Outdoor behavioral therapeutic programs or “Wilderness” is an interventional therapeutic model that focuses on teaching students personal responsibility and accountability for actions and behaviors that are personally harmful and can threaten the very foundation of a family system. The underlying philosophy of Wilderness Therapy is to learn to live in community, to learn to trust and to learn to make good choices in life in ways that are not coercive or punitive. Atlanta Educational Consultants does not refer to “boot camp” or “brat camp” style programs.
Wilderness therapy programs abound in all parts of our country from the northern remoteness of Maine forests to the tropical lushness of Hawaii, as well as everywhere in-between. In addition to the tried and true model of bare-bones, hardscrabble trekking, wilderness programs include curricular components such as adventure trekking, sustainable farming, yoga, meditation and mindfulness training, nutrition and wellness, among other treatment modalities. Furthermore, programs exist for students with significant learning disabilities, Asperger’s Syndrome or other autism spectrum disorders. The clinical expertise is astounding while still maintaining a simple, theoretical model of intervention.
Atlanta Educational Consultants refers to programs based on the particular issues and challenges of the individual student. As Betsy Donnelly has spent quality time with overnight excursions at many wilderness programs, she has developed a thorough understanding of the various treatment philosophies available to students and families as they begin the healing process. With that commitment to delve deeply into the complexities of wilderness therapy, Betsy has built strong relationships with field and therapeutic staff ensuring that students are placed in a safe and effective therapeutic environment, with people who have knowledge and expertise to deal with presenting issues. Typically, a student’s length of stay ranges from 8-12 weeks varying with individual circumstances.