Therapeutic Programs For Young Adults

Therapeutic Programs For Young Adults – Catherine Gibbons’ life was turned upside down in October 2018 when she skipped school, stole a liter of vodka and drank most of it on her way back from the grocery store. Worried about Catherine’s erratic behavior for months, her mother spotted the 17-year-old off campus through a phone tracking app. He arrived at the school to find his daughter slumped over and unconscious on the floor of the assistant principal’s office.

In 2018, Katherine Gibbons of suburban Chicago dropped out of school after drinking. His parents sent him to a wilderness treatment program in Oregon, and now the 18-year-old is back home and doing well, his parents say.

Therapeutic Programs For Young Adults

Therapeutic Programs For Young Adults

The school called 911 This is Catherine’s fifth emergency room visit in the past year “It was clear that what we were doing here was not working for him,” said his father, Mike, an infrastructure construction company executive with a thick crop of brown hair.

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His mother, Erin, is a stay-at-home mom who runs the family business on an acre of land in the Chicago suburbs. “Either he has to be buried—he’s going to die,” Erin said, her voice breaking—or we have to do something dramatic.

At the suggestion of a counselor who specializes in adolescent therapy, they sent two strangers to Evoke Cascades, a wilderness treatment program 1,600 miles away in central Oregon, to come to the hospital and keep their daughter semi-conscious. Catherine would spend the next 10 months in medical treatment, with just over three months in desert treatment

At Evoque, she lived out of a backpack with a small group of other teenage girls and staff His days consist of hiking, group and individual therapy exercises, cooking his own meals and sleeping outside under a tarp. It was cold and often rained or snowed – some days there was freezing rain. When she went to use the bathroom, she had to repeatedly call her name so the staff knew she hadn’t escaped. At night they collected everyone’s shoes for the same reason Catherine had no access to technology and kept in touch with her family through letters her therapist brought during weekly visits.

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“I was so mad,” recalls Catherine. “The first couple of days were really difficult for me because I was freaking out I denied. He eventually transferred to a therapeutic boarding school in Utah, where he stayed until his 18th birthday. He returned home last August.

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“I woke up in a hotel room and I didn’t know what I was – where I was. I was in a room with two random guys I thought I was a human trafficker or something. “

Catherine is one of an estimated 5,000 to 6,000 teenagers who find themselves in wilderness treatment programs each year. These programs differ from traditional drug addiction treatment centers, and wilderness programs may require that participants who come with a history of substance abuse undergo complete detox elsewhere prior to admission. For the most part, it’s the underlying emotional and behavioral problems — which parents decide they’re unable to manage — that bring teenagers like Katherine to places like Evoque Cascades. Most go from desert treatment to some form of residential treatment, which can last a year or more

Once plagued by corruption and allegations of abuse and death, the residential treatment industry has worked hard to reform itself over the past two decades, and stories of teenagers being handcuffed or assaulted or otherwise mistreated have largely — though not entirely — disappeared from the headlines. But even amid steady growth for the industry, some critics argue that such programs suffer from one serious and fundamental flaw: a distinct lack of scientific evidence that they work.

Therapeutic Programs For Young Adults

Largely, residential treatment takes many forms, from boarding schools with transitional living facilities and regular therapy to lock-down treatment centers with around-the-clock supervision. All are predicated on the idea that at some point removing children from their home environment and introducing therapy in a new setting can improve outcomes for troubled youth. “Wilderness therapy” programs like Catherine’s add an extra element, combining psychological counseling with a variety of outdoor activities, from simple hiking, backpacking, and camping to more adventurous fare like rock climbing and skiing. They are often marketed to prepare a child to accept a residential program

Wilderness Therapy Programs: A Comprehensive Guide For Parents

Many parents swear by these programs, insisting they save their children’s lives — and Gibbons is among them. “We haven’t seen her this good in three years,” Erin said of Catherine last February.

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Proponents also say that desert and other residential treatment programs fill a niche that other treatment options do not, providing long-term, intensive, often specialized care that helps youth reset and learn new coping skills. “We’re bridging the gap between some of the services that are out there,” said Megan Stokes, executive director of the National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP). Treatment programs Some states have reduced their budgets for pay treatment programs, while others do not. “

Mike and Erin Gibbons said the decision to send Katherine to wilderness treatment was difficult — both emotionally and financially. “But we just want him to have a healthy future,” Aaron said.

Critics of the industry suggest that many well-meaning parents make hasty decisions on such programs for their children, in times of crisis, and armed only with claims of efficacy provided by counselors and program operators who have financial stakes. Subject These critics argue that placement in residential settings benefits from the forced removal of troubled adolescents from their homes. And while some research suggests that residential treatment can bring short-term progress for some children, there is little evidence that such an approach offers long-term benefits over therapy provided at home or nearby and at much lower cost.

When I Was Labeled A ‘troubled’ Teen, I Obliged

The science supporting the addition of a “wilderness” component to adolescent therapy is even slimmer, critics say — and what there is is often tied to trade associations and conflicts of interest by researchers. As it stands, wilderness therapy programs typically cost parents $500 to $600 per day for weeks or months, plus several thousand for enrollment fees. Most adolescents also transition from outpatient treatment to other inpatient, residential treatment programs before returning home, with advice from staff therapists and other program operators. The Gibbons family estimates they spent more than $182,700 on Catherine’s 10 months of intensive care, counting fees to insurance claims specialists and lawyers. Of this amount, they have only been able to recover $32,200 in refunds Still, they say it’s worth it. “It was very difficult,” Erin said of keeping her daughter away. But we want him to have a healthy future. “

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Without solid evidence that such high costs are worth it, however, some experts argue that desert treatment programs remain a proven test and at worst a valuable dose of snake oil. John Weiss, a professor of psychology at Harvard University who specializes in mental health interventions for children and adolescents, said: “From the state of the evidence that I’ve seen, we really don’t know if desert therapy has a beneficial effect,” he added.

From the state of evidence I’ve seen, we don’t really know if desert therapy has beneficial effects. “

Therapeutic Programs For Young Adults

The lack of scientific evidence is partly why the free fees parents pay for these programs are rarely covered by insurance. Families who place teenagers in a traditional residential mental health treatment center are likely to draw some amount of insurance coverage—although they are routinely denied. Therapeutic boarding schools, which focus more on academics, often only qualify for hourly therapeutic coverage.

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Industry is now actively working to change this and underwrite studies and even subsidize academic journals for publication. NATSAP and the Outdoor Behavioral Health Services Council, a trade group specifically devoted to wilderness therapy, both conduct research on the effectiveness of wilderness therapy and similar programs—and they argue that they do it because no one else will.

“It’s an ethical responsibility to do research to see how we’re doing and how we can improve,” said Rick Heiser, owner and executive director of the Evoke Therapy Program. is Trade association

Residential treatment programs that emphasize outdoor experiences have a long history, and they seem to be rooted in an idea that many people take for granted: getting into that outdoors, and

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