Located on a working 4,000-acre cattle ranch in a small town 20 miles from Kalispell, Montana, Wilderness Treatment Center blends the traditional model of substance abuse treatment with an outdoor experience. The 60-day program helps boys and men between the ages of 14 and 24 with chemical dependency and mental health issues. Residential treatment consists of 39 days in the house and 21 days out in nature, providing clients with intensive therapy, structured living, 12-step meetings and a camping trip.
Accommodations and Food
The 35-bed treatment center opened its door to clients in 1983. It sits 2,959 feet above sea level on the Western slope of the Rocky Mountains, making for a gorgeous campus. Fifty percent of the ranch’s original log buildings are still in place and quaint ponds and farm animals are just a short walk away from the residential cabins.
Residents are housed in single-level log cabins—think rustic getaway or summer camp at a dude ranch. Each cabin contains four sets of bunk beds and two bathrooms, maxing out at six clients. The ranch also has a dining hall, offices in the barn house and a main hall where therapy is conducted.
Staying active is a huge part of treatment. For those looking to get in a traditional workout or play a game of ping pong, a large recreation hall is available in the mornings and during free time. Off-site activities such as skiing, rope courses, hiking and rock climbing occur on the weekends. Clients are also assigned chores around the ranch, such as helping to feed the animals, tend the land and build wooden furniture. Smoking is not allowed at the ranch.
All meals are prepared on-site by a chef who focuses on providing adequate nutrition. Favorites are ribs, burgers and BBQ chicken.
Treatment and Staff
For the first 30 days, clients stay on-site for the traditional residential experience; detox must be done prior to arrival. During this phase, they participate in group therapy, lectures, 12-step meetings, recreation and individual therapy several times per week. Group topics include relapse prevention, family relationships, stress management, life skills, nutrition, processing and trauma. Families have a chance to join in on recovery during a four-and-a-half day family week; this includes lectures, meals and group therapy.
Twelve-step based recovery is a big part of treatment, with residents attending an AA/NA meeting every day. The meetings are both on-site and off-site, giving residents a chance to participate in an outside recovery community, as well host meetings on the ranch.
After the first 30 days have been completed, clients are ready to head out into the mountains. For 21 days, they are away from home base, learning how to camp and make their own food. The challenges of living in the woods teach them how to deal with their everyday struggles in healthy ways. This phase of treatment is not just simply rugged survival, as clients still participate in group and individual therapy. When the 21 days are up, they return to the ranch for another week, which allows them to process their new experience as well as prepare for discharge.
The staff is comprised of a medical director, a psychologist, therapists and counselors.
Wilderness Treatment Center has combined a traditional rehab with a wilderness adventure to create a solid program for boys and young men. With 30 years of experience and a beautiful setting, it prepares clients to thrive once they return to the outside world.
Wilderness Treatment Center
200 Hubbart Dam Rd
Marion, MT 59925
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