Building Bridges

(406) 827-9853
502 Preston Ave
Thompson Falls, MT 59873

Admissions Director: Sarah Fairbank
Executive Director: Kurt Fairbank
Academic Director: Andy Burwig
Clinical Director: Kurt Fairbank
Milieu Director: Sarah Fairbank
Year Founded: 1996
Category: Residential Treatment Center
Optimum Size: 24 students
Annual number of students: 17 students
Average Length of Stay: Approximately 15 months.

Admissions Policy:

Year round rolling admissions.

Appropriate Student/ Resident:

Building Bridges accepts students from 14 to 18 years of age who are struggling with chemical dependency, disruptive behaviors - both in the home and in the school - as well as behavioral and social issues, such as depression and anxiety. Typically, young men in these circumstances will be struggling academically, acting out at home and in the community, be oppositional/defiant, and may have experienced drastic changes in their choice of friends - with positive peers being replaced by negative peers.

Gender: Male - 100% Male

Age Range: 14-18

Program Description:

Building Bridges is a residential program for young men, ages 14-18, who are struggling with substance abuse and behavior issues. Our students are committed to making the type of lifestyle changes that allow them to live a sober life. Through numerous weekly peer group sessions and one-on-one sessions with their counselor, a Building Bridges student will work on his behaviors and begin to rebuild his life. Building upon each personal and academic success, our students begin to experience the joys and pride of personal growth and achievement. Helping families deal with the issues of addiction, defiant behavior, failing grades, learning disorders, and behavioral issues for over a decade. The program is designed for students who have graduated from a short term residential or wilderness style program and are willing to look at their issues in a serious and committed fashion. The average young man in the program will attend public school, and should be able to handle the academic challenges of the average high school in a highly supportive environment. Existing academic issues should be readily manageable with extra help or medication, but more often than not the school finds that by improving their personal lives, students excel in school without the use of any medications. Average length of stay ranges from 12 to 24 months and is highly dependent on the student's progress. Some students accept and understand the process rather quickly, while others may take a while longer to make that progress. The counselors and staff will work closely with each family to determine the appropriate expectations for the student's length of stay. They offer Individual counseling, Individually designed Master Plan, REBT therapy, Group therapy, Reality based counseling, A strong 12 step modality, Public school enrollment, Individual and group tutoring, Wilderness trips, Vocational training, Work therapy, Recreational therapy, Positive peer culture.
Clinical Description:
Using an individualized, multidisciplinary approach we are able to tailor a plan unique to each student. Each of our students' plans begins with a framework that focuses on individual, family and group therapy. Our students are able to draw on the tools they have learned to make significant changes in their external behavior patterns as well as their internal thoughts and patterns.

Psychotropic Medications Allowed?: Yes

Policy: Medication is monitor by a consulting psychiatrist.

Academic Description:

Focus on academics is a key component in our program. Students are given ample layers of support and encouraged to challenge themselves both academically and socially. Our students will experience a wide variety of academic experiences. For those that are ready, this includes full time enrollment in a public school in a peer supportive environment.

Facilities Description:
Located in the scenic mountains of northwest Montana, Building Bridges is bordered by forest service and has a creek running through the property. Our students reside in two log homes and get to enjoy the beauty and the activities Montana has to offer.
Family Involvement:
Our parents take part in family therapy, parent coaching and family session.
Follow Up Programming:
Each family works closely with their counselor to create a plan for discharge. Depending on each unique student we routinely discharge back into the home environment or to college. Each family works on a discharge plan which outlines the transition and the services provide at home.
Outcome Studies:We monitor our student outcomes post graduation at 6 months, 1 year, 2 years and 5 years.

Spiritual Development: Building Bridges has daily meditation groups, as well as mindfulness techniques that all students take part in. We are not a religious based program but our students have the choice to attend church and stipulate their own higher power.

Summer/ Adjunct Program: Building Bridges offers multiply summer activities for our students. They go on several different treks during the summer months; including rock climbing, biking, hiking, volunteering and rafting. As they are participating in these activities they are still completing their treatment plans and attending groups and individual sessions.

Professional Affiliations:

Accreditation, Licensure, Approved:
  • PAARP(Montana Licensure)

Payment Category: Private pay (billing for insurance available).

For more information about Building Bridges, visit





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