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.
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
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Photo courtesy of InBalRanch
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