Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness Presents at OBHC Regional Wilderness Therapy Symposium
Last week at the Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Council’s Regional Wilderness Therapy Symposium in Asheville, North Carolina, Blue Ridge Therapists Bob Hennen LCMHC, LCAS, Justin Messinger, LCMHC, and Lizzy Seib, LMFT shared presentations about best practices and benefits of working with substance use disorders and assessing autism in wilderness therapy.
Specializing in substance use and addiction, Bob Hennen is a Blue Ridge Primary Therapist for adolescent boys ages 13-18 as well as for individuals ages 18-29 in Blue Ridge’s Emerald Arrow program. In his presentation, “Recovery Before Abstinence,” Bob explained the modalities associated with adopting a harm reduction approach when working with individuals facing challenges related to substance use and addiction. The presentation emphasized the need for treatment teams to recognize personal biases and the benefits of empowering clients to make self-directed choices. Bob also discussed the ways in which therapists can build a strong rapport with clients by meeting them as individuals, beginning treatment from the level at which each individual is at present, focusing on clients’ strengths, and not holding abstinence as a precondition of the therapy.
In their presentation, “Seeing the Forest Through the Trees: Utilizing a Wilderness Therapy Model to Appropriately Assess and Diagnose Autism in Adolescents,” Family Therapist Lizzy Seib and Primary Therapist for adolescent boys, Justin Messinger discussed the extent to which ASD and other types of neurodivergence can be assessed and treated in wilderness therapy. During their presentation, Lizzy and Justin discussed how to identify personal biases surrounding autism and neurodevelopmental disorders, shared current data related to the misdiagnosis of autism in adolescents, and focused on key components of wilderness therapy which help to assess and diagnose autism, such as time spent in nature, wilderness skills, the therapeutic milieu, and the presence of a licensed mental health clinician. Lizzy and Justin will share their presentation again on Monday, April 17th at the Autism Symposium in Sun Valley, Idaho.
About Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness
Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness offers clinically driven wilderness therapy programs encompassing advanced therapeutic skills, a highly flexible wilderness therapy model, licensed wilderness therapy assessment and multiple treatment options for struggling teens ages 13-18 as well as young adults ages 18-29 in the Emerald Arrow program. Their individualized approach, family support, and commitment to service translate to an unparalleled experience and better outcomes for adolescents and families. To learn more about Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness and Emerald Arrow, visit www.blueridgewilderness.com or call the admissions line at (888)914-1050.