The Summit Blog

How do you make troubled teens change at Summit Achievement?

Summit Achievement finds the Stages of Change Model as a beneficial way to look at the change process for troubled teens and young adults.   The Stages of Change Model, technically referred to as the Transtheoretical Model of Change, was first developed in 1977 by Dr. James Prochoska at the University of Rhode Island.  The premise is that any change process for a troubled teen or young adult (or anyone for that matter) goes through six different stages.  The six stages are Precontemplation, Contemplation, Determination, Action, Maintenance, Termination. When we work with teenagers and their families, we often refer to the Stages of Change Model. All of our faculty, guides and clinicians are trained in this model.  We encourage people to read more about this useful way to look at change and feel that this book is one of the great tools that explain the model.  We will explore the model in this blog post as well as how we facilitate the process at Summit Achievement through our unique model of wilderness therapy and residential treatment program for teens and young adults.

Using the Stages of Change Model

Stage 1

To start, we will use an example of a troubled teenager who struggles with anxiety going through the stages.  You could change the word “anxiety” to depression, social challenges, attention deficit disorder, or executive functioning if it is more fitting for your child.  The first stage is Precontemplation- which is when the struggling teen is not even aware there is a problem. The problem is seen as being caused by school, other students, society, and so forth and so it is not possible to fix. Teenagers in the Precontemplation stage refuse any treatment, nor do they see it as a problem nor something that they need to address.  The parent can see, as well as many others, the teen’s anxiety and the subsequent behavior but is unable to effectively get their teen to see that there is a problem. Because they cannot see the problem, they will not address it. Many years ago, this stage was called “Denial.” It is impossible to admit there is a problem if you don’t see one. At this stage, a parent is often frustrated as they see that their teenager is struggling but cannot get their child to see it no matter what they do.

Stage 2

The second stage is Contemplation- which is when the troubled teen admits, at times, that there is a problem but vacillate between seeing it as a problem to minimizing it as a problem.  The teen may say they will go to mental health treatment and then say it is “not really a problem” or reject the recommendations of the mental health practitioner. The parent is often glad to see their teen sees the problem but frustrated as the troubled teen is not doing anything about the challenge, even with plenty of options for help.  Consider the nicotine user who says they are going to stop, but not until next week, month or New Years or etc. They say it is a problem, but they also don’t act like it is one, so it continues. One can be in the Contemplation stage a long time, so long that one becomes comfortable with the discomfort.

Stage 3

The third stage is Determination (also referred to as Preparation) when a troubled teen starts addressing the issue, such as reading more about anxiety and going to counseling sessions.  Perhaps they will even begin telling friends they are dealing with stress. They are more likely to ask for help and be open with their parents about the need for help. They see the problem and want help and will actively engage with mental health professionals.  Sometimes troubled teens regress to the Contemplation stage as they realize that making a change is a challenge.

Stage 4

The next stage is Action, which is when a troubled teen is active in treatment, such as following treatment recommendations by their mental health provider and doing associated treatment goal work.  For the anxious, troubled teen, this may mean doing activities that they refused to do in the past because of their anxiety, such as going to school five days a week or meeting new people. This stage has the teen regularly practicing new behaviors that help to address triggers that could cause a relapse into anxiety or whatever challenges are occurring.

Stage 5

The fifth stage is Maintenance when a behavior change has sustained for six months or more.  During this stage, the troubled teenager may have, from time to time, anxiety but they use the tools that they learned in adolescent treatment settings to not relapse back into a place of not participating in basic adolescent tasks such as going to school, doing homework and participating in family activities.

Stage 6

The final stage is Termination, which is when the issue is no longer part of the teen’s life, whether it is anxiety, depression, substance use, etc.  This issue is something that young people and their parents look back upon and say, “remember when you…” and reflect on how much has changed since that time.  We have numerous stories to tell regarding this stage.

The majority of students who enroll at Summit Achievement are either in the Precontemplation or Contemplation stage as they are still grappling with how to make a change or even that there is a problem, to begin with.  For a deeper understanding of this, read the book.

How do we facilitate the change process at Summit?

Summit Achievement combines the best in evidence-based treatment practices delivered by licensed mental health practitioners in our residential and wilderness therapy program setting to help create change for young people and their families.  Evidenced-based treatment practices are defined by the American Psychological Association as “the integration of the best available research with clinical expertise in the context of client characteristics.” At Summit Achievement, our clinicians utilize several modalities of Evidenced Based Treatment Practices, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Family Systems Therapy, and Motivational Interviewing.  We use these modalities as they have been proven to be effective treatment strategies to help create change. Our clinicians are regularly updating their training on these treatment modalities. We also integrate treatment practices throughout the therapeutic milieu (on our campus) and the wilderness therapy expeditions to help accelerate the Process of Change for our students. We provide individual, group, and family therapy for troubled teens and their parents starting the week of enrollment.

