Experience: The Journey was co-founded by Madolyn M. Liebing, Ph.D.In 1988, she designed the clinical and educational components for one of the first primitive, skills-based wilderness therapy organization. Dr. Liebing was the first full-time, doctoral-level psychologist to provide individual therapy and psychological evaluations to participants in the field. In addition, Dr. Liebing pioneered the idea of combining clinical therapy and wilderness programming.
Dr. Liebing adds a lifetime of experience working with adolescents. She has been leading youth in the wilderness since 1978. She has created the most advanced therapeutic/academic curriculum in the wilderness industry today. As a complement to Dr. Liebing’s unique contribution, Journey Wilderness has carefully cultivated a team of caring, well-trained and experienced wilderness professionals who are passionate about helping students.
Clinical Sophistication: A productive journey of change for our students begins with the best assessment possible. Unlike the majority of other wilderness programs in the field today, we include in the cost of the program a mental health assessment for all teens as they enter the wilderness. This allows us a deeper insight to better create an individualized treatment plan for our youth, which will form the basis of therapy for the rest of the wilderness program. It can also be used to make recommendations for the youth after the program is completed. Our qualified mental health professionals have over 40 years combined experience working with teens, and specifically working with teens in a wilderness setting.
Owner Operated: At the core of Journey Wilderness are the owners, a group of six dedicated individuals that have been with the company from its inception in 2003. Each one has a unique skill set and all take an active role in running the camp. Because we are not a part of a larger corporation, we can keep costs lower, respond quickly to the needs of students, and pursue our vision of helping to implement positive life changes.
Quality Communication: Over the years, the Journey has been known for its high standards regarding communication with parents and referral sources. We believe that there is no such thing as too much communication. To that end, we utilize the most up-to-date technology in the field to help manage our student’s safety and to keep families informed.
Education: Students have the opportunity to earn up to five credits, which is twice as many high school credits as they would if they were at home. The academic curriculum is integral, engaging and experiential. It helps students discover that everything they are doing is based on learning.
Location: Our program at Spirit Lake is uniquely situated to take advantage of over a million acres of pristine wilderness.
Highly Trained, Caring Instructors and Therapists: Our field instructors go through an intense training program. We choose our team based not only on experience and skills, but also on their heart. We choose those who truly care for our students. Patience, calmness and clear decision-making are key qualities in all our personnel. Therapists must demonstrate an ability to understand and relate to teens. All personnel are perpetually participating in regular, ongoing trainings.
Safety and Risk Management: The Journey has been in operation since 2003., Since the Journey’s inception, our staff has taken a large number of students into the wilderness while maintaining an impeccable safety record. At Journey Wilderness our number one priority is the safety of our students and instructors in the field. Each team is equipped with up to date equipment. All instructors are first aid and CPR certified. For more information about the safety of wilderness programs, go to: www.unh.edu
Research Proven Results: As a member of the Outdoor Behavior Health Industry Council (OBHIC), Journey Wilderness, along with several other top wilderness programs in the industry, participates in ongoing wilderness research projects. Outcome studies have shown that wilderness therapy is an effective treatment modality for adolescents. (See Research Section)
Cost to Value: Journey Wilderness is one of the most cost-effective wilderness outdoor behavioral programs available . Our program includes a comprehensive mental health assessment in the cost of the tuition as well as two therapy sessions per week and weekly phone consultations with parents. Academically, our curriculum offers more high school credits than if the student were at home. All equipment is of the best quality and meets the highest safety and risk management requirements. Our field equipment had been rigorously tested before being selected.