Happy Parent Quotes

Wilderness Therapy Reviews

It’s no secret: we love what we do here at Aspiro. Doing meaningful work, changing lives, and establishing close relationships with amazing people are huge parts of what gives us such great satisfaction in what we do. We could go on about how much we love what we do here at Aspiro, but don’t take our word for it.

We would like to share some words about how we’ve helped a family or child in need through our wilderness therapy program. Here are some things we’ve heard from happy parents lately:

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Free White Paper: Wilderness Therapy: A Remedy for Low Motivation, Underachievement, and School Failure

Free White Paper: Wilderness Therapy: A Remedy for Low Motivation, Underachievement, and School Failure  | Aspiro Adventure Therapy

Aspiro Adventure Wilderness Adventure Therapy program, which provides help for teens and young adults through a variety of challenges, announced today the publication of a new White Paper, “Wilderness Therapy: A Remedy for Low Motivation, Underachievement, and School Failure” The twelve-page white paper is designed to help parents, teachers, school counselors, or anyone who needs advice on motivating teens or young adults change their academic performance.

Some students experience trouble in school due to learning disabilities or a neurodevelopmental issue such as ADHD or Autism Spectrum Disorder. Other students, however, struggle in school due to a lack of motivation. It is not uncommon for teens and young adults who have typically earned good grades in the past to start underachieving in high school or college.

Read moreFree White Paper: Wilderness Therapy: A Remedy for Low Motivation, Underachievement, and School Failure

Aspiro is Happy to Welcome Ian Ferguson, RN, to Our Team!

Aspiro is Happy to Welcome Ian Ferguson, RN, to Our Team! | Aspiro Adventure Therapy

About Ian

Ian Graduated Cum Laude from Westminster College with a BSN.  He was introduced to the power of psychiatric nursing on rotations at University of Utah Neuropsychiatric Institute. During his tenure at UNI Ian discovered a passion for this field. He was then selected for a Post-Baccalaureate Nurse Residency Program at the VA hospital in Salt Lake City where he had a well-rounded experience working in every department of the hospital, including more time with psychiatric medicine.

Ian has 6 core emergency nursing certifications; BLS (Basic Life Support), ACLS (Advanced Life Support), PALS (Pediatric Advanced Life Support), TNCC (Trauma Nursing Core Course), ENPC Emergency Nursing Pediatric Course, and NRP (Neonatal Resuscitation Program).

Ian’s passion for nursing developed after his three-week-old son stopped breathing for over 4 minutes. After almost losing his son Ian reflected on the supportive, caring nurses in the hospital, and the impactful role they played in helping his family through a difficult time. He was then inspired to become a nurse to make such a difference for others.

Ian has been working in trauma and emergency nursing over last 2 years and enjoys helping people in times of crisis. Ian says, “Seeing the impact and changes that come from great medical care and intervention are what make my job so enjoyable, making it feel like it’s not really a job at all.”

When he isn’t working, Ian loves spending time with his wife and children outdoors; hiking, camping, boating, mountain biking, baseball, football, and soccer. He is an avid skier, snowboarder, rock climber, and mountain biker, which gives him great enthusiasm about Aspiro’s Adventure Therapy approach to treatment. Ian has found much confidence and satisfaction through adventure, as well as peace and healing in the outdoors.

“I absolutely love my job,” says Ian. “I love being able to make a difference in the lives of the patients I work with and I am excited to be a part of the Aspiro team and vision.” 

Please help me in welcoming Ian to our team.

With Gratitude and Appreciation –

Shannon Weaver, LCSW
Associate Director of Marketing & Outreach

Get to know Jason Capel, one of our Clinical Wilderness Therapists at Aspiro

Get to know Jason Capel, one of our Clinical Wilderness Therapists at Aspiro 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Josh Watson, LCSW – CMO
(801)349-2740, x1 – [email protected]

Aspiro’s specialized Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) group for girls is led by one of the most experienced and talented Wilderness Therapists in the profession. Jason Capel is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the state of Utah and has over 18 years of professional clinical experience in both residential and wilderness therapy settings. Take some time and read about Jason’s approach below or watch this brief spotlight video on Jason and his clinical approach at Aspiro.

