Catherine Freer Wilderness Therapy Expeditions: An Exploratory Case Study of Adolescent Wilderness Therapy, Family Functioning, and the Maintenance of Change

  • Nevin J. HarperEmail author
  • Keith C. Russell
  • Rob Cooley
  • Jacqueline Cupples
Original Paper


This exploratory longitudinal case study aimed to identify practical adolescent and family outcomes following participation in a 21-day wilderness therapy program for adolescents with emotional, behavioral, and substance use problems. Results showed gender differences in presenting issues pre-treatment, significant positive changes assessed two-months post-treatment in family functioning, and adolescent behavior and mental health issues. Twelve-month assessments showed maintenance of positive outcomes coupled with deterioration in some aspects of family functioning and drug and alcohol use. Implications and suggestions for future research are discussed.


Wilderness therapy Adolescent mental health Family systems Family involvement Family function Residential treatment programs 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nevin J. Harper
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Keith C. Russell
    • 1
  • Rob Cooley
    • 3
  • Jacqueline Cupples
    • 3
  1. 1.Outdoor Education and Youth DevelopmentUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA
  2. 2.VictoriaCanada
  3. 3.Catherine Freer Wilderness Therapy ExpeditionsAlbanyUSA

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