Treatment Center Setting
Wilderness Treatment Center Philosophy
Wilderness Treatment Center offers residential addiction treatment for teen and adolescent males between the ages of 14 and 24. Treatment includes experiential adventure therapy, 12-Step services, family programming, individualized planning, medical supervision, and more. Clients are provided the opportunity to earn high school credits while participating in treatment. Courses provided include physical education, english, social studies, and psychology.
Areas of Specialization
Research shows that the odds of successful, sustained recovery from addiction are far higher when family members and loved ones are involved in treatment. Drug and alcohol addiction often have genetic roots, whether related to substance abuse, mental illness or both. Family dynamics also play a role and, often, family members are the first to realize a loved one has developed an addiction. Also, it’s important for family members to understand and embrace the lifestyle changes that are required to sustain recovery.
The term “12 Step Program” describes a way to recover from addiction that is based on the model developed by Alcoholics Anonymous. Many drug and alcohol treatment centers base their treatment on 12 steps – the first three of which are situational, the next four addressing the practical issues created by the addiction, followed by two steps focused on making amends for hurting others. Steps 10 and 11 involve a deeper examination of the previous steps and the final step is focused on helping others avoid and recover from addiction.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
The focus of cognitive behavioral therapy (also called CBT) is helping people to understand the thoughts and emotions that underlie their addiction with the goal of learning new, healthier and more productive ways to understand and express themselves.
My son, Mike, will soon be celebrating seven years sobriety. This is due to the strong men and women who run Wilderness Trwatment Center. Their dedication and commitment to our young men is exceptional. The life skills and coping every day with addiction provides a lifetime of sobriety to those young men. Thank you Wilderness Treatment Center from the bottom of my heart.
I came to Wilderness Treatment Center not knowing whether or not I wanted to stop using drugs and alcohol, but I knew I couldn’t continue living the way I was. I have always loved the outdoors so I was open to the idea of a program like Wilderness Treatment Center. It was there that I got to feel a strong sense of brotherhood and support. I knew from that point I could not take on sobriety by myself. I was able to experience a lot of things that most people don’t get to and I was able to go through unique struggles that helped me get my foundation in AA. I now have almost a year sober and I feel like the time I spent at WTC played an important part in my sobriety. Pat was not hesitant to tell me the truth about myself; it was shocking, I had always tried my best to hide the person I really was so I didn’t have to feel uncomfortable. It was easy to see that what he was saying was coming from a place of care. My experience at WTC was the first stepping stone in my sobriety.
I feel this program undoubtedly saved my son's life and if you ask him he will say the same thing. He left Wilderness with the proper tools in his tool belt to help him work through the issues he will face on his life long journey to stay clean and sober.
My 14 year old son went to WTC when we found out he was abusing drugs. He has been clean and sober for a year now and is so much happier and strong because of his experience at WTC. And our whole family is stronger and happier, thanks to their family week. The staff is superb and my son says now that his life started when he went to the WTC. The greatest gift they gave him was to finally give him a sense of self-worth. We will be forever grateful for to WTC.
Wilderness Treatment Center was a great starting point for my sobriety. My plan was to go to treatment and let my legal and relationship issues blow over so I could go back to what I was doing and play my cards smarter. I went to treatment with pressure from the state prosecutor and the judge, as well as my probation officer and family. While I was in WTC I had my first taste of real life. I really needed the two months of separation from drugs and alcohol to start to take a real look at what my life really consisted of. I had been very depressed and out of control prior to entering treatment and this condition did not change too much while I was there, but I was exposed to a new way of looking at things and I got the chance to face my reality for what it was at the time. The trip is what really set my recovery up for me and through it I was able to have a new perspective on what I had ahead of me. If I had gone anywhere else I do not believe I would be sober right now. Sobriety is hard but Wilderness Treatment Center gave me my first glimpse of what sobriety is able to be and I am grateful for the aftercare opportunity that was afforded to me.
Many of my fondest memories of early sobriety were made during my time at WTC. The experience and lessons I learned there gave me the understanding of my disease and the courage to make a change in my life. Pat helped me to take a look at myself and the pain I was inflicting on those around me. Only then, could I start to make a conscious change. Looking back, their approach to using the outdoors as a catalyst to recovery was one of the best things that anyone could have done for me. It was during my 21 day wilderness trip that I found what it meant to be clear headed and to trust god. As a result of my solid early foundation at WTC and the direction they gave me, I was able to move to Los Angeles into New Life House. I’m pleased to say today, that I have 15 months of sobriety and couldn’t be happier. Thanks Patrick, WTC, and New Life House for my life today.
Meet the Staff
Director of Admissions, Counselor, L.A.C.