Developing growth through the uncomfortable

When young people enter the Summit Achievement treatment program, they are often in the Precontemplation or Contemplation stage.  Our team works tirelessly to connect with troubled teens so we can help steer them through the therapeutic process. It is easier to support a troubled teen through the therapy process at a residential and wilderness setting than it is for parents because we do not have the longtime patterns of behavior to unbundle or emotional connection.  We care deeply about our students while being clear as to what is healthy and unhealthy behavior, and we address issues at the time they occur. To read more about how we facilitate the change process at Summit Achievement, please read this webpage.

Why does Summit Achievement have an academic component when other wilderness programs do not?

Summit Achievement has had an academic component since it started operations in 1996. The impetus, at that time, was that one of the co-founders was working as a psychotherapist at a Northeast Boarding School and counseled many students who had gone to wilderness programs before enrolling at the school. He observed that many of those students did well in outdoor programming and extracurricular activities but had not developed the skills or understanding of their learning styles to manage the academic challenges they faced in a traditional environment. Subsequently, many of those students were asked to leave the boarding school before completing the academic year. When he was asked to help start Summit Achievement he insisted that the program have an academic component so students could be assessed and educated in a traditional classroom in order to help them transition back to an academic environment. Although it would have been a great deal cheaper to start and run a wilderness program without an educational component it would have left families and students short changed. We illustrate this as our outcome data reveals that 77% of Summit students return home or to a traditional boarding school environment.

The Importance of Academics In Wilderness Therapy

That beginning impetus of Summit’s academic program is more relevant today than it was when Summit first started as more research is showing that the more time away from school the further students, with or without learning disabilities, will be behind when they return to a traditional academic setting. Although some wilderness program profess that school work is “not important” during treatment it should be pointed out that a young person with a learning disability who is not attending school for two months or more could get behind by over a year in school work. This can often compound the anxiety and depression that drove the need for treatment to begin with . The data is showing that young people with learning challenges need an extended school year as to not regress in school and the research on the extended school years reveals this . The more time away from school environments the further a teen is from graduating high school.

Academic Support Is Crucial To Success

The National Center for Learning Disabilities recently reported that 1 in 5 children have a learning and/or attention issue such as dyslexia and ADHD. The report “reveals that children with learning and attention issues are as smart as their peers and can achieve high levels but too often are misunderstood as lazy or unintelligent. Without the right academic or emotional support, they are more likely to repeat a grade, get suspended or drop out”. Summit’s program is set up to help identify if a teen has a learning disability that may be the underpinnings of anxiety, depression, behavioral issues and/or substance abuse for which the troubled teen was referred to Summit in the first place. Summit Achievement clearly recognizes that some of the mental health issues that young people are referred to the program for can be traced to an undiagnosed learning, attentional, or processing issue. Summit’s hybrid model and available neuropsychological testing can help identify these issues earlier than a wilderness program without an academic component, saving young people and their families time and money when trying to decide where to go after wilderness.

A Team Approach To Educating The Whole Student

Summit’s Academic program is individually tailored to help students with or without learning and attentional issues to learn ways to be more successful in an academic setting. We educate to the whole student and help them to learn tools to navigate and advocate for themselves in school. We use a blended learning approach which allows for a formal school day and rotating classroom schedule. Blended learning utilizes online courses so that students can begin their courses any time of year and move at their own pace. They are enrolled in courses that best suit their current level and current semester and that most closely match what they were most recently studying. These online courses are blended with in-classroom teachers supporting students with one-to-one coaching and instruction which allows flexibility in identifying and practicing interventions and strategies for overcoming a wide variety of learning and classroom-based challenges.

At Summit Achievement, we make the most of the three-day school week providing structure with a daily schedule that rotates through English, math, social studies, and science classes. Any of these subjects can be swapped for a world language or elective if needed. Students also attend study hall in the evenings four days a week. Short-term and long-term goals are set weekly to keep students on-track while adjusting these goals as scaffolding is reduced. These goals are set with an academic advisor and they are shared with therapists, parents, educational consultants, and schools so there can be a team approach to planning for the student’s transition.

Does Summit Achievement work with troubled teens by using a “scared straight” model of intervention?

Summit Achievement has achieved being one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious accredited programs for struggling teens by providing our students and their families with high quality treatment, challenging academics and outdoor experiences. At times we are asked if we “scare straight troubled teens.”  We use the term “struggling teens“ versus “troubled teens” as we see our students struggling with issues that cause them to, at times, get into trouble at home, school or work. We find these struggles that lead to troubling behavior by young people are often driven by undiagnosed learning difficulties and/or undiagnosed mental health issues.  We work on identifying and addressing these issue so students can go on to have independent, healthy and successful lives.

