Emerging Adolescents


Emerging Adolescents 12-14

Blue Ridge Wilderness's hybrid outdoor treatment model for younger adolescents is designed to provide a fun and engaging therapeutic experience for students ages 12-14. The 24/7 supervision, overarching clinical support, and therapeutic application of skills and tools within the backdrop of a safe, but challenging environment affects change in a way that cannot be duplicated in other therapeutic settings.

Ultimately, we seek to help your child learn how to make thoughtful decisions, explore their skills and passions, and gain confidence and motivation through novel wilderness-based experiences.

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Student Profile

Our team of licensed, experienced therapists use the most current, evidence-based therapeutic modalities to provide clinically sophisticated and comprehensive treatment to address a wide range of issues, including but not limited to, the following mental health profiles, diagnoses, and struggles:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Low Self Esteem
  • Body Image Issues
  • Computer and Internet/Screen Addictions
  • Academic Frustration, Avoidance and Failure
  • Low Frustration Tolerance
  • Emotional Regulation Issues
  • ADD & ADHD
  • Learning Difficulties
  • Identity Development
  • Attachment Issues
  • Social Challenges
  • Family Conflict
  • Divorce Conflict
  • Grief and Loss
  • Adoption Issues
  • Self Harm
  • Emerging Personality Disorders
  • Trauma
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Executive Functioning Difficulties

Emerging Adolescent Program Elements


Individualized Care

As the treatment team leader, the Primary Therapist develops an individualized treatment plan tailored to the specific needs of each student. Each week, the Primary Therapist facilitates individual and group therapy sessions, coordinates with field instructors to select the ideal activities for each day, and communicates with families and referring professionals.

Admissions Process



Developing an emotional toolkit

The comprehensive interpersonal support and unique wilderness experiences at Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness empower pre-teens to safely step out of their comfort zones as they build resilience, trust and confidence. Ultimately, these skills create an unforgettable experience that stays with our alumni for life.



Leadership and working with others

The milieu cultivates a strong focus on communication skills. Together, students develop expectations and norms that best work for the entire group. This emphasis on team building, communication, and consideration for others helps emerging adolescents learn to pay attention to their surroundings, practice leadership skills, and to be a part of a supportive peer community.

Students utilize these skills throughout the day, whether they are sitting down for breakfast together, playing games, or deciding roles for the day. This group experience, combined with individualized therapy from a licensed therapist, leads to opportunities for learning and growth every day of their stay.

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Self-directed and strengths-based healing and growing

Our highly professional treatment team encourages students to discover how to express their feelings and needs through emotional support, motivational interviewing and supervised trial and error. With guidance from their primary therapist and field instructors, pre-teens at Blue Ridge have the unique opportunity to make (and learn from) their own choices in a safe, therapeutic environment that is accredited, licensed and supported by research.


blue ridge therapeutic wilderness diet

Introducing healthy structure & habits

We believe that eating nutritious foods, drinking plenty of water, practicing daily mindfulness, and engaging in physical activity are all integral to living a healthy life.

Our health and wellness program is customized to meet each student’s dietary and physical needs. Students are provided with new skills and communication tools, such as the “I feel” statement, conflict resolution strategies, and mindfulness practices which guide them in regulating their emotions and expressing themselves.

Health and Wellness

teen girl therapy programs

Growing in a parallel process

We believe that an adolescent’s healing is deeply connected to the maintenance of a healthy family system. While your child's therapeutic journey takes place at Blue Ridge, your family will impart on a therapeutic journey of their own at home. In addition to the primary therapist, each family will work with a family therapist throughout the duration of their child’s stay. Our family programs team works closely with parents (and sometimes other family members) to help them understand their child’s therapeutic process as well as support them in their personal process as a parent.

Family Involvement


Preparing for what comes next

As each student’s time with us nears its end, we offer clinically appropriate support to each child and their family.

In addition to individualized transition support, families and their students may be invited to participate in our Family Intensive or Transition programs. These programs are tailored for you and your child to thoughtfully unite in the wilderness setting, practice the tools you’ve learned, and spend uninterrupted, quality time together before you move forward as a family.

Family programming

FAQ: What happens after the program?➔