Therapeutic Services for WinGate Clients

Therapeutic services for WinGate clients

WinGate Wilderness Therapy offers therapeutic services for troubled teens and struggling young adults suffering from emotional and behavioral issues. Some of these issues include depression, suicidal thoughts, addiction, drug and alcohol abuse, and any combination of different mental health and/or substance abuse issues. WinGate's approach to helping teenagers and young adults is different than all the other programs of its kind. WinGate focuses on finding the very best solution for each client.

The focus at WinGate is on families. We strive to meet the needs of both the individual student and the needs of the family. Youth get this through depending on one another in a wilderness setting, where the group has to work as a team to fulfill their needs.

How Our Program Helps Troubled Youth and Families

Support and Leadership for Families - Our wilderness program is designed to assist, guide, and coach parents of struggling youth through an extremely difficult time. We know and understand how difficult this can be for both the child and parents. Let us help you by helping your child succeed.

Professional Staff Members - Collectively our staff has over 80 years of experience. We know how to help your child succeed. We have the very best people helping your child and our proven track record illustrates the success we will provide for your family.

Proven Track Record- We have had thousands of boys, girls and young adults take our courses over the years. We know how to help troubled youth find a new healthy direction in life. There aren’t words that properly describe the transformation that our students experience while addressing their issues in a wilderness setting.

Transition- It’s extremely important to us that the skills your child develops stick with them as he or she transitions back into society. We take on this kind of accountability in order to help them not fall back into old habits. We want to make sure that the changes we help make last for life. We provide help for the entire family in restoring a healthy environment after the official part of our program is over.

WinGate Treatment Approach and Theory

WinGate Wilderness Therapy programs are the leaders in the field of wilderness treatment, employing a variety of effective clinical approaches in helping our teenagers and young adult clients on their recovery journey. WinGate is designed specifically to employ the very best treatment approach for troubled teens and is designed to assist struggling young adults ages 18 -26.

These two very different programs focus on meeting the separate clinical needs of the two distinctly different age groups. We also focus on the families. The needs of the students are different, and the needs of the families are different. We provide our families with an individualized treatment approach and support their individual needs.

We specialize in working with teens and young adults who have a dual diagnosis. When working with the dual diagnosis we strongly believe in a systemic approach, which includes the family. Family treatment is imperative for long-term success.

How WinGate Can Help Troubled Youth

Our clinical team seeks to understand the underlying concerns that have led to the young person requiring our care and guidance. By understanding the whole person, rather than just a behavior, we can develop thorough and individualized treatment plans for him/her and the family to develop new and more effective strategies for future success.

WinGate serves young adults struggling with a variety of clinical, emotional, and academic issues. Our clinical team is experienced in working with a wide variety of clients but also have special expertise in addressing complex concerns that may arise. The strong clinical emphasis at WinGate makes certain that our clients improve in emotional and mental health during their stay and are well-prepared for the future.

Contact Us Today For Help

If you need the professional help that can make a difference in your child's life, then reaching out to WinGate Wilderness Therapy is the best decision you can make. We are dedicated to helping your child achieve sobriety and live up to their full potential. For more information, call WinGate today.

WinGate Therapeutic Group Therapy

WinGate Therapeutic Groups for young adults are specifically designed to help young adults, right where you are. At WinGate, we know the potential of group work. From traditional therapist-led group therapy to psychoeducation groups that teach our clients about different aspects of their mental and emotional functioning.

Our therapists and staff work together to help you get the most out of the therapeutic group. Every day, the WinGate staff run groups that help you focus on and learn about relevant issues in your life, helping you in the process of reorienting your life. There are several different types of therapeutic groups at WinGate:

Weekly Group Therapy

Every week, our therapists visit the group and conduct therapy groups during the layover days. These range in type and topic from discussions on the functioning of the group to group activities that are then processed. Our therapists often run innovative groups that will help you grow in understanding and awareness.

Substance Abuse Group

Our substance abuse counselors also come out to the group sessions once a week and run the group that specifically addresses substance issues. These range from psychoeducation group - teaching about the disease model of addiction. Additionally, the substance abuse counselors present motivational interviewing group which enhances your drive to get clean and sober.

