The Next Step: What Comes After Wilderness Therapy?

After completing wilderness therapy, many young adult women turn to the therapeutic wellness program at Skyterra Embrace to continue their journey toward a healthy mind, body and spirit. The unique therapeutic wellness program at Skyterra Embrace is designed for young women ages 18 to 29 who desire growth and independence.

Parents contact our program to help their young adult daughter build upon the skills and resiliency gained through wilderness therapy. At Skyterra Embrace, wilderness graduates attain assistance with additional areas of need, including social, emotional, and/or behavioral. The end goal is to help launch these young adult women into a healthy and productive life.

Why is Skyterra Embrace the Next Step after Wilderness?

Skyterra Embrace is often the best next step after wilderness therapy because it offers young women the opportunity to:

  • Re-assess their strengths and weaknesses
  • Review previously set goals and determine future goals
  • Learn and understand information from a state of mental and emotional stability
  • Solidify positive habits in a home-like environment
  • Experience a greater degree of autonomy in a safe environment
  • Continue aftercare in a highly-structured, individualized community
  • Become contributing members of society.

What is Therapeutic Wellness?

Skyterra Embrace is the only program in the country that offers our model of therapeutic wellness, which combines therapeutic support and structure with five pillars of wellness. This ensures young adult women leave the program with a healthy mind, body and spirit.

Therapeutic Component

The therapeutic component of Embrace incorporates private therapy, group therapy, and a highly structured and purposeful schedule with coaching built into the program. 

  • Private therapy sessions take place weekly and are a key part of our individualized programming.
  • Focused group therapy sessions take place three times per week and rotate through important topics. The first therapeutic group each week focuses on goals and accountability. Other group topics include love languages, community resiliency, self-care, conflict resolution, exploring values, emotional regulation, locus of control and radical acceptance, thinking errors, mindfulness, life transitions, relationship principles, assertive communication, and stages of change. These topics stem from the wellness component of our program, outlined below.
  • The highly structured schedule at Embrace offers more than 45 classes each week and consists of daily and weekly signature group programming, individualized programming, and intentional accountability.
  • Coaching is an integral therapeutic component of Embrace and takes place through progressive personal training sessions, nutrition consultations, and personal planning sessions.

Wellness Component

The Embrace program takes a whole-person approach, immersing students in our five pillars of wellness to address physical, mental, emotional and social health, all in a therapeutic environment. The wellness component is truly the foundation of Embrace and consists of self-care and stress management, culinary education, fitness and mobility, mindfulness and yoga, and recreation and adventure. 

  • Self-Care and Stress Management: A healthy reset provides the foundation students need to launch into a full, nourished life. Students learn to manage their stress, and find awareness and self-compassion. They learn about the stress response, the factors that affect it, and techniques for managing their own response to stress.
  • Culinary Education: Students work to build a healthy and positive relationship with food. Every week they participate in nutrition talks, mindful eating experiences, and grocery shopping education.
  • Fitness and Mobility: Daily physical activity creates opportunities for growth in mindset and awareness. Students learn how to move with good form, follow an efficient fitness routine, and enhance their quality of life in the process.
  • Mindfulness and Yoga: During our signature yoga classes, students develop a mind-body connection, build flexibility and agility, and boost confidence in their body’s abilities. They also learn the tools to manage daily stress by incorporating mindfulness into their every day, easily and sustainably.
  • Recreation and Adventure: Nature provides an experience of retreat, mindfulness and reflection while holding a very individualized therapeutic benefit and intention. Through outdoor activities such as paddleboarding, mountain biking, rock climbing, and hiking to waterfalls and mountain views, students take in the healing powers of wilderness, fresh air and sunlight.

How does the Therapeutic Wellness Program at Skyterra Embrace Support the Progress Made in Wilderness Therapy?

There are many aspects of Embrace’s therapeutic wellness program that aid in a smooth transition from wilderness therapy to a healthy independent life.

