Stories from the field is dedicated to demystifying wilderness therapy and is hosted by Dr. Will White. In this podcast Will interviews various wilderness therapy researchers, program founders, writers, executive directors, guide staff, clinicians, critics and more. He educates the listener to the long history of the field and different trends related to this evolving treatment option.
Will has worked in the wilderness therapy field for over 30 years and co-founded Summit Achievement (a wilderness therapy program) located in Maine in the 1990's. He wrote the book, "Stories from the Field: A History of Wilderness Therapy" and his doctoral dissertation traced the history of the field and is titled, “Stories from the Elders: Chronicles and Narratives from the Early Years of Wilderness Therapy”.
Learning differences and Wilderness Therapy
Wilderness therapy programs have evolved over the last twenty years to better help those with learning differences that impact mental health. Many young people who enroll in wilderness therapy programs have undiagnosed learning differences, including dyslexia, ADHD, etc., that need to be addressed for a healthy change to occur.
In this episode, we dive into this topic with Sanford Shapiro, a learning specialist at Evoke, and Anson McNulty, Operations Director at Summit Achievement, who has dyslexia.
Margo Kelly, Course Leader/Therapist at True North
Margo Kelly, MSW, MEd (they/them/theirs) is a course leader/therapist at True North in Vermont. Their journey to wilderness therapy began on a backpacking trip on the Long Trail when they came upon three different people who pointed them in the direction of True North. Margo was intrigued with an offer to be a therapist for the all-gender team and took the job. Margo shares their gender journey, their recommendations for treatment with trans and non-binary youth, and why wilderness therapy works so well.
Jamila Minnifield: Primary Therapist at First Light Wilderness Therapy
Jamila Minnifield is a therapist at First Light Wilderness in Georgia. Jamila shares the story of her unusual journey to becoming a wilderness therapist, from her serendipitous learning about wilderness therapy on a backpacking trip on the Appalachian Trail to being a field guide for over two years, although having already achieved her masters in counseling. Jamila is a trailblazer as she is the second black woman therapist in the field, and she is the first who was a field guide before being a therapist.
How to get Insurance Reimbursement for Wilderness Therapy
Mary Covington is the President of Denials Management, a healthcare advocacy firm specializing in mental health billing, claims, and appeals. Mary explains the critical steps in getting insurance reimbursement for wilderness therapy and how to appeal a denied insurance claim. Mary shares how insurance companies view outdoor behavioral healthcare and how Denials Management has helped parents recoup over 12 million dollars in reimbursement from insurance companies for wilderness therapy treatment.
Financial Help for Wilderness Therapy Treatment, Part 2
The cost of wilderness therapy treatment is expensive, yet several organizations will help. In this second of two episodes, we hear stories from leaders of non-profit organizations that help families by providing funds to help pay for wilderness therapy treatment. We talk with John Hunt from Jason William Hunt Foundation, Liz Bounds from the Parker Bounds Johnson Foundation, and Derek Daley from the Loa Fund. We will hear about the history of the organizations, how to apply for funds, and other resources.
Financial Help for Wilderness Therapy Treatment Part 1
The cost of wilderness therapy treatment is expensive, yet several organizations will help. In this episode, we hear stories from leaders of non-profit organizations that help families by providing funds to help pay for wilderness therapy treatment. We talk with Debbie Roelands from Skys the Limit Fund, Brad Matheson from Choose Mental Health, and Miriam Miller from Charles N Miller Scholarship fund. They will share the history of the organizations, how to apply for funds and other resources for families.