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Wilderness Therap

Field Instructor Training – April 5th to April 11th

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Thank you for your interest in Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness. We are a licensed treatment program that uses the wilderness setting to provide a clinically-focused intervention, teaching clients accountability, communication skills and healthy emotional and behavioral habits. BRTW’s main office is in Clayton, GA, in the southern Appalachian Mountains and borders the Chattahoochee and Nantahala National Forests. Clayton is conveniently located between Atlanta, GA, and Asheville, NC.

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Asking Questions and Living the Answers: Finding Identity in the Wilderness

I discovered this incredible work by chance while searching through a listing of outdoor jobs on an online database in the summer of 2011. As a recent college graduate, I was neck deep in the angst of entering the job force. I had never heard of Wilderness Therapy before, and honestly, I remember feeling unsure if I wanted to do it or not. I pictured a boot camp where students just cried all day and yelled at each other as field instructors ran around saying things like, “take accountability for your actions!” or, “let the tears flow!” Nonetheless, something about it captivated my imagination. So I applied for a job as a Field Instructor and read every book about it I could get my hands on. As I read Shouting At The Sky, a book describing a writer’s personal wilderness therapy experience, I started to understand that this wasn’t like anything else I had ever heard of; it sounded compassionate, powerful, raw, even sacred.

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Nomadic Wilderness as a Relational Model of Healing Substance Use

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I have worked in a multitude of treatment settings from sober living communities, drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers, a university, and most recently found myself in a new container: the wilderness. I assumed that this treatment modality would be similar to the other environments I have worked in, only, it was doing therapy out in the woods. It had been a long time since I thought about how being outside unquestionably impacted my childhood. However, it didn't take long for me to remember just how profound a connection to the wilderness can be. I see this vital relationship to the outdoors forming in my students, and I know that they are learning so much from it, just as I have.

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You are Murdering My Childhood

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Between the ages of 9 and 12, Scotty’s life took a new path and no longer was he the carefree boy who would try anything without fear. No longer was he a dreamer of his future; instead he wanted to escape reality and live in Middle Earth. The blonde-haired, green-eyed boy with a heart and soul of kindness was angry, resentful, rebellious and putting on weight rapidly. We brushed it off as puberty, and I am sure part of it was, but I knew there was something deeper happening. I just didn’t understand it all. Why should I? I’ve never been depressed; I don’t understand the lure of that deep bottomless pit of despair. Instead, I live in the thought that the world is my oyster and full of possibilities. Why oh why did God give me children who see the world and life so differently from me? I don’t feel equipped. Now what?!

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