The Family Element

The mission of the Family Element is to support and guide families in their
evolving journey through wilderness with care and compassion.

We use every opportunity available to us to incorporate the entire family system wherever possible. As such, each family will have a host of opportunities to engage with their son in the program, be it via therapeutically driven letters and phone calls, embedded in the group for one or more overnight visits, or immersed in a 3-day Family Focus. Most of our parents engage in all aspects of family communication and visits, including bringing siblings or other close family members out for the Family Focus.

Parent Visit

The Elements Parent Visit provides a unique opportunity for families to step into their teen’s wilderness experience by joining them right inside the group, meeting all of their peers and mentors, and getting a first-hand account of their progress. This experience is integral to the Elements Family Program, and to encourage all families to participate, we include the Parent Visit at no extra cost. It is designed to coincide with the work they have been doing and to deepen parents’ understanding of their adolescent’s needs, while developing new communication skills and a new-found connection with their teen. Parent Visits are all individually tailored to the families’ needs, and can vary in length from an overnight to a day visit.

Family Focus

The Elements Family Focus provides families the ideal space to open up and connect on a deeper level. Set within our beautiful wilderness field area, we make the three-day experience comfortable and fun so everyone can be emotionally present for the important therapeutic work at hand. Each Family Focus will be open to all family members as deemed clinically appropriate and will work within a curriculum specific to their needs, designed in conjunction with their teen’s primary therapist and referring professional. Families will gain insight into their current relationship dynamics and learn healthier ways of relating to each other. The Family Focus is an impactful shared experience in moving the therapeutic process forward.

Parent Guide

Parent guidance is an additional form of parent support from licensed therapists that work collaboratively with the wilderness therapist and referring professional. The intent of the parent guidance program is to provide parents the opportunity to work through their own emotional processes of having a child in wilderness treatment. It allows time for the parents to discover what they would like to get out of the wilderness experience for themselves.  With their guide, the parenting and co-parenting team has an opportunity to recognize their strengths and struggles.  Guidance is also an avenue to process and speak to challenges that siblings or other family members may experience with the teen in treatment. Parent guidance helps parents decide what they can best obtain from their time with wilderness treatment, gaining insights, understandings, and techniques to support themselves and all family members.

Parent Support Group

The parent support group is an online meeting that occurs bi-weekly for all enrolled families. This is a shared experience amongst our Elements and Traverse families.  This is a valuable opportunity to meet other parents, share, and hear one another speak to their experience in being a part of wilderness. Each family may be at a different point in their process, however many of the feelings and challenges are empathized and familiar. The parent support group is moderated by the Elements Family Services team, and provides a platform for parents to seek the support that they need.

Spotlight Seminars

The Spotlight Seminar is a live online seminar that occurs bi-weekly for all enrolled families.  The seminar is moderated by the Elements Family Services team and available for all parents to attend. Every other week, a therapist from either Elements or Traverse, a Family Services team member, or a member from the Field Department will teach a segment on the therapeutic modalities or wilderness components within the program. It is an opportunity for the families to learn more about what occurs in the field and participate through active, live Q&A. The intent is to provide a spotlight lens for parents to become more familiar with what their teen or young adult is learning and practicing day to day.