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Clinical therapy
Dedicated to change

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Legacy is dedicated to give you and your son the most clinically sophisticated experience.  We use empirically based methods such as motivational interviewing, dialectical behavior therapy, neurological based methods, family therapy, and recovery methods.   Each of our therapists is experienced, having spent years in the field of wilderness therapy and recovery.  Our therapists are leaders in clinical methods and in researching what works with our clients.  

The program milieu is designed to have a strong therapeutic impact on each client.  Being away from peers and other problems helps break the negative cycle that leads to being emotionally overwhelmed.  Being outdoors has a neurological effect on the brain, slowing down the thinking to allow insight to occur.  Adventure helps create engagement with clients and produce hormones in the brain that aid clients to want to invest in the program.  The family benefits from all of these factors as your son decides to improve relationships and rebuild trust.  

Legacy is a highly respected OBH facility which provides an intermediate level of mental health and substance abuse treatment   


Neurological Science of Change

Legacy Outdoor Adventures utilizes current research in the field of neurology to better understand and guide the process of change. An understanding of how the brain works can enhance the likelihood of change becoming more permanent. An understanding of how one’s brain functions can provide insight and influence choices that may alter the pattern of reaction to normal stimuli that has often led to problems. For example, when stressors trigger a “flight or fight” response, the ability to be effective in normal daily interactions is hindered. Clients at Legacy will learn and practice the skill of slowing down reacting, evaluating the situation, and choosing an appropriate response.

At Legacy, clients will learn to use nature to stimulate effective functioning of the prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex is where we organize, plan, empathize, use our working memory, and manage our thoughts. To deal with stress in healthier ways, clients will learn to practice mindfulness. For example, clients will be trained to be aware of their heart rate and to take steps to relax in order to allow the brain to produce more oxytocin so that the prefrontal cortex functions can override the mid-brain reactions. Clients will learn to become “meta-aware” of their brain functions, and will acquire skills that allow them to use their “mental brake” to label reactions, reappraise, and avoid unhealthy reactions. This control of one’s thinking process leads to feelings of empowerment, and is often the key to lasting change.


Evidence-based Therapy Practices

Legacy is committed to using research-tested methods to maximize treatment effectiveness.   Evidence-based and widely acknowledged practices utilized in individual and group therapy, and throughout the program milieu, include Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Motivational Interviewing (MI), findings from the fields of wilderness therapy, adventure therapy and neurological science, the Gorski Relapse Prevention Model, and information from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).  Staff is trained in using these methods in practical ways to guide clients through the change process.

 


Assessing Client Progress

Legacy uses objective measures to provide an accurate perspective of each client’s treatment progress.  During the first few days of the program, clients take assessment measures that look at a range of issues, including substance use, emotional well-being, relationship health, and readiness to change. On a weekly basis, each client completes the Outcome Questionnaire (OQ-45) which measures progress in a number of areas. These results are tracked and used by the treatment team to guide treatment planning, and can be shared with families and referring professionals. The measures implemented at intake are administered again near completion of the program for a comprehensive look at treatment effectiveness. The results are used by the treatment team, family and referring professional to guide the client in making appropriate aftercare plans.


Family as part of Treatment Team

Research shows that family involvement is correlated with longer lasting outcomes in young adult treatment.  Family members work with us from the beginning to help identify treatment goals. Family members write letters of commitment to encourage client engagement with the program and “impact letters,” which state to the client how his behavior has impacted the family. Additionally, we ask that family members write weekly letters discussing goals and expectations with the client, and to be engaged with us as treatment team members. We urge family members to participate in their own therapy at home to identify and work on issues affecting the family. We assign family members to read books that reinforce our philosophy and support an educational process that parallels that of the client. We strongly recommend that the family engage the services of an educational consultant, or other professional, to help guide the treatment and aftercare planning process.

Client treatment goals and progress are discussed weekly with the family through a phone conversation with the therapist, who functions as the treatment team leader.  The family is also kept current on activities and developments through a web-based “Family Portal.” Each week, the Legacy team posts letters and pictures of the client and the recent adventure activities on the Family Portal. Field guides add regular updates on client goals and progress, and comment about the week’s adventure. Data collected from the Outcomes Questionnaire is posted regularly. These postings, along with other relevant information, give family members a weekly snapshot of treatment progress and help inform future planning.



Psychological Testing

We recommend that each client receive a full battery of  psychological testing.  We suggest testing for a variety of reasons.  By the time that a client gets to this level of treatment, there is a need to identify a more complete picture of what is going on.  This helps us to develop an accurate treatment plan, and to make the best recommendations for aftercare.  Some clients have received some psychological testing previous to coming to Legacy.  In many of these cases, the testing is incomplete. For example, many clients have only had academic testing as done by a school.  Other clients have only had a brief interview  done by a home psychiatrist or therapist.  These assessments provide some useful data that supplements the comprehensive testing needed to complete the assessment picture.  A complete view of the client is most helpful.  



Commitment to Research

The Legacy team places a high value on research and is committed to maximizing its effective utilization. Our program is grounded in methodologies that have been substantiated through research.  We are committed to staying current on research being done in the fields of wilderness therapy, adventure therapy, clinical practices and neuro-science, and using that research to influence our practices and train our staff.  We support on going outcomes studies, and use research to guide programming and performance-improvement decisions.  We collect data at frequent intervals to track the progress of our clients, guide individual treatment planning, and inform aftercare planning.  We support the research efforts of the Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Research Cooperative (OBHRC) which works with the Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Council, and the National Association of Therapeutic Schools and programs (NATSAP).