Milieu matters. It's where real change and personal development take place. Perhaps one of the most important aspects of the therapeutic milieu is the setting for care. The setting can be an effective mechanism for getting treatment at the right time, maintaining participant engagement in care and effecting positive clinical outcomes. But the treatment setting can also work against progress if it is too overbearing, not grounded in real world experience or too heavily reliant on metaphor. Confluence offers a unique blend of two different treatment settings – a traditional residential setting and a wilderness therapy experience. Alone both settings offer unique advantages that facilitate the treatment process, combined they offer a dynamic approach that brings together the best of both worlds. 

Full wilderness immersion treatment programs provide a therapeutic container allowing for intense levels of focus, which is remarkably effective in helping to break through resistance to the therapeutic process and also at revealing the consequences of maladaptive behavior patterns. Perhaps more importantly wilderness therapy offers the very real therapeutic benefits of natural environments and respite from more complex manners of living. Additionally, intentional activity, positive stress experiences and challenges help individuals grow, develop resilience and build self-esteem. 

On the other hand residential programs allow for a mix of comfort and support empowering individuals to be active in their own care. The setting creates an opportunity for individuals to focus on their treatment rather than worry about their environment and its latent consequences. Our home-like residential setting helps individuals by providing a healthy schedule, space for mindfulness-based stress reduction, nutrition and wellness practices, community connection, relationship development as well as time for fun and relaxation. The residential setting offers a more real backdrop to address life skills development and improve capacities for independent living.

Confluence wilderness therapy experiences are about using the outdoors to meet the prescriptive needs of participants. Those needs include the therapeutic benefits of the natural world, self-esteem building activities, creating patterns for healthy living and putting space in between the individual and the challenges experienced in everyday life. The wilderness allows participants to reset from the distractions and pressures of normal life and become empowered and more confident. 

The co-existing residential component at Confluence is designed to support treatment by lowering the threshold for participation in treatment. It cultivates a level of commitment or “buy-in” from those in a precontemplative stage of change, while not being too heavy handed for those already accepting of treatment or who are seeking treatment on their own accord. The program was specifically designed to support young adults and their families in these situations. 

As young adults who are experiencing challenges accept the need for treatment, the ‘buy-in’ created by our hybrid model helps deliver treatment when it is needed most and reduces the likelihood for more intensive intervention at a later time. 

It’s this blending of two approaches that makes Confluence effective and unique. Our approach to wilderness takes advantage of the inherent benefits of outdoor experiences and builds confidence while fostering empowerment. The residential setting increases participation and engages young adults in their care, while developing skills for life and independent living. The combination provides the setting where participants find both the capacity to achieve their clinical goals and the means to meet them. They find themselves hitting reset on their lives, becoming more engaged and developing new strategies for moving forward. Confluence's blend of wilderness and residential is a truly accessible process that readies participants for long term success.

– Foster