How We Help You Help Yourself

A therapeutic learning experience is at the heart of everything you do at Medicine Wheel. Whether you are working on friction fires, completing a writing assignment, or hiking through the mountains, there are opportunities for self-observation and insight to take place. Clinicians and field guides are available when opportunities to process and interpret these experiences arise. This clinical awareness is individualized and often very personal. Students move through the therapeutic process at their own pace; for this reason, all participants are involved in structured daily groups and weekly clinician sessions.

It is important to understand that in order for real change to occur, it must come from the individual; it must come from the heart. Students are not forced to change any thought or behavior. As attendees gain experience with self-management and improve their critical thinking skills, they become more confident. This confidence is demonstrated in their healthy relationships with peers and staff. As those relationships continue to develop, clients become more educated about the impact that depression, anxiety, trauma, attachment, addiction, and other mental health concerns have on themselves and those around them.

Clients struggling with addiction and recovery will be involved in 12-Step work at Medicine Wheel. The wilderness environment is an ideal setting for working on the 12-Steps. For those who may have been involved in treatment before, the wilderness is a wonderful place to reconnect with and practice those therapeutic principles. With the clear mountain air, wide open spaces, and undistracted simple living, there is no better opportunity to come to terms with your place in the world and connect with a higher power. Isolated from people and places that have previously fed an addiction, clients have a chance to gain strength without distractions or temptations.

For those dealing with addiction for the first time, Medicine Wheel primarily focuses on the first five steps of the 12-Step Big Book program. This introduction helps clients decide whether or not they want to pursue a 12-Step treatment approach after their time at Medicine Wheel. For those who have worked on their addictions in previous settings, Medicine Wheel will help them determine where they are in the recovery process and walk with them as they restart their journey.

As young adults learn to master wilderness skills, they recognize the correlation between the challenges they face in the wilderness and the “real world” challenges they faced at home. These moments of self-discovery and personal enlightenment are meaningful and powerful lessons they take with them into adulthood.