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Early Clinical and Psychiatric Assessments for Teens and their Families

Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Georgia, Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness provides outdoor behavioral healthcare treatment to adolescents and young adults in need of support with mental health challenges which have become unmanageable at home. With a commitment to individualized care and family involvement, our outdoor therapeutic program offers a transformative experience for preteens and early adolescents ages 12-14, adolescents ages 13-18 and young adults ages 18-29.


In addition to individual and group therapy, robust family programming, and access to holistic health and wellness practices, early clinical and psychiatric assessments at Blue Ridge aid in comprehensive understanding of each case, allowing for personalized treatment plans and specific objectives for discharge planning.

Understanding the unique needs of each student is paramount in crafting personalized treatment plans and setting specific goals for their journey towards healing and growth. At the heart of Blue Ridge's approach is the dedication to conducting comprehensive assessments right from the outset. Within the first two weeks of each student's arrival, Blue Ridge's clinical psychologist, psychiatrist, therapists, and field guides work together to consolidate observations and clinical assessments in order to devise a detailed assessment and treatment plan designed to support each student and their family well beyond completion of the program.

Field Instructors spend every day with the students, providing crucial observations that shed light on their initial orientation to the program. These observations, collected within the first few days and for the duration of each student's stay, serve as a baseline assessment, informing primary therapists to the progress of their treatment plan and presentation in the group.

mark braunstein

Psychiatric Assessments & Medication Management

Psychiatrist Dr. Mark Braunstein conducts initial psychiatric consultations with students and their families. Dr. Braunstein is board certified in General Psychiatry and has managed medication for wilderness therapy students for over fifteen years. He specializes in the treatment of substance abuse, oppositional defiance, depression, treatment resistance, personality disorders, anxiety, and ADHD.

By delving into each student's background and medical history, Dr. Braunstein offers insights for a comprehensive intake and psychiatric assessment, including pharmacological considerations. This personalized approach fosters trust, particularly among students resistant to treatment, and lays the foundation for effective medication management where necessary. Dr. Braunstein's 4-step assessment process is as follows:

  1. Dr. Braunstein conducts an initial assessment with each student and their family to establish a baseline understanding of their medical history.
  2. Primary Therapists coordinate with families, Dr. Braunstein, and the treatment team to assess the effectiveness of current psychiatric medications.
  3. If medication adjustment might be in the student’s best interest, Dr. Braunstein will conduct additional assessments, and the treatment team will determine the best course of action.
  4. If there are indications that new medication could be helpful, the Primary Therapist will consult with Dr. Braunstein to again make a recommendation for assessment that is in the best interest of each student.
Blue Ridge Clinical Assessments by Dr. Lorena Bradley

Clinical Assessment

Unless the student has had comprehensive testing in the last 12 months, licensed Clinical Psychologist Dr. Lorena Bradley meets with each new student to provide an in-depth initial assessment within the first two weeks of their arrival.

Working together with Dr. Braunstein, Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Lorena Bradley administers a detailed clinical intake assessment within the student's first two weeks. Her multi-modal assessment supplements the initial consultation, providing additional insights that inform the Primary Therapist and the wider treatment team. Dr. Bradley's expertise extends to offering skills and personality assessments to young adults in the Emerald Arrow program, enriching their self-awareness and growth.

Dr. Bradley has performed clinical assessments for Blue Ridge families for over a decade, enriching clinical discussions and supporting treatment planning. Her expertise in wilderness psychological testing ensures a holistic approach to student care, guiding their treatment experience and informing post-program therapeutic progress.


Comprehensive Psychological Testing

The following assessments are included in each clinical assessment by Dr. Bradley. The typical battery of tests administered investigates intellectual, emotional and social performance. This allows for comprehensive assessment of students’ mental and cognitive challenges as well as potential barriers to mental and emotional health.

  1. Cognitive/IQ: Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children - V

    This test consists of 10 different scales, and measures learning style as well as strengths and weaknesses.

  2. Academic: Wechsler Individual Achievement Test - III

    Academic testing addresses what the student has learned in school. examining reading comprehension, mathematics, spelling, written language, and oral language. This assessment can be used to compare and contrast achievement vs. ability, allowing Dr. Bradley to screen for possible learning disorders.


  • Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory - A Millon
  • Adolescent Clinical Inventory Substance Abuse Subtle Screening Inventory - Adolescent
  • Brown ADD Scale
  • Beck Depression Inventory
  • Rorschach & Sentence Completion

The personality assessment consists of objective and projective portions. The objective portion offers insights into the nature and severity of students’ mental health challenges. The projective portion of Dr. Bradley’s personality assessment consists of tests which are ambiguous and cannot be faked, allowing Dr. Bradley to gain valuable understanding of the individual’s internal processes.


Providing hope and healing for teens, young adults & Their Families 

The immersive, distraction-free environment provided by Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness proves invaluable for assessment and subsequent tailored treatment. This unique setting, coupled with multidisciplinary evaluation, fosters a comprehensive understanding of each student's needs, guiding their journey towards sustained wellness.

Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness is committed to providing clinically sophisticated and empirically supported mental health support for struggling teens and young adults. Through early psychiatric and clinical assessments and highly individualized treatment, individuals and their families may experience transformative healing and long-lasting wellness.

To learn more about Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness, or to speak with a member of our admissions team, visit our homepage or call 888-914-1040 today.