Help for Parents of Troubled Teens Including Information on Boarding Schools, Residential Treatment Centers, Therapeutic Boarding Schools and Wilderness Therapy Programs
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Traditional Wilderness Programs

The majority of traditional wilderness programs are founded on the premise of promoting personal growth through adventure. The challenges inherent in an outdoor setting offer an effective way for adolescents to achieve a sense of self-confidence, self-awareness, and personal fulfillment. More survival oriented in nature, wilderness programs provide the stimulus for participants to develop stronger life skills including decision-making, problem solving, goal setting, communication, leadership, and character development. Personal commitment is critical to a successful experience, and positive, willing attitudes are expected from all participants.

While traditional wilderness programs offer therapeutic value, they are not based on therapeutic models. A demanding, physical curriculum encourages spiritual awakening and an understanding of responsible risk taking, yet there is no express emotional growth component. The wilderness setting can help participants access a deeper understanding of self, but the therapeutic value derived from the experience is a self-realized product, rather than an intentional, focused outcome facilitated by clinically trained counselors.

Students who participate in traditional programs are usually bright, responsible, and motivated. Though a few may be struggling in terms of self-confidence, they are not exhibiting at-risk or defiant behaviors. Wilderness programs serve as a rite of passage for this more traditional child to physically and emotionally test individual boundaries while gaining confidence and developing a more conceptualized sense of self.

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