The goal of the group is both to educate you about substance abuse and addiction, and to give you the tools for recovery. Our primary therapists also often address substance use and addiction in their group as well, meaning that clients attending our program gets much more substance abuse specific treatment than at many other therapeutic wilderness programs.

12-Step Meetings

The clients at WinGate run a 12-step recovery meeting for themselves every day. These range in subject, but usually involve readings from AA, NA, or other 12-step fellowship literature, and a discussion. Staff usually participate in these meetings, but they are generally run by the clients. Mornings also usually begin with a reading from a recovery-oriented book that gives you the opportunity to contemplate the issues they are seeking recovery from.


Windspeaks are intentional groups run by staff or clients that are not clinical in nature but that are therapeutic. These typically address some mental, emotional, or personal topic and help you to build self-awareness and to relate in a group setting. Windspeaks are not intended to single you out and are not confrontational in nature, but they do invite you to think about your values and how those values have been expressed through your actions.

You may be invited to run several Windspeaks by your therapist or by staff. It is a great opportunity to teach your peers and gain a deeper understanding for yourself.

Client-called Group

At WinGate, clients will have the opportunity to call a group whenever they feel there is some topic that they need to address on the group level. This is appropriate for a range of topics: it may be a personal conflict with another client or with staff, it may be something positive they want to share with the group, or it may be that they want help from the group dealing with some current mental or emotional struggle. The group dynamic is often one of the most healing aspects of treatment.

WinGate Family Therapy

One of the distinctive features of WinGate Wilderness Therapy program is the level of family involvement related to the overall treatment. We treat troubled teens and young adults AS WELL AS their families.

While the troubled teen or young adult is the one in the wilderness, our therapists make a point to involve the entire family in the therapy process.

From assessment to transition, the family participates in the treatment process. Whether you have a troubled teen or young adult and you are seeking help or your entire family, you will benefit from the high level of family involvement at WinGate. The greatest therapeutic success is found when the entire family is involved in the treatment process.

Family involvement in the therapy includes:

  • Therapist-guided weekly letters between family and client
  • Weekly phone sessions with the therapist
  • A family workshop
  • A mid-stay visit
  • A transition ceremony to mark the end of the client’s stay

From the beginning of the WinGate, experience parents are involved in the assessment and in weekly therapy sessions over the phone. Parents and clients are encouraged to send letters back and forth. Letters are delivered on a weekly basis.

Parents are asked to attend our family workshop and experience a mid-stay family therapy session in the field with the young person. This allows families to better understand our philosophy, develop a stronger relationship with the treating clinician and continue in developing new, healthier parenting strategies.

This mid-stay family visit is unique in the industry. We believe that having families physically present in the middle of the young adult’s stay at WinGate improves the course of treatment and helps in the process of recovery.

Testing and Assessment - Teens & Young Adults

In addition to the initial screening by a trained counselor and ongoing assessment conducted in the field by therapists and staff, WinGate also makes a variety of testing available.

Every teen or young adult for whom substance abuse is suspected is given the Substance Abuse Subtle Screening Inventory (SASSI-3), which identifies client's risk for having a substance use disorder.

We also facilitate many other types of testing by trained clinical psychologists. Please contact the Admissions team for pricing. There are many different types of the test made available at WinGate. These include:

Psychological Testing Provided In This Therapeutic Program

We make arrangements with independent clinical psychologists to do vocational testing. Vocational testing can be particularly useful for teens or young adults who may not have figured out what career they want to pursue. These assessments examine which occupations best fit with an individual’s abilities, interests, and personality.

For teens or young adults who are trying to reorient their lives and maybe deciding to pursue a career for the first time, vocational tests can be invaluable. Contact us for rates.

Academic Testing Provided For Young Adults

We can also arrange to have our clients tested for academic aptitude and achievement. Intelligence tests can help identify both a client’s real potential and can help identify learning disorders that may be blocking them from achieving that potential.

In addition, many clients have had a poor track record of academic performance as a result of behavior issues that may be may be distorting perceptions of their actual level of learning. Achievement testing can help highlight the academic areas where they have had success as well as those that still need some work. Contact us for rates.

Personality Testing Offered to Teens and Young Adults

Teens and Young adults and their families can arrange to have personality testing done through WinGate. These are the “standard” psychological assessments that can help identify psychological issues that the client may be struggling with such as depression, anxiety, bipolar, and more.

