Associate Field Therapists Provide Round-the-Clock Clinical Support at outBACK Therapeutic Expeditions
Prospective clients at outBACK Therapeutic Expeditions often wonder, “What sets outBACK’s program apart from other Wilderness Therapy programs?”
Among the handful of answers to this question is one of the most unique pillars of service offered at outBACK: the (AFTs). AFTs are clinicians living in the field with the students. While many wilderness programs assign each student to a primary therapist who works with them each week, outBACK offers the additional benefit of providing students with consistent access to licensed clinicians who are immersed with them in the field every day. This additional layer of therapeutic support ensures that students get the most therapeutic integrity out of their time at outBACK Therapeutic Expeditions.
Current Primary Therapist Jessie Brunelle, MSW, LCSW was once an Associate Field Therapist herself. With her professional experience as a Primary Therapist at a therapeutic boarding school coupled with her internal expertise as an AFT at outBACK, Jessie transitioned into a pivotal role where her responsibilities centered around the recruitment, training, and support of all Associate Field Therapists.
In regards to Associate Field Therapists, Jessie explains: “I think the most important piece that I see from working with them on the clinical team is that Associate Field Therapists are able to do in-the-moment coaching and therapy with the students, which is outside of the weekly debrief that the primary therapist provides.” Jessie explains that, when a student is struggling on the trail or experiencing emotional dysregulation, the AFTs are able to step in and guide the client into “strengthening the new neuropathways that they are working on building and helping them make a different choice in that moment that will be useful for them in the future.” She adds that the Associate Field Therapists help to bridge the moments between visits from Primary Therapists, giving students therapeutic assignments and skills that they would otherwise be waiting a week for. “outBACK’s Associate Field Therapist integration is training future Primary Wilderness Therapists,” Jessie adds.
outBACK, based in Lehi, Utah, is a wilderness therapy program that operates under an expedition model: students and staff hike together in their group and set-up camp for themselves wherever they go. These expeditions create a multitude of opportunities for students’ emotional growth— whether it’s a difficult hike or a strained relationship in the group, students are frequently faced with challenges which are often translatable to the barriers they experience at home and with their family. At outBACK, it’s crucial that these opportunities are met with professional, therapeutic finesse. While each group’s staff team consists of trained wilderness professionals, these pivotal moments are met by the Associate Field Therapists, who are able to step in and offer unparalleled clinical guidance.
About outBACK Therapeutic Expeditions
outBACK Therapeutic Expeditions is a highly effective, clinically informed treatment program dedicated to bringing families BACK together. Utilizing the wilderness as an alternative to traditional treatment settings, we guide students (13-17) and families in their process of reconnecting to Self, re-engaging with Family, and recommitting to Purpose. outBACK provides an innovative clinical structure designed to yield the highest clinical value for students and their families by providing access to multiple therapists for each student; Primary Therapists who oversee treatment plan and Associate Therapists who are in the group daily. outBACK is a licensed wilderness therapy program in the state of Utah and helps teens with various areas of difficulties such as depression, anxiety, trauma, family conflict, engagement in dangerous behaviors, neurodiversity, ASD level I, electronic and gaming addiction and more.