The core purpose at New Vision Wilderness (NVW as stated in our mission statement, is to “Heal children and unite families.” In order to accomplish this important goal in the wilderness setting, NVW focuses on the entire family unit. I often think of a family in dysfunction as a broken clock. If all of the gears are not rotating together, maybe there is a gear not working or a couple that are off, then the clock will not function. Focusing and working on the different parts of the clock allow for the gears of the clock to work harmoniously. New Vision’s focus on family therapy and intervention is of the utmost importance. We understand that each family coming into our program needs help and guidance during this stressful time in their lives. Entering into wilderness therapy allots for time away from one another and focus on individual growth in order to work on tuning up that clock.
In order to accomplish working with the entire family, we focus on creating opportunity for family connection by incorporating the following intensive family therapy steps into each of our client’s treatment plans:
- Weekly phone call updates between the primary therapist and the family are set up to discuss both the therapeutic progress of the client in the field and the families own work back home.
- Connection phone calls, which occur approximately week four through six
begin reconnecting the client to his/her family again and allow for discussions of the client’s experience in the wilderness.
- Therapy phone calls occur in preparation for the family visit. This is led by the primary therapist and focuses on the family therapy topics.
- Family therapy visit consists of a family traveling to our location to meet in person with their son or daughter and the primary NVW therapist. We individualize our family days and therefore devote this time to just one family. Our family days include a tour of our program and camp, which allows for an even better understanding of what a child has been experiencing; an examination of the therapeutic work that has been done in the field with and by a client; and addressing family therapeutic issues through a family therapy session.
- Graduation/Transition day involves the family coming together in person or via video conference to celebrate a child’s completion of NVW and therapeutic growth while in the program. During this time the child will explain the therapeutic journey at NVW, preparation with the whole family for transition and conclude with a slideshow of their time in the wilderness. This conclusion allows for recognition of the therapeutic investment the child and family have experienced while at NVW.
NVW is continuing to build onto its family services department by opening up opportunities for families after New Vision. We are expanding services to include more psychoeducation, family intervention, and adventure education with the entire family unit. These services will include, yet are not limited to, Adventure Family Therapy trips post NVW, support group for parents while at NVW, and weekly psychoeducation groups discussing material their children are learning. There are new and exciting times ahead for family programing!
Elizabeth Deardorff, LCSW
Clinical Director – Family Services