wilderness therapy family

"The family work is really key"

"This will be the best thing that your family will experience. I don’t see what child or family couldn’t benefit from the experience... I am sold on how much the program emphasizes family work. The family work is really key."

-Susan, Blue Ridge Alumni Parent '22

neurodivergent affirming group wilderness therapy justin messinger lpc

Blue Ridge Family Programming

Family Systems Approach

Research shows that the student’s gains are greater and sustained for longer periods of time when their parents are learning and growing in ways that accommodate the new, healthier patterns of behavior— this is why we have designed our program to support the whole family. While the student is often the main reason families enter our program, they are still one piece of a larger puzzle. We look at the student not as the “problem,” but as a catalyst for change across the whole family system. Parents can embark on their own journey of self-discovery and learn the same skills their child is mastering in the wilderness.

Within the family system, there are roles, rules, norms, dynamics and patterns that have occurred over time, often unconsciously. Sometimes these dynamics are supportive and adaptive, and sometimes they become unhealthy for the individuals, relationships and the system as a whole. This can include how families communicate emotions, manage conflict, establish and maintain boundaries, spend time together, and define their roles and identities. With the family systems approach, we take all of these factors into account to better understand, assess, support, and intervene. This is not to minimize the student’s personal work or to shift responsibility for their behaviors onto others, but to consider their personal work and behaviors within a larger context.

Our family systems approach means that our focus is not only on the growth and development of adolescents and young adults in our program, we also strive for long-lasting, systemic change within families by providing sophisticated, robust support to Blue Ridge families:

Family Involvement

While your child is enrolled with us, we will request that you also participate in the therapeutic process through a variety of ways. From writing letters to your child, joining calls with your child’s Primary Therapist as well as your very own Family Therapist, to traveling to our home base in Clayton, GA for a Parent Workshop, we consider your involvement as parents, guardians, and siblings (when appropriate) to be just as important as your child’s.

Family Involvement

Family Programs Team

Your growth and development as a family is integral to the success of your child in our program and beyond. This is why we strive to provide robust family support throughout your child’s entire stay. These resources include access to a Ph.D or Master’s-level Family Therapist as well as other families in our program.

Family Therapists are one of the multiple conduits for support and guidance that we offer. The Family Therapist provides space and support for parents to process and share their feelings, reflect on and explore family dynamics and areas of growth, and get general information about the program.

Family Programs Team ➔

Family Program Offerings

We are grateful to be able to support families in multiple ways during their child’s stay with us. We open up space for camaraderie through our Parent Workshop, weekly support calls, private facebook group, and parent mentorship. We provide one-on-one therapeutic support from a Ph.D or Master’s level Family Therapist. We host unforgettable moments for families to reunite in the wilderness along their journey. Most significantly, we help families to understand that they are supported and held during their whole family’s journey at Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness.

Family Program Offerings ➔