All Kinds of News for October 04, 2017
In the Footsteps program, Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness works with students, ages 10-14, to increase their understanding of the role they have played in family communication and conflict. Footsteps students frequently discover that they have felt misunderstood while expecting their family to understand things that they have not expressed openly. Repeated conflicts and resentment have resulted in students viewing those who care for them most as an opposing force. Feeling unsupported and misunderstood, students often develop patterns of behavior that have exacerbated the problem. By teaching personal responsibility and assertive communication skills, Blue Ridge assists students in taking steps toward mending their damaged relationships.
For Footsteps students and families, the parents’ work is particularly important. The opportunity to correct problems and repair family relationships has come at a pivotal time in the lives of these students, and the work they and their families do at this point will impact the students’ success through adolescence and young adulthood. When parents commit to their own progress and develop an understanding of their child’s treatment, the student and family can have the experience of being on the same team again. The work of parents involves being open, honest, and vulnerable with themselves, each other, the primary therapist, and their child. The anger, fear, sadness, and other difficult emotions all flow from parents’ care and concern for their child, and, when parents can be open about these emotions and express them in a way that is neither shaming nor rescuing their child, there is an opportunity for increased understanding and closer relationships. From a place of honest self-examination, parents can then set goals and begin to develop new skills and strategies.
It is commonly asked why wilderness therapy would be necessary to facilitate this kind of change. Families that are considering enrolling their child at Blue Ridge have often reached a point of significant conflict and struggle in their home, and yet, for a family to rebuild an atmosphere of caring and support for one another, the battles must be over. The moment a student arrives at Blue Ridge, the old patterns of blame shifting and conflict are disrupted. Not only are students in a new environment where their ability to focus on their own responsibility is optimized, but parents also experience the space needed to break the patterns they have developed in reacting to their child. The physical separation and the thoughtful process of communication through letter-writing are helpful in beginning the process of change. Parents have one hour weekly conversations with the therapist working with their child, and a great deal of insight is gained by both parents and therapist through this collaboration.
To ensure that parents feel supported and engaged in their own process of growth, Blue Ride Therapeutic Wilderness offers additional weekly parent support calls and an intensive parent workshop. In Footsteps, every action is intended to optimize the opportunity for parents and students to evaluate themselves and their relationships and to take steps that lead to greater understanding and a greater sense of fulfillment.
For more information on Blue Ridge’s Footsteps program for middle schoolers and pre-teens, please contact Primary Therapist Jeremy Nunnelley, LPC. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (828) 301-0304.
About Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness
Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness offers clinically driven programs encompassing advanced therapeutic skill, a highly flexible nomadic wilderness model, licensed wilderness therapy assessment and multiple treatment options for troubled teens and pre-teens ages 10-18 years old. Our individualized approach, family support and commitment to service translate to an unparalleled experience and better outcomes for adolescents and families.