Strengthening Families Program

The Journey Wilderness program also utilizes the Strengthening Families Program developed over 30 years ago by Dr. Carol Kumpfer. This program is designed to help families learn principles that will help strengthen the relationships, communications, and family problem-solving skills while supporting sober living. Families can choose to participate at no additional cost. A family coach will be assigned to work with the parents and also to work with the clients in the field. For more information in regards to this program you can visit their website at

We use the version that is designed for ages 7 to 17 and both the families and home and the students at the ranch participate in the lessons of the program. Each family is assigned a Family Coach (in addition to their assigned Therapist) who teaches and coaches both the students (in person at the ranch) and the families (by phone and Skype).

The lessons teach principles that help everyone to be a better member of the family. They are on a DVD and have weekly assignments such as:

1) eat dinner together 3 to 5 times a week and during dinner have a conversation with each other (we employ a conversation jar to help);

2) parents are asked to spend individual time with each child every day or at least several times a week;

3) stop Automatic Negative Thoughts or Stomp the ANTS…family members are encouraged to move interactions to a more positive realm. Following the basic concepts taught in the program will improve the quality of family life while the student is in the program and set up an environment for success when he returns home. Students practice the same principles at the ranch and on trek.

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