Our relational model encourages an allied based approach where we work alongside students versus a punitive approach which is commonly seen in adjudicated programs where students are mandated to attend. Our sophisticated clinical approach provides the highest quality treatment provided by  licensed clinicians and a caring staff who work diligently to connect with our students. Our approach comes from a place of care and not control.

While there are programs in the country that are about being “tough” on young people such as a “scared straight” programs or military influenced “boot camps” that is not what Summit Achievement is or has ever been about.  There have been several research articles that reveal the confrontational tactics do not work well with struggling teens.   That type of approach to working with teens often causes young people to get in to more trouble after discharging from a program.

Summit Achievement is about making connection with young people in order to help young people and their families’ change.  Our outcome studies show that we are extremely effective in treating mental health disorders including anxiety and depression.  Our approach comes from a place of care and not control.  Please come visit us to see what we have to offer.

Why Summit Achievement Recommends parents hire a Therapeutic Educational Consultant

Therapeutic Educational Consultants are professionals who assist parents in finding the right therapeutic and/or academic setting for their adolescent or young adults before, and after, Summit Achievement.  Summit recommends parents hire a Therapeutic Educational Consultant in order to help ensure that a parent has access to the most up to date information about schools and programs for aftercare planning.   Enlisting a consultant at the beginning of a students’ stay at Summit helps keep parents informed of all the options that are available after Summit.

Therapeutic Educational Consultants, are most likely members of the following associations:

To be a member of either of these organizations educational consultants must adhere to ethical standards to help ensure unbiased and objective advice to parents and are not receiving any sort of compensation or quid pro quo from programs.  Professionals associated with these two organization attend conferences and trainings to keep up to date on best practices.

Therapeutic Educational Consultants regularly visit programs (like Summit) to keep up to date on any changes that may occur.  Some therapeutic educational consultants have worked in therapeutic programs in the past and many have advanced mental health degrees, certifications and training. Summit recommends that parents interview several Therapeutic Consultants to find out how they work with families as well as how they charge for their services.

If you do not have an educational consultant and are considering Summit or you are currently a parent of a student at Summit please ask our Admissions Director or your child’s assigned clinician and they will give you a list of therapeutic consultants in your area.

Is Summit Achievement Like Outward Bound?

On a regular bases the Summit admissions team is asked, “Are you like Outward Bound?”

Our response is “Yes and no”.

How Summit Achievement And Outward Bound Are Similar

We respond “Yes” as Outward Bound and Summit Achievement combine experiential education and outdoor education programs to help young people create change in their lives. Both organizations are strongly committed to assisting young people grow to be better people and contributors to their families and communities. Both organizations utilize multi-day expeditions with high quality gear led by qualified and highly trained guide staff to help give young people the guidance they need to grow as individuals as well as being part of a team.

Both organizations see the multiple challenges facing youth today and strongly feel that being outdoors and participating in adventurous activities is good for the mind, body and soul. These are the underpinnings of both of our organizations.

One of the influences of both organizations was Kurt Hahn who founded Outward Bound in 1941. Hahn gave a lecture in 1960 that identified the following “social diseases that Outward Bound addresses”:

  • There is the decline in fitness due to the modern methods of locomotion.
  • The decline in initiative, due to the widespread disease of spectatoritis.
  • The decline in care and skill, due to the weakened tradition of craftsmanship.
  • The decline in self-discipline, due to the ever-present availability of tranquilizers and stimulants.
  • The decline of compassion, which William Temple called “spiritual death.”

At Summit we see many of the same challenges for youth enrolling in our program that Hahn identified many years ago. Many are struggling with physical health as they are no longer or never committed to being physically healthy. Others are losing initiative as they spend far too much time looking at technology (spectatoritis).

Many are unable to put the skills together to take care of themselves or others. Some students exhibit a lack of self-discipline and others struggle with substance use. All benefit from structured activities with competent leaders assisting them. We also add to the mix licensed mental health professionals and accredited academics.

Several of Summit Achievements founding team were former Outward Bound instructors and program directors in the late 1980’s. They decided to take what they learned at Outward Bound and add a clinically sophisticated mental health program and a vigorous academic program.

How Summit Achievement And Outward Bound Are Different

Summit is a licensed residential treatment program that provides mental health treatment by licensed mental health professionals. Outward Bound is an experiential learning organization that does not address mental health issues.

Outward Bound works with over 200,000 students in a year and operates all over the world including a sailing based program in Maine called Hurricane Island Outward Bound. Summit Achievement works with around 100 students in a year and operates only in Maine.