These assessments can be a good supplement to the psychological assessment done by the therapist and can help the process of therapy by highlighting areas to be addressed in the course of therapy. Contact us for rates.

Transitional Aftercare Programs for Troubled Teens or Young Adults

Our transitional aftercare programs for troubled teens and young adults set us apart from all other wilderness therapy programs.

At WinGate, we recognize that our programs may not be all that a student needs to integrate the changes necessary for ongoing recovery. We take the aftercare development plan very seriously.

Essentially, in almost every case there is the next step, and preparation for the transition is critical for long-term success. The teen transitional program is much different than that of the young adult transitional plan. The transitional plan must be customized for each client.

When it comes to the transition from the wilderness program to the next step of the journey we take an ultimate individualize approach, meeting the specific needs of each client and his or her family.

The transitional aftercare plan for the client is as important as any other service we offer...

One of the strongest areas of our programs is the unique way we work to transition our clients into their next step. Whether its an aftercare program (such as a therapeutic boarding school), sober living program, or back home, we work hard to make sure that the move is a transitional success.

The transitional plan has to be as smooth as possible to ultimately reinforcement of all that the client has learned. We want to make sure that our clients keep up the momentum they build in the wilderness. In order to make our client transitions as seamless as possible, we have designed certain program elements.

Transition Plan Takes Into Consideration Critical Elements
  • We work to maintain contact and communication with the client’s previous mental health provider.
  • We communicate with educational consultants or interventionists on a regular basis, producing a mid-stay report on the client that helps them decide the right placement for after wilderness.
  • If a client decides to go to an aftercare program, we get that program’s information to help the student be informed about the expectations of where they are going after wilderness.
  • We request and help the client begin the first level or the initial work of an aftercare program.
  • If clients are transitioning back home, we work to develop a strong aftercare plan including relapse prevention.
  • We work with the client’s home therapist to help maintain continuity after wilderness.
  • If clients are referred for a brief “tune-up” stay by another program, we make sure that the client does the work they are expected to and returns to their program promptly, motivated and prepared.

This aspects of our program help make sure that our clients leave well-prepared for life after wilderness and ensures that clients will continue the progress they have made in the wilderness.

Substance Abuse & Addiction Treatment

WinGate Wilderness Therapy programs specialize in working with troubled teens and young adults facing issues related to a dual-diagnosis.

We focus on treating clients with substance abuse and addiction issues through a clinical treatment program that provides special emphasis to treating the presenting substance issues as well as other mental and emotional issues.

We provide a wilderness program for clients suffering from addiction and substance abuse that addresses more than just one or the other of their substance issues or their emotional issues; we treat both with equal emphasis.

In addition to our industry-leading clinical program that thoroughly addresses our clients’ mental and emotional issues, WinGate has additional features of our program that specifically address the substance abuse and addiction issues of our troubled teens and young adult clients.

Substance Abuse and Addiction Issues

WinGate Wilderness Therapy offers:

  • Clinical assessment and testing for substance abuse and dependence
  • Regular groups run by experienced substance abuse counselors that address addiction and substance abuse
  • One-on-one time with substance abuse counselors to work with clients on their recovery
  • A recovery workbook for clients struggling with these issues
  • Client-led daily recovery meetings
  • A psychoeducational approach to the disease model of addiction and the Twelve Step model of recovery.

These services are in addition to the individual and group therapy sessions, which also address the client’s substance abuse issues. Therapeutic treatment in the wilderness offers a stark difference from traditional settings. The opportunities for consistent observation and intervention are uninterrupted by the day to day distractions of traditional settings.

With no media, cell phones or trips into town, wilderness has a greater impact and a greater chance for long-term change. A wilderness setting provides the epitome of experiential treatment, happening 24 hours per day, blended with traditional individual and group therapy sessions.

In addition, the remote wilderness setting offers fewer triggers, less desire for substances, and a higher likelihood of completing the program.

Participants in wilderness treatment have a greater capacity for attention to the process, develop closer and stronger relationships with staff and peers, and therefore more quickly gain insight into previous unhealthy behavior and begin to make appropriate changes.

This is further supported by overcoming the natural challenges encountered in the wilderness and the self-efficacy and esteem achieved in the process.