Why choose BlueFire Wilderness Therapy over other wilderness therapy programs?

Welcome to blueFire! We are a premier wilderness therapy program for teens and young adults struggling with emotional, social and behavioral challenges. Our youth program works with clients aged 11-17 from all over the country, and are located not far from Boise, Idaho. Our comprehensive outdoor therapy adventure experience is aimed at helping the entire family, and combines clinical expertise, adventure experiences, academic assessments and a family systems approach in a private-pay model.

We're passionate about fostering positive change in the lives of our clients, and we're committed to supporting them every step of the way. Thank you for considering blueFire as a partner on the journey towards a brighter future.

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BlueFire Wilderness Therapy offers a comprehensive wilderness therapy experience for teens ages 11-17 struggling with emotional and behavioral issues like defiance, anxiety, and depression. As a truly unique wilderness therapy program, BlueFire combines experiential therapy, a family systems approach, individualized clinical programming and academics to help teens find success. 

BlueFire’s multifaceted approach to wilderness therapy provides teens and their families a balanced set of therapeutic offerings designed for emotional growth and healing. BlueFire provides teens with:

  • Expert staff: The therapeutic and academic staff at BlueFire are highly experienced in helping teens struggling with a variety of challenges. Our staff work together as a multidisciplinary team to provide the most well-rounded care for clients.
  • Exciting, Therapeutic Adventures: Throughout their time at BlueFire, clients participate in a variety of outdoor activities that promote healing and self awareness including mountain climbing, backpacking, kayaking, and snowboarding. These adventures are fun, but they also instill values such as teamwork and responsibility in students.
  • Beautiful location:  Located in scenic southern Idaho, BlueFire is surrounded by some of the most majestic nature in the country. Our campus is located near the Sawtooth Mountains, the Snake River, and the Sage desert. These natural wonders provide the perfect backdrop for healing and personal growth.

What are Wilderness Therapy Programs?

If your child’s struggle with behavioral or emotional issues such as depression, defiance, or anxiety has started to interfere with their everyday lives, making it hard for them to go to school and make friends, it might be time for you to look at possible treatment options for them. Wilderness therapy programs are inpatient mental health treatment programs which help children and teens explore who they are as individuals by being in nature for an extended period of time. 

Wilderness therapy programs remove teens from the hecticness of their everyday lives, which allows teens to look inward on themselves and explore who they truly are. Wilderness therapy programs may offer a variety of therapeutic techniques including equine therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, family therapy, group therapy, individual therapy, and mindfulness techniques.

Who is accepted into wilderness therapy programs?

Wilderness therapy programs accept clients on a case by case basis. It also depends upon the clinical program of wilderness therapy programs. They may range from accepting teens dealing with more clinically complicated issues to softer, more easily managed difficulties. However, most wilderness therapy programs offer therapeutic programming for teens struggling with difficulties such as:

  • Defiance- This behavior may be in the form of disruptive behavior in school and at home. It may also be Oppositional Defiant Disorder.
  • Neurodevelopmental Disorders- These may be anything from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Nonverbal Learning Disorder, or Autism Spectrum Disorder.
  • Substance experimentation or use- Some wilderness therapy programs help treat teens struggling with the beginnings of a substance use issue, whether that be alcohol or marijuana use.
  • School refusal- Most wilderness therapy programs help teens struggling with school refusal issues and some even help teens who are frequently truant or suspended from school.
  • Depression- Wilderness therapy programs offer therapeutic assistance to teens struggling with bouts of depression.
  • Anxiety- Whether it be social anxiety or generalized anxiety disorder, many wilderness programs provide help for teens struggling with this crippling condition.

What benefits do wilderness therapy programs offer?

Wilderness therapy programs provide teens with the opportunity to grow and thrive while immersed in Mother Nature. Wilderness therapy programs offer many benefits, including:

  • Useful life skills: During wilderness therapy programs, teens learn many new skills while out in the great outdoors. They may learn survival skills such as how to pitch a tent, how to build and keep a fire going, as well as how to navigate through the wilderness. They may also learn other transferable skills that come with working as a team during wilderness therapy such as teamwork, respect, responsibility, and self awareness.
  • Personal growth: At wilderness therapy programs like BlueFire Wilderness, teens begin to understand more about themselves as individuals. Teens undergo a transformative experience, with the majesty of Mother Nature in the backdrop. By being removed from the familiarity of everyday life, wilderness therapy programs allow teens to take a step back from their lives and notice how their behaviors affect others.
  • Family-focused programming: Many wilderness therapy programs are focused on repairing the family unit. While teens are away at wilderness therapy, some programs offer family therapy sessions that help parents and siblings work through struggles associated with a tumultuous home life. A family focus helps ensure lasting change when the child transitions home from a therapeutic program.
  • Personalized therapy and academics: Some wilderness therapy programs offer individualized therapeutic programming, tailored specifically to each individual’s needs. For example, if your child is struggling with defiance, therapists will design a therapeutic plan which would offer specific therapeutic methods known to help teens work through defiant behaviors. Wilderness therapy programs may also offer academics, as well as therapy.


A study conducted by Dr. Norton at Loyola University Chicago of a 28 day wilderness therapy program found significant decreases in depression symptoms amongst teens attending the program. It found that positive communication with family members throughout wilderness therapy programs helped to decrease depression symptoms. After the wilderness therapy program was completed, the study found a nearly 50 percent decrease in family conflict, substance use, and school problems. It also found an overall increase in psychosocial health. This study helps promote the fact that wilderness therapy programs like BlueFire help teens find lasting success.

Contemporary Articles

According to ScienceDaily, a new study researching teen relationships found that strong friendships amongst teens may lessen depression associated with excessive video gaming. The research, conducted by Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, found that teens who play video games for more than four hours a day may suffer from symptoms of depression. However, social interactions with peers decrease video game addiction in teens.

If teens are playing games with the peers or family members, they are at less of a risk of developing depressive symptoms. At BlueFire, we help teens struggling with depression and technology addiction gain the skills to develop meaningful relationships in their lives with family members and friends.



Loyola University Chicago


Family Help and Wellness

BlueFire Wilderness helps struggling teens from across the country.

Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, DCDelawareFloridaGeorgiaHawaii,
Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts,Michigan, MinnesotaMississippi,
MissouriMontanaNebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina,North Dakota, OhioOklahomaOregonPennsylvaniaRhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont,Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming

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