Nature

Nature plays an important role at Skyterra Embrace, in wilderness therapy and throughout life. Transitioning from being completely immersed in a wilderness therapy program to the 12-acre mountain-top Embrace campus keeps young women in an environment separated from social pressures and distractions. Embrace participants participate in many nature-based off-campus activities including hiking, swimming and paddleboarding, as well as service activities, grocery shopping education, community dinner activities and excursions to local farmer’s markets and other events.

Group Format

The group format of both Skyterra Embrace and wilderness therapy serve participants well as they learn to build healthy relationships and interpersonal skills. When young adults are with others and participating in the same experiences, change and growth happens in an organic way.

Therapeutic Component

The therapeutic component of wilderness therapy provides participants with many of the same opportunities that take place at Embrace. Young women have autonomy at Embrace, which is new for students who are transitioning from wilderness therapy. The level of autonomy available is on an individualized basis.

Skill Development

The skill development that takes place in a wilderness program progresses as young women transition to Embrace. Although many skills developed in the wilderness are transferable to life in society, the skills gained at Embrace are directly applicable to life and include long-lasting benefits in mind, body and spirit.

  • Embrace students nourish their minds by learning:
    • Self-care and stress management
    • Finances and budgeting
    • College and career preparation: applications, resumes, and interviews
    • Time management
    • Conflict resolution
    • Leadership
    • Appropriate technology use
  • Embrace helps students care for their bodies by teaching them:
    • Fitness and mobility
    • Culinary education: meal preparation and planning, grocery shopping, culinary skills 
    • Recreation and adventure
    • Health and hygiene
  • Embrace helps students strengthen their spirit by learning how to:
    • Handle critique and feedback
    • Set goals
    • Have a positive body image
    • Set boundaries.

What Students are Appropriate for Embrace?

Skyterra Embrace’s therapeutic wellness program is best for young adults who are able to address their behaviors in a group environment. Appropriate students have a fairly solid baseline of mental and emotional stability. Participants must be able to keep themselves and others safe.

Skyterra Embrace is typically able to help students who are seeking help with:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Family-related stress management
  • Recovery from a traumatic past, grief/loss, illness, or life change
  • Difficulty managing emotions
  • Overwhelmed by life
  • Lack of direction, purpose, vision, and/or identity
  • Uncertainty about college, career, and/or future
  • Lack of life skills necessary to live independently
  • Technology addiction
  • Disordered eating behaviors
  • Difficulty transitioning to adulthood
  • Adjustment issues
  • Lack of confidence and self-esteem issues
  • Defiance
  • Entitlement
  • Anger management
  • Lack of social skills
  • Relationship issues
  • Negative life patterns
  • Need a reset.

Since every student and situation is unique, admission to Skyterra Embrace is determined on a case-by-case basis. Students interested in attending Embrace complete an admissions application to determine suitability.

What Role Does Family Play in Embrace?

Family support is vital as young adults transition from a wilderness therapy program to Embrace. Parents are strongly encouraged to attend the Parent Program at Skyterra Embrace, which takes place at Skyterra Wellness Retreat. The Parent Program provides an opportunity to reset and focus on family dynamics, and consists of educational talks, discussion groups and family therapy.

Throughout the therapeutic wellness program, Embrace provides parents with updates on the progress of their young adult daughter. Embrace experts also encourage students to provide updates to their parents each week while they journey through the program.

Parent updates from the Embrace team are in the form of a report that is based on an accountability document outlining observations, notes and insight for the scheduled weekly activities. It also explains the progress, growth and engagement of the student in the program. This document is completed by both the student and their coach and is reviewed with the student at the end of each week. The parent update and report from the Embrace team does not replace communication and connection between parents and students during the week, but serves as a support and validation tool. Parent updates focus on the five pillars of wellness and includes a therapeutic update as well as an independence update for the student legacy project and skill-based learning.

Students speak to their parents weekly and are encouraged to focus on building accountability and credibility through their report card.

For more information about Skyterra Embrace, click here.

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Greg (MSW, LCSW, LCAS) is the Executive Director of Skyterra Embrace. Through his work with people living with trauma, attachment, substance abuse and addiction, and other mental health difficulties, Greg enjoys creating opportunities to encourage growth and development. For more information on Embrace, click here.