In Balance Ranch Academy Reviews, Cost, Complaints

In Balance Ranch Academy


Tombstone ArizonaIn Balance Ranch Academy Review

Founded in 2004 by Patrick and Betsy Barrasso in Tombstone, Arizona, In Balance Ranch Academy provides long-term residential treatment for adolescent males between the ages of 14 and 17. After founding an outpatient drug rehab for adolescents the Barrassos realized that an inpatient facility might better serve the needs of clients who required more comprehensive services. Besides outpatient and inpatient care, In Balance Ranch Academy provides sober and transitional living facilities. They specialize in assisting young male clients with co-occurring disorders.

Accommodations and Food

In Balance Ranch Academy is nestled on a 125-acre ranch, surrounded by a desert landscape. The rehab has a Wild West setting, and includes cottages, which accommodate a total of 45 clients, staff offices and a spacious dining room. Between five and six clients are housed in spacious tiled rooms, which include bunk beds, twin beds with extra storage space and dressers. While furnishings are sparse, the rooms are brightly lit, and include old-fashioned ceiling fans and beds made of natural wood.

At In Balance Ranch Academy, meals are typically whole unprocessed foods with the belief that nutrition plays a key component in mood stabilization. Special dietary needs are accommodated. While residents are served three nutritious meals a day, which are prepared by chefs, they are allowed to eat snacks during a movie, or restaurant meals during outings.

Treatment and Staff

Prior to admission, clients receive complete assessments. Potential clients typically arrive from other drug rehabs or wilderness therapy programs. Detox services are not provided, but referrals can be made if necessary. Treatment length typically lasts between 10 and 14 months, with one year being the average length of stay. Clients attend school at the on-site San Pedro Valley Academy.

At In Balance Ranch Academy, various evidence-based modalities are utilized and include CBT, DBT, EMDR, and Motivational Interviewing (MI). A 12-step approach is also employed. Additionally, In Balance Ranch Academy uses Positive Peer Culture, which allows clients to support and redirect one another. The belief is that this offers opportunities for self-empowerment, thus replacing negative feelings about one’s self and others, with positive feelings.

Treatment includes daily group therapy sessions and one individual therapy session per week, psychiatric counseling and medication management (if appropriate) and attendance at 12-step meetings, both on and off the premises. Group topics include step study, nutritional counseling, grief and loss, trauma recovery, family issues, depression and anxiety, anger management, sexuality and relationships, adoption and attachment issues and relapse prevention.

Experiential and adventure-based therapy is an integral part of the program and includes a sweat lodge, equine therapy, wilderness expeditions, snowboarding, skateboarding, a ROPES course and horse treks. Besides equine-assisted therapy, a horseback riding program is part of protocol. Clients learn about horse husbandry, western riding, English riding and basic horsemanship skills.

A typical weekday schedule includes waking up, and basic hygiene at 7 am, followed by horse care, and then a nutritious breakfast at 8 am. School is from 8:30 am to noon. After a wholesome lunch, clients go back to school. After school’s out, there is group therapy. A healthy dinner is served at 5:30 pm. The evenings vary and include 12-step meetings, fellowship, music appreciation, a movie night or a community meeting. Lights out is 10 pm. The weekends include meditation, Big Book studies and AA/NA meetings.

The staff is composed of Master’s-level therapists and CADCs. The client to staff ratio is ten to one.


The ranch compound features a recreation patio, a weight room, basketball court, soccer/football field, sand volleyball court, music room, art room and a fitness center.

On the weekends, clients participate in personal enrichment classes, which consist of yoga, gardening, trail rides, and cooking classes.

In Balance Ranch Academy provides a comprehensive family program, comprised of three family weekends and family therapy. Relatives are advised to participate in Al-Anon.

In Summary

While In Balance Ranch Academy appears intensive, their Wild West setting, and equine program provides a wonderful opportunity for young clients to recover from chemical dependency and learn new skills. Besides horses, clients have a plethora of healing opportunities at their disposal—everything from sweat lodges to the 12-steps and rope climbing. For young men with a sense of adventure, and who really want to work on their recovery in a unique setting, this is a wonderful facility.

In Balance Ranch Academy Location

3331 Inbalance Ranch Rd
Tombstone, AZ 85638

In Balance Ranch Academy Cost

$9,000 (30 days). Reach In Balance Ranch Academy by phone at (520) 722-9631, (877) 304-3329 or by email at [email protected]. Find In Balance Ranch Academy on YouTube, Facebook and Google+

Do you have a complaint or review of In Balance Ranch Academy to add? Use the comments area below to add your In Balance Ranch Academy review.

