A Letter from Admissions
Wilderness-based treatment has exploded in popularity in recent years as parents and therapists have discovered its power to jumpstart the healing process. The unfortunate result of this growth is that many programs have become larger and less specialized, losing some of the efficacy that made the concept popular in the first place.
On the surface, our students may be angry, depressed, anxious, or withdrawn, taking little or no responsibility for their actions. They cope with these feelings by avoiding their responsibilities, shutting down, blaming others, or engaging in maladaptive mechanisms such as gaming, substance abuse, or overuse of electronics. However, this presentation is simply symptomatic of a deeper struggle to cope with life’s stressors. At Elements, we recognize and address these behaviors, but the real focus is on development of actual, healthy skills to encounter life differently.
Regardless of the clinical diagnosis a boy may carry with him to our door, be it oppositional defiance, depression, dual diagnosis, or autism spectrum disorder, all our boys benefit from our individualized approach to helping them meet their needs head-on.
With over 50 years of combined treatment experience, Karen Scrafford, Lynn Smith and I founded Elements Wilderness Program in 2008 to exemplify the sweet spot of wilderness therapy and to reclaim its power to heal. Our success with families depends on a long-term commitment to staying small and specialized so that we can maintain the highest quality possible through a hands-on leadership approach. Along with partners Neal Christensen, PhD, and Andrew Powell, MBA, we are not just owners of this program but we are also operators.
This commitment has allowed us to enjoy the kind of results that inspired us early in our careers. Wilderness therapy, when done right, can truly change the lives of troubled young men and their families – we see it every day.
If you’d like to discuss your son’s situation or hear more about our specialized approach to wilderness therapy, I invite you to call or email me directly. We are accessible to you any time.
John Karren, Co-Founder, Owner & Admissions
Cell Phone: 801-505-8481