Catherine Freer Wilderness Therapy Program

Wilderness Therapy Camp Rescue Youth

What is Catherine Freer Wilderness Therapy Program?

For more than 20 years, Catherine Freer Wilderness Therapy Program has been helping troubled teens confront their weaknesses, discover their strengths, and experience success in pristine wilderness areas where elk and deer roam, and eagles soar. The center is located in Oregon and each young adult is not allowed to have cell phones so that there won’t be distractions as he/she faces the issues which cause him/her to struggle. Licensed by the State of Oregon, the wilder therapy program has a mental health and drug and alcohol treatment program which is also accredited by the Joint Commission of Accredited Healthcare Organizations.

The program accepts adolescents, age 13 to 18 years, who need structure and guidance to aid them in making better choices.

Some of the problems of these adolescents are:

  • Beyond parental control
  • Defiant, angry, rebellious
  • Promiscuity
  • Hyperactive or impulsive
  • Poor academic achievement
  • Learning differences
  • Internet addiction
  • Suffering from attention deficit
  • Struggling with loss and grief
  • Struggling with attachment disorders
  • Experimentation or drug abuse
  • Sense of entitlement
  • Choosing the wrong friends
  • Experiencing low self-esteem
  • Bright but not achieving
  • Learning differences
  • Expelled or suspended from school
  • Emotionally troubled or depressed
  • Dealing with issues of anxiety
  • Recovering from sexual abuse
  • Mood disorders
  • Experimentation or alcohol abuse

The Catherine Freer Wilderness Therapy Program

The first step is the Wilderness Therapy Expedition where an adolescent will join in a backpacking expedition which combines the benefits of physical activity, outdoor living, and extensive psychotherapy. In this basic program, the child will have a life-changing experience.

The Santiam Crossing School is a therapeutic boarding school which provides academic credit recovery, substance abuse treatment, extensive therapy, and a rigorous adventure education program where adolescents struggling with substance abuse, mental health, and behavioral issues are continuously treated. In this step, the family can visit the child in order for the adolescent to benefit from the family interaction.

The Wilderness Therapy Aftercare has certified parent coaches which offer priceless assistance to the family as the adolescent returns home. These coaches help the child, and the family, cope during the periods of transition in order to help the child reach long-term success.

Parent coaching is also available for parents who need help in changing the dynamics of their families. The certified parent coaches can empower these parents in generating creative and new solutions to promote long-term changes in the family.


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Most of the programs listed on this website are not regulated by the federal government, and many are not subject to state licensing or monitoring as mental health or educational facilities, either. A 2007 Report to Congress by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found cases involving serious abuse and neglect at some of these programs. Many programs advertise on the Internet and through other media, making claims about staff credentials, the level of treatment a participant will receive, program accreditation, education credit transfers, success rates, and endorsements by educational consultants. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation's consumer protection agency, cautions that before you enroll a youngster in a private residential treatment program, check it out: ask questions; ask for proof or support for claims about staff credentials, program accreditation, and endorsements; do a site visit; and get all policies and promises in writing. Click here for questions to ask before you enroll your child in any program.