I had a horrible experience in this program. The reason I decided to go is that I had gone through a traumatic experience and I started seeing a therapist who recommended it.
I was expecting to feel supported and get to know the staff and other people in the program. Instead I was treated like a criminal even though I've never done drugs or broken the law.
The staff you interact with on a daily basis are not trained therapists. They were often emotionally abusive. I was told that if I left the program early my parents wouldn't want me back. I have a very close relationship with my family and knew that was bull****. At the time I was on disability at my first job out of college and had moved back home.
We were often bullied and treated with disrespect. We hiked in over 100 degree weather most days . I was on a lot of anti anxieties bc I would get panic attacks which made me extremely tired. Sometimes when I needed a break from hiking (which btw i love hiking and used to do that most weekends before I was mentally I'll) I was told I was lazy and that I could not take a break.
During most of the program I was not allowed to talk to my parents. The therapist kept telling them I needed to stay longer. Btw they charge something like $5,000 per week which isn't cheap so they have a strong incentive to make you stay longer.
Finally in order to leave the program I would just flat out lie to the staff and say everything they wanted to hear. When I finally was allowed to go home my parents were very upset and I was very depressed for months. When I was finally able to communicate with my parents during the program I was terrified to tell them about what the program was like. The therapist was on the phone line and told me what I needed to tell my parents if I wanted to leave any time soon.
I'm happy to say that now I'm doing very well . I'm a full time grad student and work 20 hours a week at a university. If anyone wants to talk to me about my experience I welcome it and am more than happy to answer questions.
Of course this is only my experience and I know there are ppl who benefit from it. If your kid has serious behavioral problems or addicted to drugs they might benefit. If your kid is feeling depressed or anxious I wouldn't recommend it. It could make their problems worse.
- (The original testimony on Yelp)
- Factsheet about the program (Fornits Wiki)
- 327. Second Nature Wilderness program (1000 places You don't want to be as a teenager)