Photo courtesy of InBalRanch



  1. I am a graduate of Inbalance Academy. I have been clean and sober since the day I got gooned to wilderness on March 4, 2015. When it’s all said and done, I’m more than grateful to have gone to the ranch. If someone asked me if I could change the journey I have been on, I would say absolutely not. Being at the ranch is not an easy thing to do. It takes a level of acceptance that comes with time, and willingness to go through with the “process” which also comes in time. It’s hard to fit my experience of being at the ranch into one single paragraph. But my 4 years of sustained sobriety and the wonderful relationship I have with my family is a statement of that time spent at the ranch. I couldnt be more grateful for that process. It has given me a life I could’ve never imagined possible.

  2. Our son and family had a very positive outcome at In Balance Ranch. After a couple of years of our son’s increasingly erratic and destructive behavior and after seeing several therapists, doctors and counselors with little or no positive results, we were emotionally exhausted and desperate for help. We suspected our son was using weed and maybe drinking a little, but only later would we learn that he had a very serious drug addiction problem. With the help of an education consultant, we looked at several wilderness programs, residential treatment centers and therapeutic boarding schools. We decided on a wilderness program first. Our consultant and our therapist at wilderness recommended a short list of aftercare options for us. We visited two places and wound up choosing In Balance Ranch. Their staff was so kind, confident and thorough when we visited. They did a great job of explaining their approach to recovery which included 12 step work, group and individual therapy, equine therapy and academics. They also stressed that addiction affects the whole family, i.e. it was not just our son’s problem and that we would need to work along aside our son in helping our family recover.

    Our son worked very hard at In Balance and benefited greatly from struggling at times while being held to high expectations in a supportive community. At the Ranch, he learned to work through his problems – not avoid or go around them as he had in the past. He graduated the program as a completely different young man – far more resourceful and resilient than the one we entrusted to their care the year before. We are so very grateful for the people at In Balance for helping us get our son and our family back.

  3. In Balance helped our son and family a great deal. In the nearly 18 months he spent at the ranch and then TL he changed in so many ways. He’s home now and not perfect but miles away from the destructive, angry young man who was either going to be in jail or worst before the ranch. He graduated and received his diploma, which would not have happened without the help from the school and staff, is working and considering continuing his studies. All things that were out of the realm of possibilities prior to his ranch experience. Recovery is life long challenge and the path is different for all. He has his issues with some his ranch experience but when you considering the course his life was on, he’s in a better place because of the treatment and life lessons learned and earned at In Balnance.

  4. I was a “student” there for about 17 months from 2012-2013. I’ve been very quiet about my feelings regarding the ranch because I was honestly scared to voice them. It was a traumatic and heartbreaking experience to say the least, just on the basis of ripping a 15 year old away from their entire life and putting them in the middle of the desert. It was one of the worst memories of my teenage years. I had entered rehab with addiction to heroin at the young age of 15 and am now 22 years old. I, like many other have felt and still feel the emotional and psychological impact of this place years after leaving. In my personal opinion, it’s a terrible place. They put on a good front when the parents who are paying tons of money for their kids to be there visit, but the staff were very manipulative, mean, and unhelpful, and my group leader was using heroin for months around us before finally being fired. The therapy wasn’t actually therapy, it was mostly manipulating my parents into keeping me there longer. My therapist would constantly tell my folks what a terrible job I was doing there and how I would relapse and die if I left. The fear tactics that they used on my parents to keep me there were horrible and unnecessary, and ultimately damaged my relationship with my parents for a long time. The success rate is very very low as well. I know maybe one person that I was there with who stayed sober after graduation. Around 4 are dead, 1 is in prison, and nearly all the rest are using drugs or criminals. I still keep up to date with most of them because of the bond we formed in this terrible place. No one would listen to us and all we had was each other to truly express ourselves with, because if we did so with our therapist or in a group, more time would be added to our stay. I relapsed almost instantly after leaving, and i believe its because I didn’t receive the treatment i desperately needed for ptsd and substance abuse. The 99% success rate is a flat out lie and a dishonest marketing tactic. The biggest punishment they give to a student there is a “Freeze”, which adds two weeks onto your stay, and you can get frozen for something like say “fuck” just for stubbing your to (it happened to me). Ask almost any kid there, myself included and almost everyone will say the ranch was ultimately damaging towards to there mental health and there sobriety. I have had to go many more rehabs and detoxes but I’m finally 2 years sober, and it’s no thanks to the ranch. I’ve had to do therapy around the feelings of worthlessness and isolation that were instilled in me while i was there. I still have huge resentments that I’m working on with my sponsor regarding the ranch. I could go on and on about my experience here, but I feel i speak for the 99% percent of students that went here, didn’t get the help they needed, that are dead, or are still using… this place is a scam and should be shut down. Or that the very least, Parents will spend their hard earned money at a facility that will actually help your child, rather than raid their pockets and damage their kid. I now have a beautiful life, with a beautiful girlfriend, and a great relationship with my family, and it’s credited to AA and Sierra Tucson and the hardworking we did together after InBalance Ranch, NOT because of them.

