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Call 1-800-560-1599 or email us now to confidentially discuss your situation with an experienced treatment professional to learn if Wingate is right for your family.

Address: 6746 East Hwy 89 Kanab, UT 84741 Phone: 1-800-560-1599 Email: [email protected]

Why Wilderness Therapy for Troubled Teens?

Wingate Wilderness Therapy - Teen getting a drinkTherapeutic 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.

A wilderness setting provides the epitome of experiential treatment, happening 24 hours per day, blended with traditional individual and group therapy sessions.

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 through overcoming the natural challenges encountered in the wilderness and the self- efficacy and esteem achieved in the process.

"...With no media, cell phones or trips into town, wilderness has a greater impact and a greater chance for long-term change..."

Call Wingate Wilderness Therapy today at (800) 685-3059.

At WinGate, we believe that wilderness therapy is an effective form of treatment because it combines established therapeutic practices with a wilderness environment that is itself healing. In fact, there are certain aspects of wilderness that act as treatment effect multipliers.

Treatment effect multipliers are certain factors, identified from psychology and counseling research, which magnify the effectiveness of conventional therapy. This means that treatment conducted in a wilderness setting can be more potent than treatment in indoor settings.

Wilderness therapy often works for clients who haven't had success with other treatments, works for issues that traditional therapies don't typically help and creates change more rapidly than conventional treatment.

It helps the most resistant teens become open to treatment, helps those struggling with denial about their substance use become aware of their addiction and willing to change, and helps those struggling with depression and anxiety to find lasting contentment and serenity.

Increased Attention through Wilderness Therapy

Wingate Wilderness Therapy - two hikers experiencing therapeutic atmosphereStudies have shown that more natural environments result in a higher capacity for paying attention. This means that nature and wilderness reduces symptoms of ADHD and improves attention for those not struggling with ADHD. This increased attention provides an opportunity for therapy to be more effective.

Any type of therapy relies on clients to be able to pay attention to the therapist, and many involve techniques to practice outside of the one-on-one session. In a natural environments, troubled teens are less distracted and more able to focus on therapy. This has direct results and improves the effectiveness of treatment.

Guided by the Arbinger principles of The Choice, our staff join with the teen to help them identify and change those parts of their lives that aren't working for them. Without the distraction of a levels system and with a focus on building positive relationships with our clients, WinGate does a better job of utilizing the attention-building aspects of nature than most other programs.

"...Several research studies have shown the benefit of wilderness therapy for a variety of issues, including substance abuse/addictions, depression, anxiety, AD(H)D, personality disorders, and motivation issues..." 

Call Wingate Wilderness Therapy today at (800) 685-3059.

Stronger Relationships through Adventure Therapy

When troubled teens leave their home and their social circle and go out in the wilderness, they have an innate desire to form friendships and seek mentors in the people they find. Relationships within the group form strongly and quickly as group members share the tasks of daily living in the wilderness. Because of this shared living experience, there is a unique opportunity for staff to form a closer helping relationship with clients.

Therapists also end up forming stronger relationships with clients in wilderness at a faster pace than in conventional inpatient settings. With a stronger therapeutic relationship as a foundation, the treatment process moves faster, and the therapist is better able to build trust.

These stronger relationships help decrease resistance to the therapeutic process. WinGate focuses on having staff develop a mentorship relationship with adolescents by helping them learn primitive skills. The absence of defined punishment/reward systems, levels, or aggressive confrontation as parts of our program set us apart in our ability to form positive relationships with our clients. This capitalizes on the potential for stronger relationships and helps win over even the most resistant troubled teen.

Wingate Wilderness Therapy - Group of hikers in recoverySelf-Efficacy through Outdoor Therapy

Wilderness therapy also builds self-efficacy. Through individual and group task accomplishment, troubled teens learn that they are not victims of life but active participants in the choices and future they create. From finally learning how to make a fire to finishing a hike they never thought they could, the young teen client grows in the belief that she can change, learn, and grow.

This translates to therapy, as once our clients have realized what they need to change, their increased self-efficacy as a result of the wilderness experience allows them to truly step up and put those changes into action. Many therapists also assign some kind of "homework" between sessions. An increased sense of self-efficacy makes it that much more likely that the teen will take, practice and complete that therapy assignment.

Wingate enhances the building of self-efficacy by truly helping our clients learn life skills. Every meal at Wingate is prepared by the student themselves, and in learning to feed themselves they are building self-efficacy in a real and tangible way that no rock-wall climbing could ever match.

"...Self-efficacy is key to creating a self-reinforcing upward spiral of change and growth, and the increased self-efficacy as a result of the wilderness process ensures that this process will happen in a relatively short period of time.."

Call Wingate Wilderness Therapy today at (800) 685-3059.

Therapeutic Program teaches New Philosophy/Way of Living

Every therapeutic treatment program tries to teach clients a new philosophy or way of living. For inpatient programs, they create a structure that encourages the clients to live a certain way. In short, a new philosophy or way of living is not a unique component of wilderness therapy. However, wilderness programs can teach one of several different ways of life.

If they have a levels system, they are attempting to teach students that if they behave in the right way, they will have much better consequences than if they behave in a wrong way. This sort of "behavior modification" sounds good in principle, but like most punishment/reward systems, the desired behavior fades away without consistent reinforcement.

Other programs, like WinGate, attempt to create a "heart change," or a desire within the young person to change themselves. Instead of tying the way of life in WinGate to just behaving correctly, we try to encourage troubled teens to want to do the right thing.

The core of the Wingate program is the Arbinger "Choice" philosophy, with which we attempt to teach our clients how to always see people (parents, teachers, siblings, etc.) as people, and not as objects. Instead of tacitly teaching troubled teens how to manipulate a system and act good, we try to help them shift away from viewing others as vehicles or obstacles to getting what they want. We also introduce our addicted clients to the 12 steps of AA which are themselves a new way of living.

Wingate is not unique in trying to teach a new way of living, but we do it well, we do it intentionally, and we do it in a way that creates less resistance. When clients adopt a new philosophy and way of living, it can magnify the effectiveness of any other therapeutic interventions and change their lives.

Taken together, these six treatment effect multipliers offer an explanation for how wilderness therapy can enhance normal therapy. Therapy in wilderness settings can be more productive in a shorter period of time as a result of these factors. While certainly they are not comprehensive, these each and in combination can create a strong, life-changing experience in our teenage clients by magnifying the effectiveness of traditional therapy. Wilderness therapy is a way and a place to do traditional therapy that produces dramatic results.

Call 1-800-560-1599 or email us now to confidentially discuss
your situation with an experienced treatment professional and
to see if Wingate is right for your family.

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