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Adventuring to Wilderness Treatment Programs

Posted on Thursday, May 2nd at 9:16 pm

Co-founder of Dragonfly Transitions, Glenn White, recently traveled to Utah to connect with a handful of Wilderness Therapy programs.  It’s always great to meet with colleagues and witness first-hand the incredible work happening in wilderness treatment. An estimated 75% of Dragonfly students start their journey with a wilderness program. It’s useful for Dragonfly to remain connected to these programs as it supports the transition process. Below, Glenn shares his reflections of his time on the road. 

The last week or so for me has been simply fantastic!  I had the privilege of combining two passions – motorcycles and the wilderness.  I needed to go east to attend to some family matters and Mona in her infinite wisdom suggested that I ride there and visit wilderness treatment programs in Utah along the way.  I felt like Br’er Rabbit saying, “Please don’t throw me in that briar patch!”  What an opportunity! 

Plans were made, programs contacted, and new lights were added to the motorcycle; for safety reasons, certainly and maybe because I think they look cool.  As luck would have it, John Cohen, Primary Therapist from Bluefire Wilderness was visiting us on his motorcycle just as I was leaving.  Riding out that first day with him and Mona’s brother was a great start.  John, I would ride with you anywhere!

Utah is one of the best places I have ever ridden, but motorcycle riding is not the point of this blog – it is the people and programs that matter.  Dragonfly’s roots are in the wilderness.  We understand it in our soul.   The students that come to us from the wilderness are by and large the most well-prepared students.  They arrive with an awareness of themselves and their issues and goals and a foundation of change that is solid. 

Over the course of 7 days I visited 4 programs – Evoke at EntradaWingate Wilderness TherapyAspiro and Elements Traverse.  Certainly, each of these programs is doing something different from the others.  One may be more focused on primitive skills, others have adventure activities built in like rock climbing, rafting and mountain biking. But the thing they all have in common is the understanding of the inherent healing quality of nature.  They all have committed and sophisticated clinical and leadership teams that believe in and live the wilderness model.  Most importantly, from my point of view, they all have dedicated, committed, empathetic, well trained and knowledge thirsty field staff.  These are the folks that do the lion’s share of the work day and night in the field.  Everyone I met at each of these programs is in this for the right reasons.  

I am grateful for the time these programs shared with me and I am proud to be a part of this field. 

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