San Juan Wilderness - Therapy and Treatment

Our progressive treatment philosophy centers on the value of the therapeutic relationship between each student and each staff. We have witnessed the powerful positive impact of caring, honest, and consistent relationships with our students. We take our responsibility very seriously to serve these young people, their families, and communities with an effective and challenging program.

We use the backcountry portion of the program to foster an emotional connection between students and staff, to create a sense of belonging and family. The backcountry provides a nurturing, neutral and distraction-free setting in which students can heal from years of depression, anger, dysfunction, drug use, etc., and re-evaluate their beliefs about themselves, their families and their community.

Because greater emotional risks can be taken within the context of these effective therapeutic relationships, our students experience greater achievement on individualized treatment goals. Students may face fears & vulnerabilities that they have avoided with numerous distractions, addictions, and other behavioral problems. We also work hard to engender students' personal responsibility -- for every decision they make, every struggle they hold inside, every relationship they have. As a wise person once said, "No one is to blame. Everyone is responsible."

Our experienced and fully licensed therapists employ proven methods and techniques from person-centered therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, reality therapy, solution-focused therapy, and other vitalized approaches. Of core importance is always the therapeutic relationship, based on an honest ongoing conversation with the student about what works and what doesn't. Our students see that we truly care and are dedicated to their success. Inner work prompts meaningful insights. They begin to see that they can and will succeed because their life has value and that this life is worth the struggle.

Therapy focuses both on concrete behavioral change and processing of threatening emotions related to their symptoms. Students are encouraged to grieve losses, embrace personal assets, and engage in immediate change. Informed by the diagnostic assessment, concrete goals established in treatment planning are regularly reviewed.

Students’ individually tailored treatment goals are founded on a treatment milieu that is safe and consistently reinforces personal accountability with coping and life skill development. Because we work with one small group at a time, individualized treatment plans are tailored to the unique needs and issues of each youth. We believe that behavioral, emotional, social, and physical changes are intertwined and benefit from cognitive-behavioral therapy in context of wilderness living made safe and structured by caring adult leadership.

Clinical Treatment Components
Every student is provided these treatment opportunities:

  1. Individual Therapy -- one session weekly and as needed with a licensed therapist.
  2. Group Therapy -- three sessions weekly and as needed with a licensed therapist.
  3. Family Therapy – two hours weekly by phone with a therapist and through guided written correspondence between students and parents.
  4. Group Counseling – six sessions weekly with wilderness counselors.
  5. Individual Counseling – daily feedback and one session each week with wilderness counselors.
  6. Multi-Family Group Therapy - monthly according to Family Weekend schedules.
  7. Family Consultation -- as often as needed between parents and therapists.
  8. Case Management for students working with Educational Consultants, Therapists, Schools, and subsequent admissions staff for those students transitioning to another program.
  9. Comprehensive documentation of all clinical sessions.

    San Juan Wilderness
    Teen Therapy Program
    Experiential by Nature


San Juan Wilderness
Six to Nine WeekTherapeutic
Programs for
Troubled Teens and their Families.

  • Licensed Therapeutic
    Wilderness Program
  • Licensed Residential
    Treatment Center
  • Colorado Dept of
    Education Accredited
  • 12 Years Experience
    with Troubled Teens
  • Tuition $250
    per day

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