  5. if your even considering sending your son here please really think if its worth it the emotional and mental abuse he will receive from STAFF and other students it all happens behind closes doors or when no parents are on the property when there’s even one family coming to visit everything is stopped and the students are forced to clean up just so the ranch looks acceptable for the chance of patrick making a quick buck there in it for the money and they will convince you too send your son to transitional living if your any older than 16 upon arrival just take it from someone spent 10 months there and then was pulled from the program early because finishing the program wasn’t even worth the money DO NOT SEND YOUR KID HERE if you want your son to actually change for the better i would just recommend looking at other programs this one should definitely be at the bottom of the list

  6. As a former student here I can confirm that your entire process at the ranch is an extremely challenging course of mental hazing and gymnastics. It is as if you cannot do anything right while there. One step forward is three steps back and not in the name of recovery, in the name of dollar bills for Patrick and his incompetent family circus who are living well on the thousands of dollars they receive every day by profiting off of fear.

    The cost of this place is so absurd and I’m not entirely sure why. Not to be crude, but I did not take a solid bowel movement my entire time at the ranch and developed irritable bowel syndrome from my time there. My parents spent so much money there that they could no longer afford to help my financially with college. I am in my second year of law school and am currently in over $120,000 of student loan debt that I will probably never repay. I have been subjected to some of lowest of the low as far as people from this program as well and am traumatized from many of my experiences with the low-life suburban thugs that make up the population of staff and students here.

  7. We are so grateful for the In Balance family, team and program. If you are looking for a treatment program for you son, I highly recommend In Balance – for your son and your family! Our son just recently thanked us for all that we did for him, which included sending him to In Balance and working their program along side him. He told us through tears, “We did it! It was a group effort, Thank You!” He is appreciative and grateful that we plucked him out of the dark hole he was in and he now has a second chance to live a better life, a healthy, happy and safe life – he can set his goals and go for it, he will always have to work hard, but now he has the skills and tools to manage and overcome the obstacles. It was not an easy journey for our family; at times it was painful, it was definitely hard work for all of us, but it was also incredibly rewarding and it was authentic. We researched enough programs to feel confident that the In Balance program was the best program for our son. We were confident he would get the best treatment available. What we didn’t realize is how much the Barrasso family and the entire In Balance team would also focus on the treatment, healing and recovery for our entire family. Our youngest son told us after a family weekend that he liked how In Balance helped him understand why his brother had been the way he was before he left home. He was so happy to see his brother happy, healthy and doing well. He felt included in the process. Honestly, we all felt loved and cared for throughout our time at In Balance, and still do after our son’s graduation! We were hopeful our son would receive the treatment and education he needed to be successful after the program; now we are so thankful for the quality care and treatment In Balance Academy provided. What exceeded our expectations is how we all became part of a large community, support system and family at In Balance. Our son has friends all over the country. He told me these are some of the closest, deepest friendships he has ever had – he is blessed to be part of the In Balance brotherhood. My husband and I each developed close friendships with parents we met in our family weekend group, we are grateful to have these friends in our life. I could go on and on…but simply put, we are…Thankful, Grateful and Blessed…our family is in recovery and it is thanks to the In Balance family, team and program.