Ben is a Licensed Addictions Counselor and a native of the Flathead Valley. He has a degree in Psychology from Linfield College and has been working at Wilderness Treatment Center since 2003. Ben is an avid golfer, fisherman and softball enthusiast.
Business Development Manager
Since beginning his journey in recovery, Chase has worked with many programs helping adolescents and young adults achieve sobriety. He has spent his career in several recovery residences, an intensive outpatient program as a group therapist, and working with a drug screening company doing field work with clients.
Clinical Director, Counselor
Mark has been at W.T.C. since 1998. He has a B.A. from State University of New York and an MSW from Syracuse. He is a Licensed Addiction Counselor and is a NAADAC certified Master Addiction Counselor. Mark hails from Upstate New York and moved to Montana to pursue his career at WTC.
Clinical Director, Counselor
Patrick is a Licensed Addiction Counselor. He has been working in the field of Chemical Dependency since 1995. He has worked at Hazelden Center for Youth and Families and Way 12 Half Way House. He received his training at The College of Saint Catherine in Minnesota. He has over 900 days in the backcountry on over 40 expeditions. He is married and the father of 2.
Rehabs.com Editorial Review
ABOUT WILDERNESS TREATMENT CENTER
Nestled along the western slopes of the Rocky Mountains on a 5,900-acre working cattle ranch, the Wilderness Treatment Center (WTC) is a residential substance rehab for teens and young men ages 14 to 24. The program combines a conventional 30-day rehab stay with a 16- to 21-day therapeutic wilderness exhibition. Co-occurring mental health issues are also addressed, but there are no detox services on-site — clients must be medically cleared prior to beginning treatment.
TREATMENT & ASSESSMENT
According to the website, the family-owned, 12-step-minded facility bases its treatment model on “the therapeutic journey from discovery to recovery.” During the first 30 days, clients live on the ranch and participate in therapeutic interventions such as group therapy, individual counseling, psychoeducational lectures, and 12-step meetings both on- and off-site. They also participate in activities such as hiking, equine assisted therapy, rock climbing, and ropes courses. All residents are assigned chores, with tasks ranging from tending the land and feeding animals, to wood working and helping in the kitchen.
After the first month, clients head out into the mountains for a 21-day wilderness retreat, escorted by one of the addiction counselors and a wilderness instructor. There they are faced with the challenges of living without personal comforts and are taught how to camp and make their own food. Clients continue to participate in group and individual therapy while camping. When the three weeks are up, the group returns to the ranch and spends the remainder of their stay processing their wilderness experience and preparing for discharge.
Loved ones may participate in a specialized family week, and clients still in high school can earn up to 2.5 school credits via educational courses.
The facility has a staff-to-client ratio of 1:5, and the clinical team includes a medical director, a consulting psychologist, and licensed addiction counselors. All wilderness instructors are certified wilderness first responders.
ACCOMMODATIONS & AMENITIES
Originally built in 1924, the 35-bed ranch houses residents in rustic, single-level log cabins. Of the three alumni surveyed by Rehabs.com at the time of this writing, two gave the facility five out of five stars for accommodation and amenities, and one gave the facility four out of five stars.
WHAT ALUMNI SAY
The three former clients surveyed by Rehabs.com gave Wilderness Retreat Center positive feedback. All noted that the program was serious and takes hard work (“They will make you work for your sobriety,” wrote J.M.J. “This is ONLY for people SERIOUS about recovery”), and an anonymous reviewer described the program as “strict but fair.” The third Rehabs.com reviewer noted having a rough time staying sober since leaving WTC, however they did not fault the program-- if anything, they credited WTC with helping them later in life through harder times. “Even when I have felt the walls are caving in around me, I have clung to my time at WTC as proof I could withstand anything,” they wrote. “Thank you WTC. You taught me who I am and I have carried and conducted myself, despite my struggles”
WHAT FRIENDS & FAMILY SAY
Of the six loved ones surveyed by Rehabs.com at the time of this writing, most gave the facility positive reviews. The exception was D.G.D, who gave the facility just one star for its treatment effectiveness and described it as “the most unprofessional program that exists.”
The other five reviewers praised the program for its skill-building activities, its straightforward treatment, and the effectiveness of its wilderness program. “Simple, clear cut, no ability to ‘cheat’ while there,” wrote one anonymous reviewer in a representative review. “No fancy amenities; but I do not believe that those are needed in true rehab. This sticks to the basics of getting clean and getting counseling.”
WHAT STAFF SAY
The one current staffer polled by Rehabs.com at the time of this writing gave WTC mostly high ratings, including five out of five stars for its honesty, its patient loyalty, its staff’s level of training and experience, and its willingness to put patients’ interests first. The reviewer also noted that they would recommend the facility to friends, family, and other loved ones.
Fees average $450 per day and private insurance is accepted.
Updated November 2016
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