Prompt, Multi-Disciplinary Assessment at Blue Ridge Leads to Comprehensive, Individualized Treatment
To provide the most effective and individualized treatment in wilderness therapy, Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness provides multiple layers of in-depth assessment early in a student’s stay. This results in stronger case conceptualization, tailored treatment, and distinct goals for discharge planning. Within days of a student’s arrival, the Blue Ridge treatment team synthesizes observations and clinical assessment from a myriad of specialized roles across the organization to provide a clear assessment and treatment plan for the student’s time in the wilderness.
Field Instructors collect observations from the field and spend extensive time with the Primary Therapist in order to determine how a student is orienting to the program. What is observed in the first several days after arrival is critical in determining a students’ approach to challenges and provides a baseline assessment to help monitor growth.
Blue Ridge’s Psychiatrist, Dr. Mark Braunstein, conducts an initial consultation with every student within several days of enrollment to understand their history. This allows the program to provide a thorough intake and psychiatric assessment with a more targeted pharmacological perspective. Dr. Braunstein’s initial consultation considers the student’s medical and clinical profile to best determine what their needs will be. His assessment and involvement with each student establishes a comprehensive baseline, provides a safe container to safely manage and/or alter medications and builds trusting relationships with students who may be treatment-resistant, all so that the program as a whole can improve how they respond to student needs.
Blue Ridge’s Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Lorena Bradley, Ph.D. administers an in-depth clinical intake assessment within the first 10-14 days of a student’s arrival. Dr. Bradley meets with each new student and provides an assessment report to their Primary Therapist, Family Therapist, and Therapeutic/Educational Consultant. Dr. Bradley’s “second set of eyes” allows the Primary Therapist to begin with even more information at hand as they develop an individualized Master Treatment Plan for each student. Dr. Bradley makes recommendations about the student’s appropriateness, initial diagnostic considerations, and risk areas that should be monitored while they are in the program. This evaluation is vital in providing more information about what might interfere with treatment and gathers information about the history of abuse so that the Primary Therapist can begin to provide trauma-informed care, if indicated, for the student. Dr Bradley’s intake assessment, combined with the psychiatric intake consultation, produces more detailed information to the Primary Therapist and the Blue Ridge treatment team so that they can establish a clearer and more comprehensive treatment plan for the student and family.
In addition to the clinical intake assessment, Dr. Bradley provides young adults in Blue Ridge’s Emerald Arrow program with a skills assessment, personality, and strengths assessment encompassed in the Campbell Interest and Skills Survey (CISS). These evaluations occur near the middle of the young adult’s stay and are followed up by a one-on-one session between Dr. Bradley and the student. The individualized time with Dr. Bradley is designed to help students better understand themselves and inform recommendations for their next steps. With the guidance of Dr. Bradley, students are able to dive into the assessments’ results, receive feedback from Dr. Bradley, and address any questions students may have.
Dr. Bradley’s ongoing long-term collaboration with the Blue Ridge team has led to more comprehensive and in-depth treatment for students. Dr. Bradley, who is an independent contractor with Blue Ridge, has conducted psychological testing in wilderness programs for well over a decade and regularly participates in clinical team meetings. She is accessible to the clinical team to help interpret prior testing, participate in group clinical supervision, and case conceptualizations for all students.
Dr. Bradley is also available to parents and Educational Consultants to provide a more thorough explanation of the student’s cognitive, academic, and personality functioning. This psychological testing provides treatment recommendations while the student is in the wilderness, and can also assist Independent Educational Consultants in determining next steps for maintaining therapeutic gains students have made while at Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness.
Blue Ridge and Emerald Arrow’s immersive wilderness setting is especially advantageous for assessment and subsequent tailored treatment because it helps to illustrate an extensive scope of what is happening for each student in a distraction-free environment. An in-depth multidisciplinary assessment helps to guide a student’s time in the wilderness, provide information for treatment planning, and inform recommendations for next steps. The immersive wilderness setting combined with the multidisciplinary assessment makes Blue Ridge and Emerald Arrow the ideal place for an accurate, in-depth assessment and individualized treatment.
About Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness
Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness offers clinically-driven programs encompassing advanced therapeutic skill, a highly flexible nomadic wilderness therapy model, licensed wilderness therapy assessment, and multiple treatment options for troubled teens ages 13-18 years old. Our individualized approach, family support, and commitment to service translate to an unparalleled experience and better outcomes for adolescents and families.