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Support, independence, transition from treatment
What is wilderness therapy?

Wilderness therapy is a newer form of short-term residential treatment that combines outdoor skills with adventure activities to help teens and young adults struggling with emotional and behavioral issues, including depression, self-destructive behaviors, and substance abuse. It focuses on stabilizing and assessing students and helping them build confidence and leadership skills in a protected environment.


Insurance coverage depends on your insurance company and their policies around mental health treatment. While most policies cover a portion of inpatient or partial hospitalization programs, only some insurance companies cover alternative programs, like Wilderness therapy. As wilderness programs are gaining more recognition for their positive outcomes, more insurance companies are open to negotiations. There are laws requiring insurance coverage for families regarding mental health treatment, although companies are allowed to determine what type of treatment qualifies.


Most wilderness programs are private pay, but they work with insurance companies to try to help families get reimbursement after treatment is complete. As wilderness programs are gaining more recognition for their positive outcomes, more insurance companies are open to negotiations. Healthcare advocates can be beneficial in determining if you are eligible for reimbursement and working through the claim’s procedure. Some companies may offer reimbursement for costs related to the residential portion of treatment, while most will over reimbursement for the cost of individual and family therapy sessions during the program.


In recent years, approved coverage has been on the rise. Research conducted by the National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs and the Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Council has validated the evidence-based approach Wilderness therapy programs provide. As a result, there is a new insurance code specifically for wilderness that is an option for some policies. Some companies are willing to consider wilderness therapy as a form of short term residential treatment.

More info on cost and reimbursement:


Fewer Emotional Struggles.

Students learn skills to help them manage negative and overwhelming emotions and to deal with conflicts as they arise.


Greater Self-Awareness.

Wilderness emphasizes self-reflection and focusing on how beliefs shape actions. Teens acquire greater social awareness and build confidence in themselves


Improved Communication.

Through group and family therapy, teens learn how to identify their emotions and discover new ways to be open and honest with others.


Setting Future Goals.

Adventure activities help teens renew their passions and create personal goals for once they transition home for what they want their lives to look like.

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