First Light Wilderness Family Services
“Family isn’t defined only by last names or by blood; it’s defined by commitment and by love. It means showing up when they need it most. It means having each other’s backs. It means choosing to love each other even on those days when you struggle to like each other. It means never giving up on each other.” —Dave Willis
The ultimate goal of family services at First Light Wilderness is to provide opportunities to grow, heal and rebuild healthier family systems. Utilizing the power of the wilderness experience, our family services are designed to engage all family members in deepening their understanding of themselves and each other, to step outside of unhealthy dynamics, and to step into a new space of empathy, compassion, and growth with one another.
Family services at First Light Wilderness services encompass the experiences of setting into the program, integrating the therapeutic processes to understand each family member’s role in treatment, evaluating family patterns, coaching and supporting the development of new ways of understanding old patterns, learn new skills to replace them, and connecting families with resources for ongoing support and sustainable change. Our family therapist may make recommendations for books, articles, videos, and other resources that are specifically tailored to meet families where they are in the program, and in their family’s journey. All in order to provide a smooth process for the families of our students throughout and after the FLW experience.
While families are enrolled in First Light’s program, they can expect:
- A weekly update call with their child’s primary therapist, focused on the child’s therapeutic process and parent/caregiver’s role in supporting that process;
- A regularly scheduled call with the program’s family therapist, focused on family dynamics/system, psychoeducation and strategies for building new skills and strategies for a healthier family;
- Weekly written communication between parent/caregiver and child, often utilizing clinical guidance to ensure that these contribute to the therapeutic process;
- Access to Family Bridge, a parent portal that is utilized for weekly assignments, webinars, a parent resource library, and photos from the field;
- Weekly parent support and education group;
- Family workshop and visit, usually scheduled 5-7 weeks into a child’s therapeutic journey;
- ATTACh Parent Support—private parent support group available through First Light’s affiliation with ATTACh,including free access to bi-monthly parent support calls, access to webinars, trainings and conferences focused on adoption and attachment
- Transition planning support and guidance, including a transition ceremony honoring a student’s journey and providing a “capstone” to a family’s therapeutic process and a roadmap for continued growth and progress.
Alumni Family Services include:
- Post Discharge Call to check in and support transition process
- Ongoing access to individual and family therapist to support the transition process
- Monthly Alumni Forums that provide psychoeducation and support
- Quarterly alumni newsletters
- Regional alumni events to create ongoing connection
- ATTACH Parent Support, provided through First Light’s affiliation with ATTACH.
- Transition Coaching:
- For students, families or both, transition coaching focuses on supporting the transition process, implementation of home agreements, coaching on parental boundaries and communication, and continuing the healing process. This is an adjunct to home-based therapeutic support services.
- Family Intensive – A multi-day family therapy intervention individualized to each family for an unique and impactful experience. This in-depth intervention takes place in a neutral environment deep diving into generational healing and shifting out of unhealthy family patterns while embracing new strategies for families to engage in healthier, more productive ways. This can either take place in the wilderness or at local lodging. Families will have opportunity to practice skills and connect through adventure, relaxation, somatic experiencing, and facilitated group sessions. Each day incorporates 4-5 hours of direct and intensive therapeutic work. Intensive design and goals are uniquely tailored to meet each family’s needs.