Madolyn M. Liebing, Ph.D, who has over 25 years experience treating youth through wilderness programs, founded Journey Wilderness in Utah. With several residential facilities offering treatment for substance abuse and behavioral issues, Journey is best known for active treks, or wilderness retreats, through the mountains of Utah. The adolescent wilderness program treats boys and girls aged 13 to 17, while the young adult group treats men and women aged 18 to 28. The residential substance abuse program, Spirit Lake Ranch, is only available to boys aged 13 to 17. A variety of outpatient programs operate out of four clinics and employ Journey therapeutic methods serving youth, adults and families.
Accommodations and Food
Clients sleep in private rooms in the charming, home-like Spirit Lake Ranch facility. The historic cabin was built in 1936 in the beautiful Uinta Mountains of northern Utah. The residence includes a classroom and has a rustic, back to basics feel, nestled in the shadow of Mount Nebo. During adventure therapy expeditions, tents and camping equipment is provided. Clients set up camp at various locations, depending on the weather, but always take advantage of the beautiful landscape.
In the winter months, camps are closer to home and more focus is placed on skill-building activities. The ranch includes a stable with horses, as well as farming equipment that clients learn to use and care for. Staff prepares meals for clients during ranch visits and clients prepare their own meals on campfires during treks. Food is nutritious and tasty, and often organic.
Treatment and Staff
The Spirit Lake Ranch program typically lasts two months, but is offered for up to six. While the majority of treatment takes place on the ranch, clients partake in camping trips twice a month, for up to five days at a time. This way, Journey is able to offer an integrated approach. Fully accredited schooling through the state of Utah is provided on-site for subjects including health, PE, language arts, culinary skills and fine arts.
In addition to daily group and weekly individual therapy that employs a CBT approach, clients speak with parents each week. This session is facilitated by a therapist managing the client’s case, and is useful for discussing and addressing progress and areas of concern. Parents are also encouraged to take advantage of resources provided by Journey to gain more information about their son’s condition. Medication management is offered through a licensed psychiatrist for clients who require dual diagnosis support.
The outpatient program is offered at four locations in Utah and available to clients local to those areas. Typical programs include group and individual therapy, as well as personalized relapse prevention plans. Those that travel from interstate are able to utilize some of these tools remotely through weekly calls.
The staff at Spirit Ranch is comprised of Master’s-level therapists, mental health counselors and CADCs.
The adventure therapy components of treatment are aimed at encouraging responsibility, self-esteem, positive attitudes, problem solving and respect. Activities include equine therapy, blacksmithing, carpentry, ranch skills, basic farming, cooking and cleaning. The camping trips encourage maintenance of personal hygiene, communication, team building and a variety of other useful life skills. Sports are encouraged and available seasonally.
Journey Wilderness Spirit Lake Ranch combines the challenging and exhilarating aspects of adventure therapy Journey is known for, with the more relaxed atmosphere of residential treatment. While Spirit Lake Ranch still provides challenging activities and opportunities for boys to learn new skills, it is less intense than the wilderness program. Boys that require a stronger physical support in the early stages of their recovery would excel at Spirit Lake Ranch.
Journey Wilderness Spirit Lake Ranch Location
619 N 500 W
Provo, UT 84601
Journey Wilderness Spirit Lake Ranch Cost
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