Nature-Based Adventure Therapy for Young Adults
Discover community, adventure, and purpose.
Located in the gorgeous Nantahala National Forest in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, our young adult program Emerald Arrow combines in-depth clinical insight and comprehensive assessment with creativity, adventure-based interventions and purpose-driven experiences to produce a unique nature-based treatment experience for each student.
In our program, you will engage in outdoor adventures, leadership development opportunities, and individualized therapy in the wilderness setting as you blaze your own unique trail towards your personal values and goals.
Video: Learn More about Emerald ArrowIn Emerald Arrow at Blue Ridge, you will be guided in exploring yourself, your family system, and your family's generational patterns. With expert therapeutic guidance, you will be asked to confront the areas in life which you may have avoided before. Once you've dug in and explored your roots, you will then be equipped with the skills and therapeutic toolkit to move swiftly forward on the unique and bold path that is your life.
WHY EMERALD ARROW?
Young Adults often find themselves feeling stuck, or in a position where they decide they want to choose a new path and reshape the trajectory of their lives. Bringing together the healing force of nature, milieu therapy, and a strengths-based clinical lens, we aim to uncover and address the pain, confusion, and destructive patterns a young adult may be experiencing.
Emerald Arrow at Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness is where you will learn how to accept and love yourself as you learn about your family system, understand where you came from, and explore the behaviors and thought processes that led you here. Whether you are seeking to reclaim your health, vitality, purpose, freedom, or confidence, we invite you to choose a new, bold path for yourself.
We are committed to understanding you and your family's unique needs so that the skills and tools you acquire on your wilderness adventure may fit seamlessly into your life back at home.
Our young adult students graduate from Emerald Arrow with the momentum they have often been missing so far in adulthood. The structure of peaceful, healthy living in a community-focused environment, combined with exciting program offerings such as equine therapy, fly fishing, hiking, and more, helps students to access the strength, confidence and flexibility they need to thrive interdependently in relationships, school, work and beyond.
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Young Adult Student Profile
Emerald Arrow at Blue Ridge was designed for any young adult who is interested in improving their mental health and reconnecting to the truest parts of themselves— the parts that are often bogged down or masked by depression, anxiety or societal pressures. Many of our students find themselves craving a break from technology, work, social media, college, are experiencing a 'failure to launch', or are struggling to hold genuine, lasting relationships with friends and family.
Our highly experienced licensed therapists use current, evidence-based treatment modalities to provide clinically sophisticated and comprehensive treatment to address a wide range of issues, including but not limited to, the following profiles, diagnoses, and struggles:
- Attachment issues
- Family system conflict
- Identity issues
- Personality traits/ disorders
- Disordered eating and body image issues
- ASD Level 1
- Neurodivergent disorders
- Substance abuse
- Addictive behaviors
- Lacking a sense of belonging
- School/College & work problems
- Relationship issues
- Lacking motivation & sense of purpose
- Feelings of low self worth
More about Emerald Arrow
Individualized Therapeutic Work
While each individual in our program will be exposed to similar practices and skills, each young adult brings with them their own story, and is their own person. It is very important to us to build a relationship and get to know you and your family. Your unique experiences and needs will guide us in determining how to create a custom therapeutic map that serves you with the utmost respect, quality of care, and support.
Anne Wilzbacher, LCMHC is the treatment team leader who collaborates with Field Instructors to ensure therapeutic initiatives are individualized to each student and as effective as possible. Anne will provide weekly individual sessions in the field, which may often involve experiential exercises. She will also facilitate group therapy, holding psycho-educational groups and affording milieu therapy as needed.
Integrative and Enhanced Assessment
You will receive the following assessments provided by Blue Ridge Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Lorena Bradley:
Initial Clinical Assessment within first 2 weeks of arrival
Skills Assessment conducted around mid-stay, with a one-on-one results breakdown session with Dr. Bradley
Personality and Strengths Assessment Campbell Interest and Skills Survey, with a one-on-one results breakdown session with Dr. Bradley
Comprehensive Psychological Testing as needed and/or requested
Family Systems Focus and Support
Navigating the relationship between a parent and a young adult is complex and dynamic, which is why the family is integral to our process and to the young adult’s experience. We ask families to join their loved one in their journey with support and care.
