A letter from our CEO:
Welcome, and thanks for looking into our program. I am consistently humbled by you, our parents, for your ability to love your son enough to recognize that he needs more than he’s been able to get at home. I am further humbled by our boys for how much they are able to accomplish in such a short program. I believe our success is not the result of some type of magic we employ out here; it is rather a result of the environment we co-create for them, with your help and involvement. Your son’s struggles do not indicate a deficiency on his part, but are rather symptomatic of the fact that he needs more than he can get at home.
At Elements we know we can’t change your son. What we can do is provide a safe and healthy environment where he can see that change is in his best interest and choose that path for himself. This is a critical time for him in which his lifelong health depends upon nothing short of a paradigm shift, in which he realizes that therapy is not something being done to him but rather an opportunity for him, to help him get what he truly wants out of life.
Of course we love the outdoors, but we choose to work out here because it happens to be the healthiest place we can find for our boys to drop their defenses, discover their true strength through their daily successes, and learn to incorporate the skills they are learning into each moment of their day. It is this step-by-step process that helps them develop new skills to cope with life’s stressors, and start to change their patterned reactivity to stimuli. Research shows that these changes start at the synaptic level of their brains, blazing new neuropathways toward a healthier life, from the inside out. From there, our job is to take every little success in the backcountry and help our boys translate that to their life and relationships outside of treatment.
The wilderness is a setting that is rich with life metaphors that can be used to great effect with attentive and well-trained staff, and a skilled therapist. Living in the wilderness with a small group also provides countless opportunities for our boys to learn how to work together and make each situation better, rather than worse.
On the power of discomfort: We will keep your son safe. That is our primary responsibility. We will not, however, rescue him from the discomfort he creates in his life. It is through that discomfort (interpersonal, emotional, or physical) that he will find the motivation to improve his lot. We have seen thousands of boys who have spent their life avoiding discomfort (aided, in fact, by the world we live in), much to their own cost. Once our boys find that motivation to jump in and make their lives better, it becomes infectious. I have never seen boys so proud of their achievements than I have seen in our field. It is a paradox worth noting: it is only once we let go and help them take responsibility for their own failures that they get to step in and give themselves the credit they deserve for their success.
So in short, our job is to keep our boys safe, create a safe and healthy environment for our boys to drop their defenses and have honest dialogue about their lives, and provide them with the tools they will need to take those next steps to health. The list below offers insight into the day-to-day experience in our program, but please don’t hesitate to reach out to us to see how this applies to your son.
All my best,
Andrew Powell, MBA
CEO and Co-Owner