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Is Wilderness Therapy Safe? Explore A More Empowering Solution


In a sobering report by the Government Accountability Office, investigations revealed over 1,600 incidents of abuse in wilderness therapy programs across 33 states within just two years. - G.A.O

The unveiling of a new Netflix documentary, "The Program," has sparked a vital conversation among parents, educators, and mental health professionals about the efficacy and safety of wilderness therapy for adolescents.

The film delves into the heart of wilderness programs, shedding light on the potential hazards these interventions may pose to vulnerable youth.

Here is what you'll learn:


Understanding the Pitfalls of Wilderness Therapy

Wilderness therapy is predicated on the belief that by placing teens in a challenging outdoor environment, away from the distractions of modern life, they can foster personal growth and behavioral change. However, the documentary underscores several concerns:

  1. Regulatory Gaps: A significant number of wilderness programs operate with minimal oversight, which can lead to questionable practices and unsafe conditions.

  2. Generic Approaches: The tendency of these programs to apply a blanket methodology overlooks the individualized needs of each participant.

  3. Emotional and Physical Demands: The intense nature of survival-based therapy can sometimes do more harm than good, particularly for those with pre-existing mental health conditions.

  4. Detachment from Support: The isolation from family and familiar support networks can trigger additional emotional distress and feelings of abandonment.

Key Considerations for Parents

For those contemplating a therapeutic program for their teen, it is essential to:

  • Thoroughly vet the program's credentials, track record, and the expertise of its staff.

  • Gain a clear understanding of the therapeutic approaches employed and their scientific backing.

  • Seek feedback from past participants and their families to gauge the program's impact.

  • Confirm that there are comprehensive protocols in place for emergencies and mental health support.

Potential for Trauma

The inherent risks of wilderness programs can lead to traumatic experiences, especially for a vulnerable child facing a lack of confidence.

 Isolation, physical exertion, and exposure to challenging environments can intensify emotional distress or trigger new trauma.

This does not include the fact that many Wilderness Programs use forceful tactics that can backfire quickly, such as coming into your child's house at night, capturing them, and taking them to the middle of the woods without any clue or warning.

Without proper mental health support, these experiences can leave lasting scars on a teenager's psyche.

Embracing a Nurturing Path with Wide Awake Youth Coaching

Wide Awake Youth Coaching offers a compassionate and effective alternative to wilderness therapy, addressing the unique challenges of 'Failure To Launch Syndrome' with a focus on safety, customization, and family integration.

Tailored Coaching Solutions:

Recognizing the distinctiveness of each teen or young adult, our coaching is customized to address individual strengths and areas for growth, fostering a safe and supportive environment for personal development.

Family Engagement:

Contrary to programs that separate kids from their loved ones, we promote active family involvement. Our approach includes sessions with the entire family to ensure unity and collective progress towards shared objectives.

Proven Techniques:

Our coaching is anchored in established psychological practices and coaching techniques that encourage self-discovery, accountability, and positive transformation.

Ongoing Support:

We offer continuous support to maintain the momentum of change, providing resources and guidance as teens and their families work towards a successful and fulfilling future.

Final Thoughts

While wilderness programs may offer benefits to some, the risks illuminated by "The Program" documentary are undeniable. Wide Awake Youth Coaching presents a warm and individualized alternative that places the well-being and uniqueness of your teen at the forefront.

Our methodology is crafted to empower young adults and their families with the necessary tools and support to conquer 'Failure To Launch Syndrome' and flourish.

For families seeking a journey that steers clear of the wilderness and towards a hopeful horizon, Wide Awake Youth Coaching is your guiding light.

Reach out to discover how we can assist your family in navigating this pivotal chapter with assurance and optimism.


Parenting is challenging, and the youth today is not the same as it was even ten years ago.

Whether you realize it or not, you and your children are facing modern obstacles that no human being has ever faced before.

These obstacles can make life very difficult and often we need guidance and a method that works in getting your kids on a path towards success and wellbeing.

At Wide Awake Coaching, we specialize in life coaching teens and young adults to help them find where they are, where we all would like them to be, and how to get there effectively.

We work delicately along side you as the parent to make sure the entire family is on the same page and reaching our collective goals.


Clarify and achieve personal and academic goals

Increase confidence and self purpose

Create life / relationship / business / education plans + next steps

Work to improve communication + social skills

Learn tools to reduce stress + anxiety

Achieve a school/life balance

Expand consciousness + connection + spirituality

Identify Roadblocks + build bridges to success

Start your new life or grow the one you’re in

 Gain the daily Motivation to sustain an empowered lifestyle

Elevate daily routine + improve mental and physical health

Turn the page to the future they deserve


One of the biggest differences in our transofrmative Coaching method is that is built for the MODERN YOUTH.

Through years of researching, certification, and practicing the leading methods of therapy and coaching; we sought to combine the best of the best practices in an all encompassing experience that can be customized for your child.


Typical Therapy

Typical Life Coaching

​Life Coaching

Mindset Coaching




Music Therapy


Neuro Linguistic Programming


EFT Tapping



Breathwork Therapy


No Time Limit Sessions



​Online Masterclasses


Daily Motivaiton Coaching



Weekly Parent Check Ins

Tripaxus Plan


Play Therapy (out of the office - hiking, surfing, fishing, walking, kayaking, etc.)

​Modern Success Psychology Tools (Joyride Journal, Nightingale Notepad, guided meditations)


If you want to see how our innovative coaching can dramatically improve joy, confidence, and clarity in your Child's Life, simply apply here:


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