ABOUT SECOND NATURE (WILDERNESS PROGRAM)
Second Nature Wilderness Program (SNWP) has been offering treatment for the past 20 years to help adolescents between the ages of 13 and 17 who are struggling with a range of mental, emotional, or behavioral health problems, including drug abuse and learning disabilities.
Although the organization’s main office is in Duchesne, Utah, camping locations vary. Promoting itself as “simply the gold standard in wilderness therapy, SNWP seeks to assist clients achieve balance through outdoor experiences. Within the state, the organization is among 27.2 percent of substance abuse treatment programs the offer residential, non-hospital care, 28.5 percent with specially tailored programs for adolescents, and among 58.2 percent with programs for clients with co-occurring disorders.
TREATMENT & ASSESSMENT
At SNWP, clients undergo an initial assessment which matches them with a group suited to their individual psychiatric needs. For instance, those with similar struggles might be grouped together. “Students,” as they are called, recover through engaging in camping experiences such as building and tearing down campsites and hiking three to five miles each day. Groups operate like a family with each individual performing simple chores.
Students work through four stages of treatment called earth, water, fire, and air. Additionally, teens receive one to two hours of individual therapy each week as well as daily group therapy. Combined with the "healing power of nature," staff utilize cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), as well as psychodynamic, family systems, and developmental theoretical models. When necessary, clients also receive medication management.
An accredited Special Purpose Private School, SNWP provides each client with a curriculum packet with lessons designed to continue their education and develop skills for academic success. The program offers participants an opportunity to receive credit for completed coursework.
Aftercare planning begins at the same time as treatment. Staff communicate with parents back home about medication changes and encourage participation in family therapy. The facility offers parent workshops and support groups and asks that parents participate in planning for continuing care.
SNWP employs a clinical director, psychiatrist, medical director and coordinator, principal, parent coach, as well as numerous therapists for both the boys’ and girls’ groups.
ACCOMMODATIONS & AMENITIES
Residents stay in shelters they build themselves and are supplied with fresh food and water twice during the week to make meals. All gear needed to camp and hike is provided, as are meals rich in fresh fruit, meats, vegetables, grains, and nuts.
WHAT ALUMNI SAY
At the time of this writing, four former clients submitted mostly favorable feedback to Rehabs.com about SNWP: three highly positive impressions and one decidedly negative. On the plus side, the four alum awarded the maximum five stars for most of the major categories of the survey, including consistent five-star ratings for treatment effectiveness.
They repeatedly praised the program and the caring, yet strict staff, several proclaiming that this combination helped turn their life around, as an anonymous alum wrote: “Changed my life in a good way. They work for the clients to get the best results possible and don’t let struggles get in their way of that goal.”
Another reviewer in this pro-SNWP group summed up the experience for Rehabs.com: “One of the BEST outdoor wilderness programs if you do the work.” The negative reviewer referred to the program as “abuse not therapy” and, having experienced an unrelated traumatic event before signing up, added, “it made it worse.”
On secondary sites, SNWP received positive coverage to date: three out of five stars based on 19 reviews on Yelp, and 4.7 stars based on 21 reviews on Facebook, which the organization can manage.   Similar to comments former clients made to Rehabs.com, those who posted on these sites appreciated the results they achieved, but acknowledged the program pushed them beyond their comfort level.
Five-star reviewer Grace wrote on Facebook: “As much as I THOUGHT I hated every day of my time here, 2NWP saved my life. Let me correct myself, I thought I hated it until the day I left, went out into the work and realized how much it had helped me.”
WHAT FRIENDS & FAMILY SAY
The five loved ones who reviewed SNWP for Rehabs.com to date submitted mostly negative impressions: one favorable and four unfavorable. The positive reviewer awarded the top five stars to treatment effectiveness and wrote: “It was good.” The other four loved ones assigned only one out of five stars to the major categories of the survey, including treatment effectiveness.
Negative reviewers claimed the program created more family and personal problems, as reflected in comments made to Rehabs.com by one parent: “Send your kid somewhere local. Don't ruin your relationship with them or have them come back with worse problems than they did before you sent them.”
SNWP is out-of-network with insurance carriers but provides materials for clients and their families to seek reimbursements from their providers. Through the facility’s relationship with Prosper Healthcare Lending, clients may receive favorable rates to help pay for treatment. According to the organization’s website, “some of the services provided at Second Nature may qualify under a medical tax deduction.”
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