As adolescents go through significant developmental changes between the ages of 11 and 17, blueFire Wilderness believes it is important to separate groups by age to reflect their differences in emotional maturity and the type of coping mechanisms they engage in. Surrounded by other young girls who have gone through similar issues, girls in our Embers group find the motivation to make changes in their lives by participating in the wide range of experiential therapies and adventure activities that we offer in wilderness therapy for young girls. 

Who is a Good Fit for the Embers Girls Group?

blueFire’s Embers Program is wilderness therapy for young girls that created to support the unique needs of girls ages 11-15. We help students that may be struggling with one or more of the following issues: grief or loss, low self-esteem, anger, adoption issues, trauma, learning disabilities, school refusal or failure, social struggles, executive functioning issues and may have a long history of behavioral or emotional problems. wilderness therapy for young girls

This program is specifically designed to meet the demanding developmental needs of younger adolescents in a wilderness environment filled with consistent routines, structure, and concrete experiences needed to create lasting behavior change. These single-gender groups help to create the peer social environment that best facilitate therapy for students in this age group.

Benefits of Age-Specific Therapy

  • Girls are typically more comfortable expressing their emotions than boys and thrive in an environment that allows for connection and support from their peers
  • A supportive community of girls going through similar struggles based on separating students according to their clinical profile
  • Developmentally-appropriate topics in group discussions geared towards younger girls, rather than more mature topics discussed in older groups (like substance use and sexual assault)
  • Meaningful relationships with other girls developed through healthy social activities, like adventure activities

Animal Therapy Models Healthy Relationships for Young Girls

Our younger groups often engage in more experiential therapies to reflect their unique relational challenges. While older groups may participate in adventure activities through the lens of building motivation and developing healthier coping mechanisms, younger groups may work on relationships and communication strategies through the same activities. In addition to equine therapy sessions, Embers group staff bring along their therapy dogs on expeditions, which adds another layer to our relational focus in experiential therapies. 

Animal therapy is a unique way of building relational skills that teaches the basics of nonverbal communication, emotional mirroring, sensitivity to others’ needs, and how to seek support. As humans, we need connection and comfort when things are difficult–but sometimes it’s hard to find that in other humans, especially through the middle school years. Through interactions with therapy animals, young girls are able to face their insecurity in relationships and gain insight into how their mood and behavior affects those around them. 

Working with the Embers Group Primary Therapist

Each group at blueFire Wilderness works with a primary therapist that specializes in working with this particular age group and their developmental struggles.

The Embers Group Primary Therapist, Dr. Paul Goddard, received his Ph.D. from the University of Missouri-Columbia in Clinical Psychology, with a specialization in Child and Family therapy. His experience and training include work with trauma and abuse, attachment issues, depression and anxiety, eating disorders, substance abuse, learning difficulties, attention deficit, oppositionality, and self-esteem. He challenges students to find that which is best within and to express that inner strength to make the world a better place.

“Dr. Goddard’s ability to balance genuine nurturance with personal accountability has earned him the reputation of being a ‘Giant Teddy Bear’ among his clients,” says Kathy Rex, CTRS, Executive Director and Co-Founder of blueFire Wilderness. “Building trust with treatment-resistant young women, who sense his genuine care and concern balanced with his belief in their ability to face their ‘monsters’ and heal, is Dr. Goddard’s specialty.”

blueFire Wilderness Can Help 

blueFire Wilderness Therapy is an adventure-based program for teens ages 11-17 who struggle with mental health issues, like ADHD, anxiety, depression,  and behavior issues. Wilderness therapy removes students from the distraction of peers, devices, and demands of life and allows them to heal in a supportive and nurturing environment. Students will be able to focus on themselves and become more aware of their troubling behaviors. BlueFire gives them the skills and tools they need to combat these behaviors and be on their way to a happy and healthy life.

For more information about our wilderness therapy for young girls, call 1-844-413-1999. We can help your family today!

Previous reading
How is Wilderness Therapy Evidence-Based?
Next reading
Is Wilderness Therapy Appropriate for Teens with Limited Outdoor Experience?