Therapeutic Wilderness Adventure Programs and Schools for Struggling Teens

Therapeutic Wilderness Adventure Programs and Schools for Struggling Teens


Finding Hope and Overcoming Obstacles

What, exactly, is a struggling teen? The term struggling teen describes youths who show signs of distress, some obvious and some subtle. All adolescents, teens and young adults will struggle at times. It’s a part of growing up. Some adolescents and young adults struggle in unhealthy ways leading to risky behaviors that can threaten their futures, those around them, and even their very lives. When do you know if your teen or young adult needs help?

Some common warning signs include:

  • Choosing the wrong friends -Struggling teens have a knack for finding other struggling teens
  • Decreased interest in school
  • Defiance toward authority -Many struggling teens refuse to obey rules laid down by law enforcement, parents, teachers, and other authority figures
  • Depression -A significant percentage of struggling teens show signs of depression
  • Disciplinary problems at school
  • Eating disorders -Anorexia nervosa, binge eating, bulimia, night eating syndrome, purging
  • Experimentation with alcohol and/or drugs -Cocaine, heroin, marijuana, methamphetamine, over the counter medications, or prescription medications
  • High-risk and impulsive behaviors – Speeding, driving without a license, shoplifting, using drugs and alcohol, and having unprotected sex
  • Isolation and/or withdrawing -Most teens withdraw from parents, yet some sink into themselves too far
  • Lack of judgment and poor decision-making skills
  • Oppositional behavior at home, i.e. arguing, fighting, lack of respect, power struggles
  • Running away from home -Teens may run away from home to escape conflict with their parents or avoid the consequences of breaking rules
  • School failure and/or truancy -Many struggling teens perform poorly in school
  • Self injury -Branding, bruising, burning, cutting, or hitting themselves, among other methods
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Trouble with the law -Committing crimes against property to committing violent crimes

Counselors, coaches, family members, teachers, and other concerned adults need to pay close attention to these warning signs. They often signal the need for professional help. This is only a partial list of issues parents and adolescents face. There are creative and dedicated therapeutic programs that can help turn a struggling teen’s life or young adult’s life around.

HORIZON FAMILY SOLUTIONS is experienced working with therapeutic wilderness and therapeutic boarding schools to help a student or young adult get their lives back on track. We begin by thoroughly getting to know a student, then working closely with family members, programs, and therapists over a period of time. 

A successful treatment plan is one involving not only the wilderness and/or therapeutic school and program, it also involves an after-care plan to ensure a transition that helps the student hold on to progress made. This is all quite emotional for the families, and requires intensive and sensitive work on our behalf in assisting you and your adolescent or young adult. There are alternatives for struggling teens and struggling young adults and quality programs will quickly tell you the value of having an educational / therapeutic consultant involved with your family from beginning to end. In fact, many programs call upon us to consult with families who do not have an educational consultant. 

There are also outdoor therapeutic and residential transitional programs for young adults, ages 18 and up, who did not receive help earlier, learned lessons the hard way, and are now ready to work on their lives. Many parents have said, “I wish I had known about you before! I need you now!”

It is never too late. 

Contact Us to find out how we can assist you with your struggling teen or young adult. 

I am an attorney and have dealt with many professionals of all different kinds over 30 years. Rarely, have I seen such competence, objectivity and sensitivity combined so effectively in one person as I saw with Dore Frances. We were most fortunate to be put in contact with her as we definitely needed help. Her innate ability to find the right therapeutic wilderness program for our daughter was of tremendous value to our family.

Michael & Renee Duncan, Daughter 17, Scotland, 2010

Our family was in crisis and Dore was there for us when we needed her. She immediately assessed the situation and found us an appropriate wilderness adventure placement for our son. She advocated for him, assuring that he got the therapist that Dore recommended for his specific needs. Her services will not stop at the initial placement. She will follow our son throughout his growth and into a residential boarding school. Knowing that she will be with us every step of the way as he moves closer to high school graduation and potentially college is comforting. When Dore takes on a family, she commits 100%. It is the best investment we’ve ever made.

Anthony & Rovena Trent, Son 16, England, 2011