Here is Jason’s most recent blog post:

The ability for me to integrate the best practices of Adventure-based therapy at Aspiro allows for a very dynamic, emotionally safe and successful DBT group milieu. The general profiles that responds best in this group are those demonstrating emotionally sensitive temperament, problems understanding and regulating their emotions, significant problems in family/social relationships, identity confusion, deficits self-regulation, and emergence of problem behaviors ranging from suicide, self-injury, substance use, disordered eating, risk-taking behavior, and underachieving to their potential academically.

Our experienced Aspiro Field Guides in this group are trained to create and maintain an acceptance/change environment where it is emotionally safe to explore, assess, and develop perspective to find alternative solutions to the problematic behaviors/patterns. Guides and therapist work together to teach how their behavior functions as an attempt to solve problems and provide more effective alternatives that can generalize to more normative environments. Students learn to experience their own emotions without blocking, distracting or avoiding them. They learn how to use skills to identify and solve problems while learning to be responsible and work effectively with other girls, staff, and family.

Students learn how to be honest with the way they are living their lives and develop a working commitment to find less harmful solutions to problems in daily living situations. Parents also learn how to be honest with themselves and their child in a manner that promotes transparency and accountability. Clinical service delivery includes weekly DBT skills training group, individual therapy, problem-solving group interventions, family therapy, and positive peer consultation group. Students learn practical coping skills that they practice generalizing throughout the different weekly itineraries and learn to take responsibility for their own behavior, quality of life, and developing a life that’s worth living. Parents are educated on more humane, effective ways of parenting and learning to safely transition control to their child in the form of empowerment. Generally, students distinguish themselves from the way they were living to one that is empowered with skills, ability, and real hope in their own lives.

Thank you for taking the time to learn more about the rewarding work we do with adolescent and young adult females at Aspiro. Feel free to contact me directly to learn more about Jason and our girls program at Aspiro.

Warmest Regards,

Josh Watson, LCSW – CMO
[email protected]

Therapist Spotlight: Ryan Coley

Therapist Spotlight: Ryan Coley | Aspiro Adventure Therapy

Ryan’s contributions to Aspiro over the past 7 years have played a vital role in the ongoing innovation of Aspiro‘s experiential, adventure-based,wilderness treatment model. In collaboration with Associate Clinical Director, Dr. Carl Smoot, Ryan’s primary objective has been to provide leadership, support, and case management to Aspiro’s dynamic clinical team with a focus on long-term sustainability.

“Ryan will always go out of his way to help another person. He genuinely cares about his students, and that level of commitment is contagious. As Aspiro’s Clinical Director, Ryan enriches a team of therapists who are uniquely invested in supporting each other while providing a high level of care to our clients,” says Dr. Smoot.

Ryan is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the State of Utah and specializes in the treatment of depression, anxiety, substance abuse, attachment issues, self-harm, and identity issues in adolescents and young adults. His experience and expertise offer strong leadership and treatment collaboration to Aspiro’s team of therapists.

“I feel so privileged to lead and serve along side of such a wonderful group of therapists
at Aspiro. We’ve created a clinical model where we combine wilderness, high adventure
activities, and talk therapy to produce a rich classroom for our students. Our clinical
team is incredible. They’re diverse, they’re dedicated, they practice proven modalities,
and they care.”

Take a look at this short video clip and get to know Ryan:

Help Your Teen Struggling with Substance Abuse

Wilderness Therapy Programs For Troubled Teens | Aspiro Adventure Therapy

The teenage years provide adolescents with many opportunities to experiment with drugs and alcohol. Watching your son or daughter struggle with substance abuse can cause strains on relationships and concerns for parents. Clinically proven and researched-backed treatment options, such as wilderness adventure therapy, can effectively guide struggling teens back to health, happiness, and sobriety. If you are a parent of a teen struggling with substance abuse, it’s important to remember there is a way out. Your teen can be happy and healthy once again, but you must take the first step by seeking proper treatment for them. One highly effective treatment option for teens struggling with substance abuse is wilderness adventure therapy because it combines traditional therapy with adventure activities that lead to confidence, improved health, and a greater sense of self. With the proper help, your teen’s future can be bright once again.

