Adventure Therapy Heals Families

Stuart Squires, LCSW, founder of The Family Solution in St. George, Utah, explained to Lon Woodbury and Elizabeth McGhee from Parent Choices for Struggling Teens on L.A. Talk Radio the unique process of healing families through adventure therapy.

The host of the show, Lon Woodbury, is the founder of Woodbury Reports and Struggling Teens, Inc. He has authored several books on therapeutic options for parents with at-risk children. As an independent educational consultant, he has worked with families and struggling teens since 1984. His co-host, Elizabeth McGhee, is the Director of Admissions and Referral Relations at Sandhill Child Development Center. She has more than 19 years of clinical, consulting and referral relations experience.

A Profile of Stuart Squires

Stuart Squires is the founder and Executive Director Family Solution in St. George, Utah, a short term adventure therapy program for families. He graduated with a Master’s in Social Work (MSW) in 2004 and then went on to get his state licensure. He is currently a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and is an approved supervisor for interning social workers. Stuart has spent over a decade working with families and his experience helped create the idea of The Family Solution.

A New Treatment Model Called “Healing Families Through Adventure Therapy”

During the course of the interview Squires talked about how his unique process of adventure therapy actually worked. The problem was not just the identified patient, the child who was misbehaving, but the entire family system. One solution to help rebuild rapport and family harmony was to take the family on outdoor trips like rappelling, hiking, or biking.

When asked by Lon what made The Family Solution approach different from other therapeutic model, Stuart outlined four distinctions:

First, unlike most therapeutic approaches, the whole family enters treatment because everyone is involved in the outdoor adventure.

The second thing to note was that the treatment was brief. The family only spent a week with Stuart, during which time they received counseling and then went on an adventure together. After that there was a follow up after two or even three months.

Third, there is a strong emphasis on aftercare. The real benefit of the program is how things change for a family after they return home.

The fourth thing to note was how inexpensive the program was compared to other programs. Compared to say a therapeutic boarding school or a wilderness therapy program, it cost only a fifth.

In summary: since the family element was essential for healing, an outdoor adventure facilitated a family coming to terms with their issues. A child who benefited from a wilderness program or a therapeutic boarding school would revert to his or her old behavior after returning home. Healing families through adventure therapy was an answer to a child reverting back to their old ways when they got home.

Lon Woodbury, the founder of Struggling Teens, has recorded the entire interview on his weekly L.A. Talk Radio show for people to at their convenience.

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