Helping families chart the course
True North students present with a multitude of strengths and talents in addition to challenging, unproductive, or risky behaviors. They must be able to commit to enrollment in the program with encouragement and clear expectations from their families and our staff or with professional intervention support.
Diagnoses and presenting problems may include but are not limited to:
Mild to severe depression and bipolar disorders
Mild to severe anxiety, OCD, social anxiety, grief, loss, and trauma
School refusal, social isolation, low motivation, lack of confidence
Mild to moderate marijuana or alcohol use or experimentation
History of eating disordered behaviors, mild to moderate self-harm, history of suicidal ideation, risky sexual behavior
Peer and parent relational issues, adjustment and attachment disorders, issues related to adoption or identity
Learning differences, ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorders, academic decline, executive function challenges
Disrespect, dishonesty, resistance to limits and boundaries
True North is committed to highly individualized interventions and therapeutic support, which is why our student groups and therapist caseloads do not exceed 7 students. Course Leaders hold a minimum of a Master’s degree, and facilitate individual and group therapy at least twice per week for each student. Course Leaders direct individualized treatment plans and communicate throughout the week with our guides about each student’s daily goals and experiences. Each student completes a written curriculum focused on personal reflection and skill development while engaging in outdoor living tasks and group activities. Collaboration with parents, students, consultants, and the entire True North team are essential to our inclusive and relational therapeutic approach.
Engaging with students in our dynamic milieu allows us to generate a thorough understanding of cognitive, emotional, and behavioral patterns that have contributed to the need for intervention. Therapy sessions, guide observation, interactions with parents and other professionals, and psycho-educational testing contribute to our intensive assessment process.
Therapists work hand in hand with our guides to provide a team approach to in-the-moment daily support and authentic feedback that promotes successful emotional and interpersonal skills. Parent therapists and Course Leaders communicate regularly, deepening the therapeutic process for the whole family. Experienced clinical direction and close collaboration with referring and consulting professionals ensures strong team communication throughout each student’s stay.
We help students and families determine the best way to capitalize on the gains they’ve made in wilderness and translate new skills as they move forward. Course leaders at True North provide recommendations and work closely with families and referring professionals to design a customized plan for each student in preparation for their graduation from True North. Our transition coordinators collaborate with guides and course leaders to support students in reflecting on their success in the program and preparing for graduation and a successful transition.
Parents correspond with their children through emailed letters twice per week. Letter-writing allows parents and students to reflect, process, and respond to one another intentionally, enhancing their communication and deepening their relationship.
Parents at True North will work closely with two therapists throughout their child’s stay. They will participate in weekly calls with their child’s Course Leader who will share updates on their child’s progress in the program, explore emerging themes in the treatment process, and facilitate transition planning. They will also speak weekly with their parent therapist who will provide support for parents while guiding them through assignments in the parent curriculum, including a series of assignments that have been personalized to help them support their child’s progress and enrich family relationships.
Parents participate in an individualized two-day parent workshop on our campus mid-way through their child’s stay. Each workshop is limited to two families and is an interactive and experiential opportunity to deepen awareness of family patterns and promote meaningful communication and connection. The workshop allows parents and students to integrate new skills and behaviors into the family dynamic while offering parents an opportunity to reconnect with their child prior to making transition plans.
Our dedicated Transition Coordinators work one-on-one with students every day throughout the final phase (the last two weeks) of the program to ensure that students solidify new strategies and skills and are prepared to continue the success they establish at True North in the next phase of their journey.
Each student designs an individual transition portfolio, which is a physical representation of their experience at True North that they can take with them and share with their family members and future support team. It includes personal reflections on each phase of the program and the experiences that have been most meaningful for them while at True North.
The final experience for each student is a graduation ceremony, which provides an opportunity to present their goals, outdoor living skills, and hopes for the future. With families, staff, and peers participating, students are able to share their achievements with pride and transition with a sense of accomplishment.