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New Perspectives - Feb, 2002 Issue #90 

Catherine Freer Wilderness Therapy Expeditions
Seven Week Extended Expeditions
Admissions Department
P.O. Box 1064
Albany, OR 97321
(541) 926-7252

In response to many requests from parents, consultants and residential programs, Catherine Freer will offer seven-week expeditions starting May 12. Our Extended Expeditions will include and build on our traditional three-week Trek by providing adolescents with an additional four weeks of continued therapy and self-responsible outdoor living. A Masterís level therapist will be with each group throughout the four additional weeks, just as on our regular treks, to provide a daily professional level of intensive individual and group therapy and assessment. The four weeks give participants more time to explore themselves, to internalize what they have learned, and to deepen their commitment to personal change.

The first three weeks of the Extended Expedition are regular Freer backpacking treks. As always, these treks are in beautiful mountain or desert wilderness so that the children get the full benefit of the beauty and peace of wild natural areas. Treks promote self-discovery and deep personal insight through daily counseling and educational groups, nightly therapy groups, structured journal assignments, and time for quiet self-reflection. A qualified therapist conducts group and individual therapy and assessments while living full time with the group. Individualized therapy work is focused and intense. Each child sets up his/her own camp, and cooks and manages his/her own food and equipment. Important lessons and amazing personal insight stem from simple wilderness living.

After seeing their family members for a day at the trek-ending family meeting, participants begin a four-week program that continues the intensive Trek therapy work while adding a more group- cooperation style and specific outdoor skills. Most of the time, the Extended Expedition groups cook as a group, and work together to plan their routes and discuss how to manage their daily activities. Activities are adventure based and may include white-water rafting, flat-water kayaking, forest restoration or other service projects, and longboat expeditions in the San Juan Islands. Participants develop responsibility and self-confidence, and have time to truly accept the reality of their need to change. Extended Expeditions give parents more time to participate in their own counseling, and allow additional time for families to plan and organize aftercare plans.

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