July, 21 2017

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TX, Lone Star Expeditions 1st to Integrate Ropes Course for Troubled Teens

Lone Star Expeditions, a wilderness therapy program for troubled teens, is the first wilderness program to integrate a ropes therapy course into the weekly therapeutic curriculum.

Lone Star Expeditions specializes in helping troubled teens who have behavioral, emotional, or substance abuse issues. A few hours north of Houston, Texas, Lone Star teens experience a wilderness adventure that removes them from the distractions of modern life that often prevent them from examining and changing their self-destructive behaviors. Teens learn wilderness skills as they trek through the Texas "outback."

"Having worked with the ropes course for over five years," explains Field Director Melvin Cates, "We've decided to unlock the magic of the experiential activities provided. We realized we would be missing a great opportunity if we only used this power once or twice during a student's stay with us. Since deciding to integrate the course into weekly work, we've seen cognitive behavioral, motivational intervention, and adventure based techniques come alive with full potential."

A Ropes Challenge Course offers another powerful way to reach defiant teens who are often unwilling to fully open up in traditional "talk therapy" and are reluctant to challenge themselves.

"We recognized that the course work not only had a powerful impact on our teens, but offered us a unique perspective on these kids' behavior within groups. We realized weekly ropes course work would help them improve their relationships with their parents and other family members. In effect, the team-building aspect of the ropes course experience became a testing ground for these teens to learn how to better interact with their parents and peers," explains Mike Bednarz, Executive Director of Lone Star Expeditions.

The use of a ropes course in a therapeutic program is based on the theory that by taking teens out of their comfort zone and helping them have a successful experience you build confidence and create the right environment for positive, and often profound, change.

"Our therapists not only observe the ropes initiatives, but actively participate with the students, which creates a foundation for positive interactions that can help young people who may have had negative therapeutic experiences in the past that created roadblocks to change," says Julie Elliott, Clinical Director of Lone Star Expeditions, "The ropes course work also provides a framework that readily encompasses the philosophy of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. The ropes initiatives create constant opportunities to utilize the DBT skill sets of Mindfulness, Interpersonal Effectiveness, Emotion Regulation, and Distress Tolerance."

Lone Star's therapeutic wilderness camp offers a unique alternative to boot camps and military schools. Teens spend four to six weeks in a natural outdoor environment while working with licensed therapists. University-based research validates the effectiveness of outdoor treatment for youth struggling with behavioral problems or substance abuse. Lone Star's highly effective program has been featured on Dateline NBC.

Related Articles:
Center for Troubled Teens to Open in Pennsylvania 1/12/08
Maryland Troubled Teens Tracked by GPS 1/12/08
New York Closes 6 Centers for Troubled Youth 1/12/08
Jamaica Considers Using Boot Camps to Help Troubled Teens 1/12/08
Montana Wrestler Sentenced to Juvenile Boot Camp 1/11/08
Missouri Boys Ranch Seeking Mentors for Troubled Teens
Art Therapy Helping Troubled Teens in New York 1/9/08
Troubled Teens Roaming Streets With Weapons 1/9/08
Utah's Passages to Recovery: Eight yrs Old 1/8/07
Germany to Back Boot Camps 1/7/08


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