Wilderness Therapy in the Media

Wilderness Therapy in the Media

Aspiro's Commitment to Safe and Effective Care

Aspiro remains committed to hearing all feedback and utilizing that information to continuously review our program philosophy, clinical approach, and policies and procedures to ensure that all participants have a nurturing and positive experience in our program.
Our primary goal is individual and family healing and that can only happen when our students experience continuous physical and emotional safety.

If you or someone you know has experienced abuse, neglect or mistreatment in the context of a therapeutic program environment, please report that to the state licensing body that oversees that program. Any person who has experienced abuse in a treatment program should be appropriately heard, and any program that has allowed intimidation, coercion, a punitive approach, or otherwise employed ineffective or unsafe means to create change should be investigated and if warranted, shut down.

The state of Utah is the gold standard in licensing for Outdoor Behavioral Programs. To learn more about how we are regulated click the link below. Aspiro is also an Outdoor Behavioral Health Council accredited program. These programs are held to a high standard of safety, evidence-based outcomes and best practices in youth care.

A Response To Breaking Code Silence, Unsilenced and Other Negative Accounts in the Media

Aspiro has been in operation since 2005 and is exhaustively committed to research, outcome studies and a continuous focus on our client experience and improving services and offerings. We incorporate Wilderness and Adventure Therapy with a basecamp model to bring the best facets of those modalities to our student experience. Aspiro’s Clinical Team takes an individualized treatment approach for each student and family, and our work is rooted in evidence-based practices which include Family Systems theory, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Growth Mindset, Motivational Interviewing and Positive Psychology.

Over our many years in operation, we have had the opportunity to serve thousands of families, and consistently receive feedback about the empowering and life-changing outcomes that have resulted. We have also participated in numerous independent research studies through OBHIC that continue to support Aspiro’s effectiveness as well as that of the Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare field at large. That said, we also recognize that we are working with human beings, and cannot affect these outcomes with 100% of the students we work with. In some cases, they may continue to struggle with lifelong mental health challenges that have hindered their ability to navigate the world in a healthy way, sometimes resulting in anger, resentment, overwhelm, anxiety and fear.

Breaking Code Silence, Unsilenced and other media outlets have recently highlighted negative experiences in therapeutic residential and wilderness programs in part due to Paris Hilton speaking out about her experiences while in a treatment facility in the 1990s. Since then others have joined her in sharing their experiences and raising awareness about abuse and neglect said to have taken place. In some cases, the negativity being portrayed in news headlines and social media feeds are the experiences of individuals who are alumni of under-regulated, behavioral modification programs decades ago. In a society that is continuously becoming more and more fragmented, many adolescents and young adults are looking for connection, validation, attention and belonging, and some of them have found it in the arms of these groups. Sadly, almost all of what we read related to program abuse has never been reported to State Licensing bodies or appropriately investigated through the correct channels. Media outlets take these stories at face value and given the sensationalized nature of the content, are uninterested in investigating the other side, resulting in a one-sided narrative.

In addition, many online forums and websites that are sponsored by these groups do not allow for positive alumni experiences or program responses to negative allegations to be shared. In recent months, the growing trend has also involved blanketing many programs with 1-star reviews. A vast majority of these reviews are being left by individuals who have never actually been a participant at Aspiro or any other therapeutic program, but are voicing their support for those who have, based on the very one-sided, inflammatory information being reported in the media.

Where Does This Leave Families?

We recognize you are faced with the gut wrenching knowledge that you have exhausted your available resources to help your child at home. Here are some things you can to do vet programs for safe and effective care:

Additional Research

To see more research on Outdoor Behavioral Health and Wilderness Therapy Programs like Aspiro, visit the websites of the Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Center and the Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Council.

Meet the
& Field Staff

What makes Aspiro a truly unique and special experience is our highly trained and dedicated team.

Meet The
& Field Staff

Research shows that our students report a 38% increase in self-confidence. When faced with success in their abilities, students begin to believe in themselves again.