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Wilderness Programs vs. Life Coaching: What To Know

Teens Today

Teen anxiety rate has increased 76% since 2009 || The suicide rate in teens has risen 60% since 2007 || 57% of young adult males now have a substance dependency - C.D.C

As parents seek solutions for their teenagers' behavioral issues and personal growth, wilderness programs have become a popular option.

Many of our clients have experienced In-Patient Therapy or Wilderness Programs. Some clients have had positive experiences, while others experiences have been catastrophic.

Understanding whether a Wilderness Program is right for your child can be a make or break for their success.

It is essential to understand the potential dangers and negative aspects of these programs as well as alternate option that may work better for your family.

This article will explore the pros and cons that can arise from wilderness programs and offer some alternative approaches that may be better for your child:



The #1 thing we see happen with our adolescent clients who have experienced a Wilderness Program is a loss of trust. They experience a massive mental and emotional detachment from their support systems and even a feeling of betrayal.

Being a parent can be very challenging, especially when your child seems lost, and you don't know what is the best next step.

Unfortunately, parents jump into sending their child off to a Wilderness Program without knowing how much emotional damage it can cause to their child.

The child can often feel abandoned when creating things like a Tripaxus Agreement can have a much more effective impact without the lasting loss of connection with your child.

Tools and strategies like these can be an absolute game changers for the success of your child's next chapter in life.

The Illusion of Control

Wilderness programs may appear structured and supervised, but the reality is that rugged terrain, unpredictable weather, and lack of immediate medical assistance can pose physical and emotional risks.

Vulnerable teenagers may also feel isolated and anxious without familiar surroundings and support systems. This can be triggering and even cause psychological damage.

Lack of Professional Expertise

Many wilderness programs rely on unqualified staff who lack the necessary psychological training to address complex emotional and mental health issues.

This may lead to overlooking or mishandling crucial psychological concerns, which can further harm or exacerbate existing problems.

Potential for Trauma

The inherent risks of wilderness programs can lead to traumatic experiences, especially for vulnerable teenagers.

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.

Limited Personalization

Wilderness programs often follow a one-size-fits-all approach, disregarding the unique needs and circumstances of each teenager.

This lack of personalization can hinder progress and fail to address the underlying issues that led to enrollment. In contrast, life coaches work directly with teenagers, tailoring their guidance to suit specific goals, challenges, and strengths.

Long-Term Integration and Sustainability

Wilderness programs may provide short-term benefits, but the lack of ongoing support and follow-up can result in a regression to old habits and behaviors.

Life coaching offers continuous guidance and support, empowering teenagers to navigate life's challenges effectively and make lasting positive changes.


Wilderness Programs can be empowering. Some adolescents get to a point where all solutions have been tried and nothing is changing.

However, if parents knew alternative solution to try first, a lot of potential damage could be avoided.

Most parents do not understand the potential dangers and negative aspects of wilderness programs when seeking solutions for their teenagers' behavioral issues and personal growth.

Things like working with a life coach offers a personalized approach, ongoing support, and a focus on sustainable growth, ensuring a healthier and more effective path towards personal development.


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 youth 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

Turn the page to the future you desire


One of the biggest differences in our Life Coaching method is that we combine both Life Coaching and Traditional Therapy.

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 you.


Typical Therapy

Typical Life Coaching

​Life Coaching

Mindset Coaching




Music Therapy


Neuro Linguistic Programming


EFT Tapping



Breathwork Therapy


No Time Limit Sessions



​Online Masterclasses


Bio Identical Hormone Therapy



Infrared Sauna Therapy

Himalayan Salt Therapy


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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