blueFire is a Wilderness Therapy Program that is proven effective in treating a variety of complex mental health issues. Studies have shown wilderness therapy is a thriving clinical modality for those who have exhausted traditional forms of treatment.
Clients within a Wilderness Treatment model leave behind environments that are often unstable or unsafe, finding space and time to heal in a natural setting.
Mental Health Problems that blueFire Helps with:
( This list is not all-inclusive )
At blueFire we utilize various therapeutic models to support
our clients through their mental health treatment.
We ask all clients and their parents or guardians to complete an evidence-based and internationally used questionnaire called the Youth Outcome Questionnaire (Y-OQ 2.0). This questionnaire measures a client’s level of functioning in:
- Intrapersonal Distress
- Somatic Distress
- Interpersonal Relationships
- Social Problems
- Behavioral Dysfunction
- Related Critical Items
This data is collected from both parents and clients:
- Upon Admission
- Upon Graduation
- 6 Months Post-Graduation
- 12 Months Post-Graduation
Decreasing scores indicate improved mental wellness.
In accordance with the Y-OQ's Reliable Change Index (RCI):
Scores that decrease by 18 points indicate lasting, positive change.
blueFire parents report a
decrease in dysfunction
than what was measured at admission.
blueFire clients report a
decrease in dysfunction
than what was measured at admission.
blueFire's Y-OQ Outcomes
indicate 2x the change
needed to show lasting
Studies show that nature itself has therapeutic benefits.
Nature helps blueFire clients:
Reduce Stress Levels
Getting outside naturally helps lower anxiety, depression, blood pressure, and the production of stress hormones.
Outdoor activities spark creative thoughts through visual, physical, or mental inspiration.
Improve Physical Health
Rock climbing, rafting, hiking —all our adventure activities improve our physical and mental health by releasing positive hormones.
Getting sunshine and fresh air promotes the production of serotonin which boosts your mood naturally.
Less electronic stimulation promotes mindfulness, relaxation, and connection, reducing anxiety and stress.
Research on nature's benefit
We benefit from “high quality” nature spaces (Nature Research Report, 2021)
Hear what our clients say about our program:
We sent our 13 year old to BlueFire because he was struggling with severe anxiety and depression — much of it exacerbated by Covid shelter-in-place in the spring. It was a very difficult decision to make as we had never been away from him for long periods of time, could not visit BlueFire in advance, and were very worried about what was going to happen. I can honestly say that sending him to BlueFire was the best decision we could have ever made. I wish I had not stressed and worried so much! The staff and program at BlueFire is amazing. It completely changed his life and the life of our family. He is by no means cured — mental health is a life long challenge — but in 12 weeks he had a complete reset, embraced personal responsibility, can talk articulately about his feelings, and has a whole toolbox of skills that he has been using to deal with difficult feelings, conflicts, and challenging experiences. He had been going to therapy for years before going to BlueFire and it was kind of working but then stopped helping altogether once the pandemic started. I wish we had sent him sooner before his mental health struggles had really hit rock bottom. I was worried that BlueFire would be unsafe or that he would be around other kids with severe issues which would drag him down. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. The environment there is amazing, the therapists are really top notch, and the final 4 day family workshop (Spark) is fantastic for reintegrating your teen into the family. I highly recommend attending it. One other concern we had before sending our child to BlueFire is that, like many kids who go to wilderness therapy camp, he would need to be sent to a therapeutic boarding school to solidify the progress he had made. In our case, we were advised to send him but our therapist told us that if we did decide to bring him home, she would support that too. In the end, we decide to bring him home with the support of Homeward Bound, an organization that coaches parents after their kid comes home from a residential program and BlueFire was very supportive. Every family needs to do what is best for them — we really could have gone either way. There have been ups and down in the month since we have been home, but so different than before and we are so so so grateful to BlueFire for all the time they put into working our child. Expensive but worth every single penny. I would do it again in a heartbeat.
Update: 2 years later. Kid doing really well. BlueFire was the initial catalyst. We have continued working with the therapist and with a parenting coach to have clear boundaries, expectations and repercussions and it has been a lot of work for everyone. Ups and downs but overall Howard trajectory. I credit BlueFire for starting us down a good path. If you bring your child home from wilderness be prepared to put in the work in yourself needed to create an effective home environment different from before and think of it as a marathon and not a sprint.
I can highly recommend BlueFire Wilderness Therapy. Wether your child likes or dislikes camping is besides the point. My child did not like camping but the outdoor experience at BF is carefully planned out to encourage the child to be responsible for himself and eventually others as far as food prep and group therapy. The team at BF are incredible from the office to the therapists in the field with the kids. The therapists spend so much time with the kids in the field, the kids get so much therapy which might be rock climbing rather than sitting in a room on a couch. The therapy works and the skill, patience, and training that the BF therapists have is incredible. It will benefit your child as well as you and your household weather still together or like ours, two split households. We all benefited from the Family therapy concept that BF includes in their practice. BF has helped us all grow and heal together.
BlueFire was a godsend for our child, who had no desire to live anymore due to mental health challenges. We did not know how to keep him safe at home and get him to engage in therapy. Bluefire turned his ship around. The psychologist overseeing his care was brilliant and had decades of experience not just in therapy, but specifically wilderness therapy, which is more intense given both the setting and the extreme circumstances that drive families to enroll their kids in such programs. He helped our child challenge her beliefs, rediscover herself, and rebuild herself. It was not an easy process, but it was very successful. The family therapy he facilitated was also good. Our child told us that the staff that she interacted with on a more daily basis were great – patient, supportive, encouraging, and relatable. The conditions were intense, especially as our child was there November – January, which is VERY cold in Idaho, especially when they went backpacking a lot. Despite that hardship, because of that hardship, our child gained strong confidence in her ability to overcome physical, emotional, and social challenges. She was so proud of herself at the end and thanked us for sending her there. It’s not an easy thing to send your child away for a while, much less to such an intense setting and program, but we are so glad we did.