As we wrap up this month’s campaign surrounding teens and substance abuse, we invite you to download our white paper, “Teens and Substance Abuse: A Comprehensive Guide for Parents.”

This white paper was sponsored by Aspiro Adventure, the pioneer of Wilderness Adventure Therapy. Aspiro Adventure offers safe, effective, and clinically-sophisticated treatment options for adolescents and young adults.


About Aspiro Adventure

Aspiro Adventure’s Wilderness Adventure Therapy program was uniquely crafted to assist students and their families in creating lasting, life-long emotional changes through compassionate, intentional, research-backed, and safe outdoor adventure therapy programs. The professionals at Aspiro Adventure understand individuals don’t come with instructions, and every student is unique, capable, and amazing in their own right. Aspiro Adventure focuses on helping adolescents, young adults, and their families through difficulties that occur when various behavioral, cognitive, or developmental issues are present. Research shows that engaging individuals on a personal level with strategic and intentional activities will aid in developing the tools and skills necessary to engage life in a healthy and positive way.

5 Ways Wilderness Adventure Therapy Can Help Teens Struggling with Substance Abuse

Wilderness Therapy Programs For Troubled Teens | Aspiro Adventure Therapy

A common treatment option parents turn to for their teen struggling with substance abuse is wilderness adventure therapy. According to Aspiro Adventure. wilderness adventure therapy — hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking, skiing, backpacking, and canyoneering, etc. — is a revolutionary, dynamic way to break through boundaries, build awareness, and establish healthier behavioral patterns for those with cognitive, as well as behavioral challenges.

A credible wilderness adventure therapy program will accomplish the following in teens struggling with substance abuse:

  1. Behavioral Intervention
  2. Accountability
  3. Healthier Lifestyle
  4. Individualized Treatment
  5. Clinically-Proven Results

Behavioral Intervention

Wilderness adventure therapy removes teens with substance abuse issues from the environment they are currently struggling in. Teens in a wilderness adventure therapy program don’t have access to drugs, alcohol, or negative relationships encouraging their use. This acts as a behavioral intervention and gives the teen distance from the current influences and stressors of their life so they might increase their understanding around their substance use, and develop a commitment to sobriety. The previously harmful and destructive environment is replaced by the peaceful and therapeutic environment of the wilderness. A credible wilderness adventure therapy will provide a variety of environments for students to generalize the skills and coping mechanisms they’ve learned to replace previous patterns of substance abuse.

Wilderness Adventure Therapy Teaches Accountability to Teens with Substance Abuse Issues

A credible wilderness adventure therapy program teaches about the natural consequences that come from the wilderness. For example, if a student does not set up their shelter properly or prep their meals, they will suffer the consequence. As teens generalize this skill, it helps them take full accountability for the poor choices that have led them to this point. Once a teen struggling with substance abuse takes responsibility for their actions, the result is personal empowerment, greater awareness, and improved behavior.

Wilderness Adventure Therapy Promotes a Healthier Lifestyle in Teens

Wilderness adventure therapy can also help a teen improve their overall health. Wilderness adventure therapy as treatment for teen substance abuse combines a variety of high-impact, challenging physical activities that push teens to accomplish goals they never thought impossible. Teens routinely go outside their comfort zone which can be a dynamic and exciting treatment process for teens struggling with substance abuse. Additionally, participation in such challenging physical activities also teaches teens healthy activities he or she can continue to participate in for a lifetime.

Individualized Treatment for Teens with Substance Abuse Issues

Wilderness therapy should not be a “one size fits all” approach to helping your teen. A credible wilderness adventure therapy program will have a staff of caring and experienced therapists to properly assess your teen and provide them with an individualized treatment plan based on their history of substance abuse. Programs like Aspiro Adventure have therapists and field staff who model effective behavior and build strong relationships with each student that help participants develop healthier patterns and more effective coping strategies.

