After Wilderness Therapy: What Comes Next?

Wilderness therapy can act as a powerful catalyst for change, yet after a short stint in the woods, many parents are left wondering what should come next in order to sustain the positive changes that have been made. An initial thought for some is the idea of coming home but unfortunately, this is not always the best option. In the wilderness, your child has been able to be successful in a very structured environment with few distractions or temptations. The feelings of success that your child has attained will quickly be replaced with frustration and feelings of failure, because they are unable to maintain the positive behaviors that they did in their Wilderness Therapy Program. In fact, many families that elect to have their child go home often have to have their child return for an additional stay in the same wilderness program.

Luckily, your child’s Wilderness Therapy Program will provide professional recommendations about what type of environment your adolescent will be successful in post-wilderness. These recommendations typically include continued support in some sort of therapeutic environment such as a residential treatment center or therapeutic boarding school. Both of these offer therapeutic and academic support, as well as a keen understanding of wilderness therapy and the type of progress your child has made thus far. The right next placement will be one that values the growth your child has made thus far and can continue that forward momentum to create long-term sustainable change.


Residential Treatment Centers As An Option

Residential Treatment Centers are an ideal option after your teen has successfully completed a Wilderness Therapy Program. Residential Treatment Centers, or RTCs, provide a nurturing and supportive environment that will help your child take what they’ve learned in wilderness and translate that into ongoing and lasting success. One way to think of Residential Treatment Centers is as an “in between”: between the highly structured and clinically intensive environment of a wilderness program and the less-structured space of home life is an RTC. RTCs provide the best of both worlds: clinically Sophisticated programming; academic curriculum; and increased communication, contact, and visits with family members.

It’s also important to note that when parents hear the term “RTC” there can be confusion about what this means, as the term can remind caregivers of what they’ve seen and heard in pop culture or movies. Rest assured, private-pay residential treatment centers are warm and encouraging spaces for teens to learn and grow. Many times, RTCs feel and look like a therapeutic or traditional boarding school! Parents are pleasantly surprised to learn how welcoming residential treatment centers are, which highlights why visiting programs during the decision making process is so helpful.

Wilderness therapy is transformational! RTCs know this and work hard to honor the progress that teens have made in the woods while integrating them and the skills they have learned back into the “real world”. This transition is crucial for lasting success – for both the student and the parents. RTCs help parents practice and develop the communication and parenting skills they need to best support their teen as they emotionally mature.

Why Elevations RTC for After Wilderness

Elevations RTC is a premier Residential Treatment Center located just outside of beautiful Salt Lake City, Utah. The program helps adolescents ages 13-18 with their relationship-based model of care.

Elevations RTC provides a clinically sophisticated therapeutic program that utilizes an interdisciplinary approach. This means that your child’s needs are not solely based on a clinical diagnosis.

While this diagnostic information is critical, Elevations RTC also looks at how they can improve relationships – both family and peer – as well as improve their students’ self-esteem and self-concept. With college-preparatory academics, the students at Elevations can also ready themselves for whatever comes for their education, whether it is finishing high school or applying to college! Here are some of the other features that make Elevations RTC an ideal option for your teen finishing wilderness:

– As the only licensed and Joint Commission accredited program in the state of Utah, Elevations RTC is a place hundreds of families have trusted for the care, healing, and growth of their teens. Being licensed and accredited ensures that students are receiving the highest quality of care from their team of dedicated and experienced professionals.

-Elevations RTC offers an all-gender setting, which is something unique in the world of residential treatment centers. By including members of the opposite sex in day-to-day activities such as classes, meals, and off-campus excursions, students have the opportunity to practice healthy and appropriate relationships. The positive peer culture is similar to what your teen likely experienced in his or her wilderness program: a supportive and encouraging group that is designed to foster effective communication and shared insights.

-With a fun and engaging recreation and adventure therapy program, the students at Elevations RTC are able to take advantage of the diverse array of outdoor activities that Utah has to offer! From hiking and biking to camping and skiing, students will be able to utilize the skills they gleaned in wilderness and also learn new ones.

At Elevations RTC, the comprehensive approach to care allows students to build upon their transformational wilderness experience while developing the skills they need to be successful, wherever their future takes them!