapist on addressing specific issues within the family system and obtain powerful assessments and tools for sustained progress.

What Parents Have to Say

“I cannot say enough about the positive impact Outback has had on our son. It is as if our family has been given a second chance at a healthy life together. We intend to make the most of it! I would recommend Outback to anyone considering a program of this nature.” 

Family is one of the most important things we have in this world. It can be heart-breaking when a family member acts out in anger, sadness or rebellion and we don’t know what we can to do to help them. At Outback, we believe that our wilderness camp can and will help give your child and your family the tools necessary to handle life’s problems and move forward together. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to us to learn more about Outback. Our program has a proven track record to help those in need for the long-run.

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