Clinically-Proven Results for Teens with Substance Abuse Issues

Lastly, wilderness adventure therapy provides teens with substance abuse issues clinically-proven results. Researcher Keith Russell of the Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Research Cooperative found that teens suffering from a variety of behavioral issues such as substance abuse, anxiety, and depression reported improvements in anxiety levels and depression, and did not backslide into substance abuse. These results were maintained at check-ins six months after the end of treatment.


About Aspiro Adventure

Aspiro Adventure’s Wilderness Adventure Therapy program was uniquely crafted to assist students and their families in creating lasting, life-long emotional changes through compassionate, intentional, research-backed, and safe outdoor adventure therapy programs. The professionals at Aspiro Adventure understand individuals don’t come with instructions, and every student is unique, capable, and amazing in their own right. Aspiro Adventure focuses on helping adolescents, young adults, and their families through difficulties that occur when various behavioral, cognitive, or developmental issues are present. Research shows that engaging individuals on a personal level with strategic and intentional activities will aid in developing the tools and skills necessary to engage life in a healthy and positive way.

Wilderness Adventure Therapy: A Remedy for Substance Abuse Among Adolescents

Wilderness Therapy Programs For Troubled Teens | Aspiro Adventure Therapy

As soon as a parent recognizes their son or daughter is struggling with substance abuse, it’s time to seek professional help. When it comes to such a serious issue that could have lasting effects on the brain, parents must act promptly and with caution. The best way parents can ensure a healthy future for their teen is to address the issue and seek professional help.

A common treatment option parents turn to for their teen struggling with substance abuse is wilderness adventure therapy. In recent years, wilderness adventure therapies have become more prevalent as treatment for teens and substance abuse due to it’s ability to aid individuals in overcoming the social, behavioral, and emotional problems that follow.

What is Wilderness Adventure Therapy?

According to Aspiro Adventure. wilderness adventure therapy — hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking, skiing, backpacking, and canyoneering, etc. — is a revolutionary, dynamic way to break through boundaries, build awareness, and establish healthier behavioral patterns for those with cognitive, as well as behavioral challenges. Wilderness adventure therapy meets a teen’s unique needs and removes them from the negative influences present in their everyday life. This step acts as a “reset button” for teens which facilitates growth and change in a safe and monitored environment.

A credible wilderness adventure therapy program will accomplish the following in teens struggling with substance abuse:

  1. Behavioral Intervention
  2. Accountability
  3. Healthier Lifestyle
  4. Individualized Treatment
  5. Clinically-Proven Results

In our blog post next week, we will further discuss how wilderness adventure therapy can help teens struggling with substance abuse. For immediate information on this topic and how wilderness therapy can help, we invite you to download our latest white paper now:


About Aspiro Adventure

Aspiro Adventure’s Wilderness Adventure Therapy program was uniquely crafted to assist students and their families in creating lasting, life-long emotional changes through compassionate, intentional, research-backed, and safe outdoor adventure therapy programs. The professionals at Aspiro Adventure understand individuals don’t come with instructions, and every student is unique, capable, and amazing in their own right. Aspiro Adventure focuses on helping adolescents, young adults, and their families through difficulties that occur when various behavioral, cognitive, or developmental issues are present. Research shows that engaging individuals on a personal level with strategic and intentional activities will aid in developing the tools and skills necessary to engage life in a healthy and positive way.

How Parents Can Help Their Teen Struggling with Substance Abuse

Wilderness Therapy Programs For Troubled Teens | Aspiro Adventure Therapy

The emotional drain that comes with having a teen struggling with substance abuse can result in parents feeling incapable and overwhelmed with how to help their son or daughter. However, it’s important to remember that parents play an important role in empowering their teen with the tools they need to create their own happy and healthy lives. Three of the most effective ways parents can provide support to their teen dealing with substance abuse is:

  1. Direct communication
  2. Address the issue
  3. Supervise and set limits

Direct Communication

If you’re concerned that your son or daughter may be using drugs, ask your teen directly, “Are you using drugs?” Or,  “Have you tried alcohol?” Asking your son or daughter such direct questions may prompt them to share their experiences and will open the lines of communication between you and your teen surrounding these topics. Encouraging honest and direct communication lets your teen know you are open to discussing these topics with them. Some teens may not be honest in their responses, but it’s important for parents to take the first step by demonstrating direct communication.