Each family unit carries within itself its own nuanced dynamics that are crucial to explore and work through. As we meet each family where they are in their process, we keep each family’s ultimate best interest in mind as we work together to look at familial patterns and dynamics. We aim to support young adults in understanding and knowing their role in their family system by fortifying existing strengths of the family, guiding students and families in looking at how they may move forward in a connected, productive manner— together.
Anne Wilzbacher, LCMHC utilizes her extensive training through Naropa University, The American Group Psychotherapy Association workshops, Brain Spotting & other experiential training to facilitate weekly group psychotherapy with students. Her practice in group psychotherapy is rooted in modern psychoanalysis, psychodynamics, and present moment processing.
Anne aims to maximize the experience and awareness students gain in the wilderness in order to uncover unconscious patterns and tendencies within self, in relationship, and in family systems. What is unconscious is often driving what we are doing in the present. The more we become aware of this, the more choice we give ourselves.
Benefits of Group Psychotherapy:
- Provides support in a milieu setting
- Enhances personal and interpersonal awareness
- Highlights and challenges old beliefs and destructive repetitive patterns
- Increases social skills
- Provides a sense of belonging and connection to self and community
Relating to others in the present (versus relating to people through social media) serves to increase emotional attunement to self and to others, increase compassion and empathy, and encourage practice of understanding the power in vulnerability and authenticity. With this, an individual has the opportunity to propel themselves further into making choices that support their best life.
Young Adult Retreat Property, Anchor Point
Anchor Point offers students access to a constant point of connection and community in an otherwise adventure-based wilderness experience. After weekend-long excursions, regular time spent at the property affords students many opportunities to try new activites, learn new transferable skills, and focus on grounding and reflecting upon their personal journey and therapeutic process.
Skill-Building, Leadership Development and Creativity
We believe that creativity helps us to better know ourselves and others. In Emerald Arrow, we provide students the opportunity to be creative and practice valuable life skills. The intention behind our creative and skill-building intensives is to ignite curiosity, clarity, inspiration and motivation within students.
Research suggests that along with increasing brain functioning, creativity supports problem-solving, stress relief, independence, self awareness and confidence. Our goal is to utilize weekly intensives exposing students to creative and skill-building practices, promoting connection between students and their environment, bringing them back to who they are inside through authentic, positive experiences.
Professional Speaker Series
Everybody has a unique story to tell. Through the Professional Speaker Series, our goal is to provide young adults with inspiration for the future and illustrate how every individual’s journey is different. By exposing students to a variety of shared stories from guests outside the program, young adults have opportunities to relate with and access others who have walked their own, bold path.
Our professional guest speakers spend time alongside our young adult students, share experiences, stories, and skills, participate in group discussions and activities, and enjoy a meal together.
Community, Ceremony and Connection
Students in Emerald Arrow are encouraged to create meaningful moments for themselves and each other. Ceremony is utilized in the group to mark milestones, celebrate transitions, or to honor someone or something.
These intentional acknowledgments of the young adult's path are powerful moments which many are missing in their lives at home. The emphasis on community in Emerald Arrow helps to reinforce a sense of belonging in each individual, which we they may then translate to their place in their family system and the world.
Daily Mindfulness and Gratitude Practices
Research suggests that practicing gratitude and mindfulness in conjunction with psychological counseling carries greater mental health benefits than counseling alone, even when the practice is brief.
Our staff and students work together within a structured routine to include mindfulness and gratitude practices frequently throughout each day. Each moment in Emerald Arrow is intentionally cultivated to produce meaningful experiences for the group.
Thoughtful Transition Prep
Transitioning out of the program is an important and crucial period of time. We coach our young adults and their families to be as prepared as possible to carry the momentum from their experience into whatever comes next in the most thoughtful and intentional way. There will be communication, guidance, and curriculum in place to support you and your family in transitioning from this experience in the most sustainable way.
Each young adult's experience here, no matter what it looks like, is valuable and an incredible investment in personal growth. Therefore, we strive to support your next steps with preparation, clarity, skill, and connection.