What Makes Second Nature Different

Second Nature's therapeutic philosophy rests on the notion that the most effective treatment for adolescents requires clinical integration. This means that all aspects of the treatment process are seamlessly interwoven rather than fragmented or compartmentalized.

So often in therapeutic programs, there is a disconnect between the therapy sessions (conducted by the therapist) and the daily milieu (directed by program staff). At Second Nature, we believe the integration of these two components is critical. This is what transforms a student's experience from what would otherwise be outpatient therapy + adventure camp into a truly therapeutic experience and makes Second Nature the best nature-based therapy program for your child.

Second Nature clinicians are among the most experienced and well-respected in the field. When students are first enrolled, they are matched with the therapist and group which best fits their unique therapeutic issues. As such, Second Nature is equipped to serve a wide range of issues without concern that students will be improperly placed with peers whose focus is too dissimilar.

    Programming Tailored to Individual Needs

    Second Nature pioneered the development of the “niche group” in nature-based therapy, ensuring that each Second Nature student is carefully matched to the therapist and group best suited to their specific needs. 

    Additionally, as every student is unique, each of their journeys will be unique. Using our Second Nature Journey packet as a foundation, our experienced and adept therapists create a personalized and nuanced program for every individual student. Every assignment, book, therapeutic group, and intervention is chosen specifically for your child to meet their needs.

    Second Nature offers:

    • age and gender specific groups
    • substance abuse groups with 12 step focus.
    • innovative niche groups (such as, but not limited to trauma and related issues like PTSD and anxiety, groups for students with mood disorders like depression and/or Bipolar disorder, groups tailored to the specific needs of Autism Spectrum disorders, learning disabilities, and/or issues like Oppositional Defiant Disorder, school failure and/or refusal.) 


    Safety is and has always been the first priority at Second Nature. Second Nature boasts an exemplary safety record. Field Instructors are consistently engaged in mandatory safety and best-practices training to ensure the highest level of quality care for each student. Our dedicated Risk Management Team regularly assesses safety protocols. Additionally, Second Nature:

    • utilizes heated group shelter tents during winter months.
    • medical and support staff is always accessible (24/7) to support any emergent need.
    • offers 24-hour satellite phone capability as standard protocol in all groups in addition to cell phones and radios.
    • students are issued only the highest quality gear well-suited to the environment, terrain and weather conditions.
    • students are assessed by medical personnel on a regular basis so that any potential issues are addressed immediately.
    • always has at least one Wilderness First Responder present in every group at all times.

    Family Dynamics Assessment Tool (Exclusive to Second Nature)

    Understanding the parent-child relationship and family functioning is a crucial component in the treatment of children and adolescents. As part of the Second Nature treatment approach, it is helpful to get a clearer understanding of the range of strengths and weaknesses within the family system so that these issues can be addressed more directly in weekly parent phone calls.

    Second Nature has implemented a more rigorous approach to identifying important family systems issues. Rather than rely solely on intuition or generalities, we incorporate a quantitative analysis of some of these dynamics. Second Nature is the only therapeutic nature-based program in the country that uses this type of comprehensive, quantitative assessment to help guide the family therapy component of the process.


    Renowned Client Care, Communication and Service 

    Quality service has always been a hallmark of the Second Nature experience. The standard for quality communication and service is set from the first phone call and continues with every interaction. Phone calls occur on time. Follow through is paramount and quality is simply woven into the Second Nature culture.

    Weekly phone calls with the therapist focus on a narrative of the student’s week, updated diagnosis and prognosis, as well as intentional discussion and guidance regarding future assignments and recommendations.

    Letter writing and weekly updates combined with family therapy assignments give way to family phone therapy, and in many cases, mid-program visits designed to support the individual needs of each student and family. Second Nature's highly tenured staff is not only experienced but truly dedicated to providing each student and family with the highest quality service and care at all phases of programming.


    Comprehensive Parent Support and Education

    At Second Nature we believe ongoing support and education for our families is paramount to the student’s overall success. Therapists engage parents in a clinically-based parallel process to support change for the whole family. Your Second Nature team includes dedicated a Parent Coach who is uniquely positioned to provide parents with an additional layer of support and guidance through what we know can be an overwhelming and emotional time.

    A Parallel Curriculum 
    All Second Nature parents engage in a parallel curriculum, tailored to their child’s specific issues and treatment goals. The parent curriculum focuses on key therapeutic themes such as openness, accountability, communication, empathy and emotional development. Parents are guided to substantially engage in their own self-care and change process while engaging in a curriculum which includes podcasts, webinars, and assignments tailored to the needs of their family and child.

    Dedicated Transition Preparation

    At Second Nature, transition planning begins “on day one.” Second Nature clinicians work with parents, Educational Consultants, and home therapists early in the process to begin exploring the students’ needs and next steps. Therapists communicate this process to parents on the weekly calls, using the student’s functioning and progress in the group as an assessment tool to determine continued factors and support necessary for ongoing success.

    As the next step is determined, therapists work proactively with students to help them prepare for the transition, along with any challenges they may encounter. This includes a variety of tasks and assignments geared toward helping the student internalize the gains made at Second Nature, and strategies for applying those skills in his/her next environment.

    Upon completion of the program, the Second Nature therapist contacts the future therapist to provide a verbal summary of the student’s progress and the treatment approach that was most successful. A formal discharge summary is also provided, outlining the student’s progress and treatment recommendations.  Second Nature consistently receives consistent feedback from next step programs to at-home therapists that Second Nature students are the most insightful, motivated, and invested clients that they serve.


    Nutrition and Wellness

    As nutrition and diet play a significant role in the balance of a healthy mind and body, working with a Certified Nutritionist, Second Nature has created a balanced menu consisting of large quantities of fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, granola, grains, oats, almonds and cashews, and much more. With fresh food delivered multiple times each week, gone are the days of dehydrated backpacking meals, replaced instead with scrambled eggs and bacon for breakfast, hummus with pita and fresh vegetables for lunch, and hearty stews for dinner. Groups create and pass on their own recipe books as students work with the field instructors to experiment with ingredients and explore cooking, often for the first time in their lives!

    Second Nature is also able to accommodate a wide range of diets such as vegetarian, vegan, kosher, nut-free and gluten-free, diabetic, and many others. 


    Staff Retention -- By the Numbers 

    Second Nature encourages a highly collaborative, innovative, and supportive work environment. As a result, Second Nature retains highly experienced clinicians, field instructors, management, and admissions personnel well beyond the industry average, which results in exemplary service, care, consistency, and program delivery to our students and families.

    Clinical Team:
    Second Nature's therapists have an average tenure of 13 years with the program

    Admissions Staff:
    Second Nature Admissions staff have over 10 years of experience in helping students place in the appropriate group


    Ready to get started? Give us a call at: (877) 701-7600