  8. Filled with overwhelming gratitude today, we are confident our son and our family survived the abyss of adolescent addiction because of the world-class therapeutic recovery services at In Balance Ranch Academy. The gifts that come with recovery from addiction and our growth as an entire family . . . . we can’t begin to fully express our gratitude. We have learned to handle situations which used to baffle us, and our son has developed a healthy set of strategies for living. He has a healthy, hopeful, vibrant vision for himself, and we are so very proud of him. Patrick Barrasso and his world-class team at In Balance Ranch Academy are doing exceptional work for young men and their families, and we recommend the In Balance Continuum of Care with full hearts.

  9. We were very disappointed with our experience at In Balance Ranch. After our son had been there 10 months and we had been working our own programs diligently we began to lose faith in his therapist. It is common knowledge that addiction is a family illness yet the therapist assigned to us was never prepared for our calls, did very little to bring our family together, and was profoundly defensive. When we brought our concerns to Patrick he did not take them seriously and tried to spin things and make them our issue. When we advocated for ourselves and our son and pushed for a therapist change we felt like he was not open to our experience. Ultimately he granted our request but we felt like our concerns were not validated. Interestingly that therapist who also had supervisory responsibilities is no longer with the Ranch. I find it hard to believe that our problems were not part of a larger issue that the Ranch took their sweet time in resolving! I have to believe there is an interesting story there but not one that will ever be shared by Patrick. What is most upsetting is that we placed our trust in these people and naively thought they would place our son’s and our family’s wellbeing above their interests.
    The other thing that we found disturbing was how hard our education consultant pushed the Ranch on us. He went on and on about their success rates and we know now how few of our son’s classmates have maintained their sobriety after being removed from that artificial, controlled environment. The icing on the cake is how he supported the Ranch and not us when we were having all the above mentioned issues. It made us question who his loyalties were with!
    The only positive I can mention is that after we pushed for a therapist change we were assigned one that was wonderful. But that was after 13 months of paying $8900 monthly for a therapist who provided a tremendous disservice to our family. And if we did not stand up for ourselves we would have been deprived of that benefit.
    For the above mentioned reasons I firmly believe that there are much better treatment options available elsewhere!

  10. In Balance Ranch Academy is an extraordinary place. We sent our son there when he was an angry and confused boy and he graduated as a caring and mature, young man. Basically In Balance put our family back together again. They understand teenage boys through their years of experience but also because it is led by such a remarkable family. The Clinical Team, the Life Coaches, the Equine therapy team are all involved in helping these boys through the most difficult challenges. What is also unique is the positive peer culture of the ranch. Our son went from thinking it was cool to be rude and fail to working hard, and learning the joy of respecting family and friends. It is not just our son who changed; through the family weekends and all the attention to the parents and siblings, we all learned a new way to walk in the world. If one gave stars, I would give In Balance 5 stars –

  11. Our family is so incredibly grateful to In Balance Ranch Academy – our experience there was positively life changing. Having a child suffering from substance abuse and other mental health issues is very painful and isolating, but at the ranch we found acceptance, compassion, and knowledge. We learned that not only our son, but our entire family could (and would) recover from the devastating effects of this family disease. After doing a lot of research to find the best program, In Balance exceeded our expectations on every level – from Patrick and Betsy, to the Clinical Team, to the Equine Staff, to the Life Coaches, and the positive peer culture of the ranch – everyone was 100% committed to our son’s mental and physical well-being and recovery. Through this comprehensive program of weekly individual and family therapy, structured Family Weekends, SPVA, experiential therapy, 12-step meetings, sweat lodges, snowboarding, exercise, and good nutrition, our son became healthy in mind, body, and spirit. He learned he could be sober, have fun, and that he was worth it. He learned he could struggle and get through it. He made real friends. He connected with a strong recovery community. He was able to graduate from high school. He learned self acceptance, compassion, and empathy for others. He learned to be accountable and honest by working the 12-steps, and we were encouraged to do our own work and to find our own recovery in Al-Anon (we still attend today). In short, we got our family back. Today our son is happy, healthy, successful, and talks often about how his time at the ranch continues to shape his life. We are proud to be a part of the In Balance family.

  12. I cannot recommend In Balance Ranch after our experiences there for 18 months. We were subjected to abuses of power and unethical behavior. Patrick was unwilling or unable to hear our feedback and our sense was that they were more concerned with protecting themselves from a potential lawsuit than with hearing us and taking corrective action. You may even be labeled as one of “the moms who can be especially vicious” when you attempt to voice your concerns. Our family is still healing from our experiences and our son, as most of the young men he attending the ranch with, has returned to substance use. You may be told the often quoted line by the Ranch “we turn two clients away per week” as if the lack of quality and available treatment for young adults is a reason to choose this facility. They use fear often as a tactic. Do your research and choose based on current evidenced based practices for the course of treatment with addiction, but I do not recommend In Balance Ranch. The only bright spot is that as elsewhere in the recovery community, there are some wonderful, caring individuals involved with the Ranch.

