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Second Nature was founded in 1998 by a small group of clinicians who believed that bringing more therapeutic focus to the wilderness would create life-changing results for families. Second Nature was the first wilderness program to employ a therapist-driven model, using proven therapeutic methods to draw the most benefit out of the calming effects and inherent growth of nature and the therapeutic wilderness experience. Since that time, Second Nature has been the leader in innovation and setting the standard for effective care. From pioneering services such as niche groups, individualized treatment, and variable length of stay, to services such as comprehensive family support, integrated academic curriculum, and the Family Dynamics Assessment, we are committed to providing the most effective care and profound results that bring a new found sense of peace and confidence to your family. Second Nature is licensed and monitored for adherence to established State guidelines, and all therapists/psychologists we employ are licensed and highly experienced.
Second Nature is a full service intensive therapeutic experience. We average two support professionals for each student. This support includes areas such as individual, group, and family therapy, medical, professional field guides, mindfulness and yoga training, family intensives, psychiatry, safety, education, logistics, gear, nutrition, transportation, communications, and case management. Second Nature has long been known as the leader in wilderness therapy programs for teens, in clinical expertise, safety, and positive outcomes. We bring our experience, passion for this work, and intensive therapy to your family.
At Second Nature, students apply and practice newly acquired skills and coping strategies thats will serve them well in home, school, and social situations. Woven into the daily schedule is a strong focus on assertive communication skills, which are used to process feelings and thoughts that arise while hiking, cooking together, setting up camp, and other activities.
Second Nature uses a nomadic backpacking approach with proven efficacy. Increased self-esteem, confidence, and internalized happiness are ingrained more naturally than in wilderness models which use artificially created distraction that simply mask client struggles. At Second Nature students engage in low impact hiking (1-4 miles per day) 3-5 days per week. Layover days include individual and group therapy, medical visits, and the delivery of fresh food and laundry. A typical day will include a combination of wilderness skills, hiking, group therapy, chores and responsibilities, fun and play, teamwork initiatives, therapeutic reading and assignments, academic homework, and downtime.
Although every day at camp is a little different, you can see what a day looks like for our students by visiting the link below.
The community structure mirrors life at home, although students are not aware of it initially, with its stresses, challenges, ongoing requirements, responsibilities and interactions. Everything that happens is processed therapeutically for maximum impact. In this setting, students play out old behaviors and dynamics while field instructors and the students' peers help to reflect back – in the moment - what they observe. Students begin to see common denominators in both settings and begin to practice new, healthier dynamics within the safety and community of their group. At Second Nature, students apply and practice newly acquired skills and coping strategies that will serve them well in home, school, and social situations. Woven into the daily schedule is a strong focus on developing insight and assertive communication skills, which are used to process feelings and thoughts that arise while hiking, cooking together, setting up camp, and other activities. Shelter building, backpacking, simple daily chores, group cooperation, relationship skills, and problem solving are taught “in the moment.” In contrast to the often resistant response to therapy, students are engaged in a safe, practical, life changing lesson. The field instructors and therapists move between traditional models of therapy and assessment to symbolic lessons, bypassing defensiveness.
Second Nature's positive outcomes are often quoted by program personnel in various aftercare settings as they describe how well Second Nature students are prepared to transition to their next setting.
Second Nature's model is highly effective with therapeutically resistant students as well as students who come to Second Nature motivated for change. The 24/7 access to caring Field Instructors and high level of supervision, over-arching clinical support and therapeutic application of principles against the backdrop of a safe but challenging environment, effects change in ways that can’t be duplicated in other therapeutic recreational program settings.
Second Nature continues to operate with the same guiding principles it was founded on over 20 years ago. Safety is and has always been the number one priority (our safety record, verified by state licensing officials, is impeccable) while offering the highest level of customer service and clinical expertise available in a wilderness therapy setting. Second Nature’s clinical, admissions, management and field teams are the most experienced in the industry. We have team members in every department that have over a decade of experience. This results in continuity of program, service and most importantly, better outcomes for students and families. Second Nature's positive outcomes are often quoted by program personnel in various aftercare settings as they describe how well Second Nature students are prepared to transition to their next setting.