Parents, prepare yourself for these conversations by identifying responses that will be both helpful and reassuring to your teen that you are on their team, even if their responses are not what you were hoping to hear. During these conversations, express your love and concern for your teen and that you want the best for them.

Reinforce good behavior in your teen through positive encouragement. Be there to support your teen as he or she gets the treatment they need. Encourage your teen to build new friendships and to try new things. Let your teen know that you know they can do hard things and that you are there to support them on the road of recovery.

Supervise and Set Limits

While parents should encourage open communication and not shame their son or daughter, it’s also important to establish healthy boundaries and limits for your teen. Parents should sit down with their teen to discuss what kinds of behavior is appropriate and inappropriate. While teens will make their own decisions, it’s important for your son or daughter to know where you stand and what the rules of the family are by following through with consequences in a predictable and consistent manner. This teaches responsibility and encourages communication. Parents should also make an effort to know and meet their teen’s friends and their parents to stay informed and involved in a healthy way.

Address the Issue

Lastly, teens must address their teen’s substance abuse issues. As soon as a parent recognizes there is a problem, it’s time to seek professional help. It’s important teens get a professional assessment as your teen’s substance issues could also be related to mental health issues. When it comes to such a serious issue that could have lasting effects on the brain, parents must act promptly and with caution. The best way parents can ensure a healthy future for their teen is to address the issue and seek professional help.


About Aspiro Adventure

Aspiro Adventure’s Wilderness Adventure Therapy program was uniquely crafted to assist students and their families in creating lasting, life-long emotional changes through compassionate, intentional, research-backed, and safe outdoor adventure therapy programs. The professionals at Aspiro Adventure understand individuals don’t come with instructions, and every student is unique, capable, and amazing in their own right. Aspiro Adventure focuses on helping adolescents, young adults, and their families through difficulties that occur when various behavioral, cognitive, or developmental issues are present. Research shows that engaging individuals on a personal level with strategic and intentional activities will aid in developing the tools and skills necessary to engage life in a healthy and positive way.

The Dangers of Teen Substance Abuse

Wilderness Therapy Programs For Troubled Teens | Aspiro Adventure Therapy

Many parents of a teen engaging in substance use, have observed the harmful effects drugs and alcohol have on the family, the teen’s academic performance, their social interactions, and their behavior. The use of drugs and alcohol can lead teens to make poor decisions that have lasting effects on their life. Drugs and alcohol are increasingly harmful when a teen develops a pattern of repeated use. Some of the dangers of teen substance abuse include:

  • Addiction
  • Failure in school
  • Decreased motivation
  • Impaired memory
  • Unhealthy relationships
  • Mental health problems
  • Substance abuse disorders
  • Infectious diseases (HIV, Hepatitis C)
  • Unsafe sex
  • Overdose
  • Death

Even if a teen is experimenting with drugs or alcohol and is not yet addicted to a substance, serious consequences can still follow. As parents take the necessary steps they can help guide their son or daughter back to health and safety. In addition, clinically proven and researched-backed treatment options, such as wilderness adventure therapy, can effectively guide struggling teens back to health, happiness, and sobriety. Download our latest white paper to learn more:


About Aspiro Adventure

Aspiro Adventure’s Wilderness Adventure Therapy program was uniquely crafted to assist students and their families in creating lasting, life-long emotional changes through compassionate, intentional, research-backed, and safe outdoor adventure therapy programs. The professionals at Aspiro Adventure understand individuals don’t come with instructions, and every student is unique, capable, and amazing in their own right. Aspiro Adventure focuses on helping adolescents, young adults, and their families through difficulties that occur when various behavioral, cognitive, or developmental issues are present. Research shows that engaging individuals on a personal level with strategic and intentional activities will aid in developing the tools and skills necessary to engage life in a healthy and positive way.

COVID-19 Update

Aspiro Adventure Therapy is continuing to support families through this unprecedented time. We are closely monitoring information related to COVID-19 and have implemented additional safety precautions to mitigate risks. Our enhanced admissions screening and program guidelines are informed by the CDC and Utah department of health. To learn more, contact us at (801) 349-2740.