Our Clinical Approach


What makes blueFire Wilderness so unique from other wilderness therapy programs is that at our program, we believe that we all have one bag, and we get to choose what we carry around in it. We have daily choices about what we carry with us through our life journey.

  • Are we going to choose to carry all the negative “stuff” we have experienced? Are we going to carry the anger, sadness, guilt and shame?
  • Or are we going to choose to carry the positive things we have experienced? Are we going to carry compassion, love, understanding and self-acceptance?
  • Do we include the client and specific information gathered about them (psychological testing, Youth Outcome Questionnaire, Learning Styles Assessment, parent input) in creating a meaningful treatment plan?

I view my role and the role of all Blue Fire therapists as one of an advocate to help clients and their families recognize emotions and patterns that are not beneficial to them. We are helping clients and families “let go” and establish new behaviors that better allow them to maintain healthy relationships and balance in their life.


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Our Clinical Model

Getting True Buy-In

After working in the field for 20 years, I have seen many programs and professionals attempt to push clients through predetermined stages in a very methodical manner. When approaching therapy this way, we tell clients what should be important to them and how they should behave to better fit our vision of them. This can be both positive and negative.

Within this restrictive framework, too many clients learn how to mimic the desired behavior in order to be passed along to the next phase of a program. The problem with this approach is that the behaviors are not internalized and there is no true “buy in” to the change to create lasting positive outcomes. Although a teen may look compliant, the underlying challenges very likely still exist. The program’s stages might not be applicable to the changes that are needed for that client or for that family.

We do things a little differently at Blue Fire. We have our clients choose what they wish to work on or what they wish to “carry with them.” This way, there is an immediate buy-in into the process. Combining exciting adventure therapy activities, the power of nature and effective clinical practices, Blue Fire’s  wilderness program creates the optimal environment to help clients and their families.

Evidence and Outcome-Based Therapy

Staff and clinicians working with the client have extensive knowledge and experience. blueFire uses evidence-based therapies to best help each person with their needs. These approaches include:

  • Motivational interviewing
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Equine assisted psychotherapy
  • Experiential therapy
  • Recreation therapy
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
  • Neuro-feedback
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
  • Brainspotting

Mindfulness practices and leading formats in wilderness-based therapy allow us to target the needs of each client. Our experts have training in neuropsychological screening. The extensive knowledge of this type of testing allows for blueFire staff to accurately test, and work with students struggling with learning and social issues, or students who may be on the autism spectrum. Onsite neuropsychological testing allows for our Embers Group (boys aged 11-15) to experience working one on one with experts who can help them understand and process the anxiety, social issues, or academic issues that may have brought them to blueFire. Due to our experts vast knowledge and experience, the clients at blueFire have gained invaluable skill sets that provide reliable confidence upon returning home. It is always so amazing to see the families when they come and meet up with their child at the end of the program. There is a reconnect that can’t be experienced in any setting other than the wilderness.  I believe Blue Fire is unique in our integrative and comprehensive approach. I hope we have the opportunity to show you the success possible with blueFire’s wilderness and adventure therapy.

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We are happy to answer any question you have about bluefire wilderness