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Wilderness therapy programs significantly improve self-concept, reduce aggressive and self-destructive behaviors, enhance an internal locus of control, improve general family functioning, build interpersonal skills, and increase the ability to form healthy relationships (Cason & Gillis, 1994; Sachs & Miller, 1992; Russell, 1999; Sakofs,1991). This is remarkable, considering that the majority of participants in wilderness therapy programs are at-risk youth for whom traditional forms of treatment (inpatient, outpatient and pharmacological treatment) have been ineffective (Russell, 1999). Outcome studies indicate wilderness therapy is highly effective: mean admission scores indicate a population that is severely disturbed, yet discharge score are very close to normal (Russell, 2001). Adjudicated youth who complete wilderness programs are 2 -3 times less likely to recidivate that youth who do not (Davis Berman & Berman, 1994b; Gass, 1993). Wilderness therapy is more effective treatment for at-risk teens that other forms of inpatient treatment (Russell, 2001), and longitudinal studies indicate that wilderness therapy has excellent long-term results
All youth must have at least one parent, guardian, or foster parent who is willing to participate in all aspects of our parenting program, which includes 10 parent group sessions, multiple family sessions, community service and group recreational activities. We realize this is a huge commitment. We believe it is essential to each youth's success that a parent be deeply involved in their child's and their own personal growth.
We do not require families who live outside the Missoula area to participate in the weekly parent group meetings. Instead we require that these parents contract for counseling service in their own community. We do ask that all parents attend the family reunification weekend and graduation weekend (two, 2-day events).
* intense conflicts with family members, teachers, and peers
* trouble with the law
* self-destructive behaviors and beliefs
* low sense of self worth
* substance abuse
Has your teen fallen behind academically? Is he or she having a tough time staying focused on schoolwork? Our Missoula County Public School’s approved wilderness curriculum will help your teen get back on track. Teens are eligible for earning two high school credits during their six week expedition.
Our wilderness expedition curriculum consists of experientially-based field learning with foundations based on the following Missoula County Public Schools courses:
-Preparation for Career, Family and Community Connections, 1 credit
-Lifetime Activities, .5 credit
-Biology II: Ecology, .5 credit
Teens who successfully complete our wilderness expedition program are awarded two academic credits which can be applied to their transcript at their home high school. Course credit may be applied specifically for the course completed or as overall elective credits.
As a true wilderness expedition our month long backpacking trips traverse designated Wilderness Areas in Montana and Idaho.
After a three day solo the teen completes the wilderness experience, teens spend a full weekend engaging with their parents in therapeutically focused activities. Following this, the teens move to a homestead site just outside of Missoula and begin two weeks of community-based programming. They create and complete community service projects, and work to transition and solidify the growth they made in the wilderness into living in more normalized community setting.
Throughout and after the InnerRoads Wilderness Program we remain committed to providing each family with a variety of opportunities to ensure ongoing therapeutic support. Part of this commitment is asking parents to participate in family therapy either with our family therapist or a therapist from their own community. We work hard to support the youth and their families in the youth’s transition home or to the next placement.
We are happy to assist you in finding the help you need for your troubled teen or struggling child.
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