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Wilderness Therapy

Musings of an Admissions Director

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This is possibly the only phrase to have been bellowed by every parent since there has been an inside to go out of. What is out there? It is not difficult to imagine children returning to the stone hearths of antiquity; dirty-faced, tired, and ready for dinner, after having been out “there,” discovering whatever youthful mischief or adventure that can be conjured out of the minds of children. Our progeny have gone outside to play, reluctantly or with wild enthusiasm, to find their friends, or themselves; to define their social order, or sometimes to just to run through the sprinkler, since the beginning of time itself. Whatever the reason, every parent, at one point or another, has known that the answer is outside.

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Field Instructor Training November 8 to 14

Field Instructor Training November 8 to 14

Instructors are pivotal to the success of BRTW.  Field instructors work an 8-day on, 6-day off schedule.  For the entire 8 days, instructors hike and camp with clients in the National Forest.  The program serves youth “in-crisis”, ages 13-18.  Field instructors work with licensed therapists to deliver an individualized experience to every client.

The Field Instructor position is great for someone who wants to have a positive impact on youth while working in a beautiful outdoor setting.  BRTW is known for their outstanding instructors and a high instructor to student ratio.

Field Instructors are trained on wilderness and therapeutic skills during a 7-day Orientation trip and they receive continual training throughout their employment.

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wildereness therapy programs for troubled teens

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Everyone has a constant inner monologue running 24/7. You talk to yourself more than anyone else. And what you say in your mind shapes your self-esteem, which literally impacts everything in your life. That’s why it’s vital to boost your child’s self-esteem while they are young in order to provide an even brighter future.

What is self-esteem?

Self-esteem can be broken down into 2 words: self and esteem. Translation: How do you esteem yourself? Or more simply, how do you judge, regard, feel about, perceive, love or value yourself? This includes personal introspection about your character, qualities, talents, social skills, and body.

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Know where they are, who they are with, and what they are doing.

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Another way to be relational is to be aware of where your teen is, who he/she is with, and what he/she is doing. Get to know your teen’s friends. Monitoring their friends, either directly or indirectly, is also a protective factor against delinquency. If you teen is hanging out with delinquent friends, he/she is more likely to engage in those same risky behaviors.

Don’t be an intrusive parent (because autonomy is important to your child!), but ask questions and be in the loop about their life.

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Preventative Measures to Help Teens Avoid Risky Behaviors

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What a valuable, purposeful and honorable position you are in! Whether you’re a parent, family member, teacher, therapist, or friend, you have the opportunity to change a teen’s life! Perhaps you’re raising a pre-teen that has a wild side. Maybe you’re a teacher who wants to impact the students that spend most of their time with you. You might be a caring relative or family friend who understands the influence of positive relationships. You can change a teen’s future!

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Depression, Anxiety, and Bipolar Disorder

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Blue Ridge addresses underlying symptoms and chronic behaviors associated with mood disorders such as withdrawal from others, avoidance of positive activities and expectations, difficulty going to school, social and general anxiety, sleeping too much or too little, mood swings, suicidal ideation, and other issues that do not resolve within a few weeks or months in the home environment. The program itself is effective treatment for depression and anxiety, with normal sleep hours, daily exercise, and healthy food. The clinical treatment provides individual work on underlying issues, assertive communication, and frequent expression of feelings.

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The Admissions Process

1. Call us anytime! Getting to know you and your child is of the utmost importance to us and to the admissions process. Please speak with one of our admissions professionals so that we may learn more about your child and his or her specific needs.

2. After speaking with an admissions professional, please complete the application for admission.

Once your application is received, our admissions team will conduct a comprehensive application review. Each applicant is thoroughly evaluated by our team to determine appropriateness for the program. Acceptance is communicated to prospective families within 24 hours or less of a completed admissions review

3. Upon submission of your child’s application and program acceptance, you will be prompted to download the Participation Release Packet for Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness. Upon completion, please fax/email all release forms and additional required documents (the list of additional documents is provided in the release packet) to our admi

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Please be breathing, please…

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It’s 5:34 am, my eyes fly open, my heart is racing, and I jump out of bed as quietly as possible, I quickly go down the hall to his room, the entire time praying “please be here, please be ok, please be breathing, please be breathing, please, please.” I open the door and go to his bed. The little snore I hear is a thing of beauty. Pure and absolute joy to a mother’s ears. I stand with tears of relief pouring down my face. Oh how I love him, my son Scotty.

This man-child of mine, my first baby, my 6’2” 300lb 16-year old teenager with a child’s heart, a love for history, sketching, and storytelling and a fear of becoming an adult is fighting a battle that is insidious.

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Nomadic Wilderness as a Relational Model of Healing Substance Use

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I have worked in a multitude of treatment settings from sober living communities, drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers, a university, and most recently found myself in a new container: the wilderness. I assumed that this treatment modality would be similar to the other environments I have worked in, only, it was doing therapy out in the woods. It had been a long time since I thought about how being outside unquestionably impacted my childhood. However, it didn't take long for me to remember just how profound a connection to the wilderness can be. I see this vital relationship to the outdoors forming in my students, and I know that they are learning so much from it, just as I have.

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Negativity Bias in Family Relationships

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Negativity bias is a term used to describe the tendency of the human brain to notice problems or threats more readily than positive or beneficial situations. One theory on why this tendency exists is that it has historically had survival value. If, while sitting around the fire, we hear a stick break in the darkness nearby, some may dismiss it as harmless, and others may assume it is a wild beast looking to eat them. More often than not, those who panic are wrong, but the consequences of that are minimal. When those who dismiss the potential threat are wrong, though, rare as it may be, the consequences are deadly. Those who more frequently noticed dangerous situations were more likely to survive and pass on their genes. 

This pattern of focusing on the negative while ignoring the positive can have a devastating effect on our relationships. If we are not aware and active in countering our negativity bias, we may end up with the majority of our interactions with our children or other

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