  13. The second young man in my community has lost his battle with addiction after graduating from this facility. I came to see what other reviews exist and it’s hard to find objective assessments of these facilities. Working with addicts is supremely difficult but treatment should have better outcomes.

  14. In Balance is an AMAZING place! My son spent a year at the Ranch and then another 6 months at Transitional Living in Tucson. Today he is sober and recently said to us, “I am completely loving life! I never knew how much fun I could have without being high!” The Barrasso Family and many of the staff are so compassionate and loving; our son completely thrived here. He was fortunate enough to qualify to go on the Tanzania trip, led by Chris Gallego. Chris took the group on local mountain-climbing hikes to get them in shape to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. After working a week in an orphanage, the group set out, camped and climbed and reached the summit! He has discovered so much about himself and most importantly discovered how to be a leader through all of his In Balance experiences. His dream is to be a pilot and obtain a degree in aeronautics. This fabulous place with such compassionate and professional people have inspired our son to be well on his way to making his dream happen. There are no words to convey our gratitude and deep appreciation for not only keeping our son safe and sober but in helping him reach for the sky – literally! We are grateful our journey brought our family here.

    • My son graduated from the ranch. We have had a very negative outcome, not the least of which is that he felt abandoned by us. We wouldn’t take seriously his claims that he wasn’t getting the therapy he needed at In Balance and that he should be sent elsewhere. It’s not Patrick’s intention to do any harm, but in my son’s case, PTSD from his experience there is now an addition to his mental health issues. Patrick would not even come close to accepting this as fact, even though my son’s PTSD has been diagnosed by an excellent, educated therapist. It’s a shame that one person’s ego can get in the way of hearing how he can actually improve his program and the lives of those he thinks he is helping.

      • We also had a very negative experience at the Ranch (see my above posted comment) and are still healing from our experiences there.

        • There are MANY unfavorable stories and outcomes from boys who were at the ranch. IBRA needs to be more honest about outcomes.

          • For each family who faces addiction or suffers from loss due to addiction, I send a heart felt wish for peace, strength and faith. My family was once in a place of chaos and destruction and it was so incredibly difficult; all consuming actually. Thanks to our recovery work through the In Balance program and Nar-Anon, I have a better understanding of addiction, and truly understand what they mean when they say it is a family disease; each day I pray for those who are suffering from addiction. I pray that they are safe and that they are able to find their way to treatment and recovery.
            As one mother perfectly stated in our Family Weekend group at In Balance – we are part of a club no parent would choose to be part of. This is such a difficult journey – for the one who is suffering from addiction, as well as for the parents and the entire family. We are grateful that we found In Balance and appreciate the incredible program that they provided for our son and our family. We feel Patrick and the entire In Balance team were upfront about the potential outcome. This actually motivated us to do our own recovery work and work a parallel program with our son. We knew our son was receiving the best treatment available, but we also knew we needed to learn, change…and recover in order for our son and our family to have the best possible outcome. The In Balance team is committed to provide the treatment and tools needed for recovery. Among the many gifts they provided for our family, the one I am most grateful for today is the health and safety of my son. After living a life of destruction and chaos, we now have a loving relationship with our son, who is healthy, happy and living as a responsible adult. My prayers were answered when we were led to In Balance.

  15. Do not send your child here. Patrick and his whole entire family are in it for the money. His son in law has a previous involuntary manslaughter charge for a dui. His son in law, Chris Gallego, was caught DRINKING on the job multiple times still with no discipline. Do you really want an alcoholic disciplining your child when they’re trying to recover from their own addiction issues.

    • The best counselors for addiction have struggled with it in the past. As a former student I can say Chris Gallego is a good man who helped me a lot. In other words I would want former addicts and alcoholics who are successful in there own recovery to counsel anyone who is struggling. I’m very sorry you had a bad experience, but if you shoot down all former addicts and alcoholics, how could you possible get your son the best treatment?

Leave A Reply

About Author

The largest and most trusted rehab review site in the world.