Outward Bound has fixed length courses which mean the programs start and end on certain days while Summit can enroll a student any week and the length of stay is dependent on progress in the program.

Summit Achievement is accredited as an Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Program while Outward Bound programs are accredited in many ways but not as an Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare program.

Summit Achievement is influenced by Kurt Hahn and Outward Bound and we are grateful for the influence. While Summit is influenced by Outward Bound we also have other influences.

Like Kurt Hahn once said, “In education, as in medicine, you must harvest the wisdom of a thousand years. If you ever come across a surgeon and he wants to extract your appendix in the most original manner possible, I would strongly advise you to go to another surgeon.”

Summit Achievement harvested the wisdom of a thousand years including the wisdom/influence of Outward Bound as well as many others!

How To Receive Insurance Reimbursement For Summit Achievement Services

We receive insurance type questions quite often at Summit Achievement. While Summit does not have direct contracts with any insurance companies, some parents have been able to get reimbursed for part, or all of their child’s stay in the program.

It is best to call your insurance company first before enrolling into the program if you are dependent on your insurance company to pay for services and check on your “out-of-network” services for residential placement.

Persistence Prevails

It is important to recognize that there are thousands of insurance companies and each one has its own unique ways to reimburse or deny payment. Summit does not deal directly with insurance companies but will provide you with forms that you can submit for reimbursement.

We have found with persistence that many of our parents do get some reimbursement, so don’t give up.

How To Begin The Reimbursement Process

The best way for families to begin the reimbursement process is to engage with one of these two claims assistance companies, Denials Management or Axis Services in the early stages of your child’s stay at Summit or prior to enrollment.

They both provide excellent assistance in helping families get reimbursement and have helped many Summit families. Both of these companies will be clear with you from the start if they think you have a case for reimbursement. Their fee structures are different and it is important to consider before engaging one of these companies.

Denials Management charges an hourly fee, whereas Axis takes a percentage of anything they recoup from the insurance company.

Sky’s The Limit Fund

If you do not think you will get insurance reimburse for services but feel you meet the criteria for financial aid then Summit has a fund that is administered by another organization called the Sky’s the Limit Fund. They do the financial vetting for families to see if they fit the criteria for a grant. After your child is accepted into the Summit program, and before we enroll your child, please  contact Sky’s the Limit Fund.

After two to three days they will inform you if you qualify for a grant and how much you will be given.

Summit will match grants from the Sky’s The Limit Fund.

Contact Summit

We want to help and will do our best to steer you in the right direction. Summit Achievement is a licensed and accredited medium length residential treatment program that operates in Maine. We do all we can to assist families gain access to Summit’s care.

So please connect with us if there are financials hurdles in the way.


Tips For Parents With Children Who Are Refusing or Anxious About Going To Summit

Summit has been providing wilderness therapy and education at our residential facility in the mountains of western Maine since 1996. Summit is unique in the field as 98% of our students come with their parents for enrollment.

One of the key components in our program is helping parents through the process of informing and bringing their children to Summit once the decision is made.

We know it’s not always easy or comfortable for parents. So this article was written to help parents deal with common situations that may arise when preparing to bring their child to Summit.

Make Sure You Are Committed First

The first step in getting your child to agree to go to Summit is being ready yourself, and we are here to help you. Making sure you are fully committed to this process will make a significant difference in what you do next.

After reviewing the website, talking with our admissions person and filling out an application, we know you still may have questions. If so, please do not hesitate to contact us. We’re here to help and want to make sure we guide you each step of the way.

History Of Not Following Through

Once your child is accepted, if you have not already done so, you should tell them that they are going to a program.

One challenge we have heard from families is parents saying, “Many times I have told my child they are going to a program but I never followed through.” If this is the case, then your child is likely to think they you will not follow through again.

Your response should be something like this,

“I know I have said many times you are going to a program, but this time I prepared to follow through. Things are not getting better for you, and I care deeply about you. Things are not working at home, and you have been accepted into Summit. We are leaving tomorrow. This program is one that works primarily with voluntary students and we think this is the best way to go. There are other programs that take young people against their will, but that is not the route we want to go.”

Do not get caught up in the emotional whirlwind that many young people exhibit after being told they are going to do something they don’t want to do. Most young people don’t want to go to the dentist or school and parents have to put up the boundary and take the responsibility to make it happen.

Dealing With Anxiety

Anxiety is pervasive for young people and many of our students struggle with it. Parents of highly anxious students regularly ask, “I can’t even get him to leave the house to go to school so how do you expect me to get them to you?”

We encourage parents to sit down with their child and say something like this,

“For a while you have been overcome with anxiety and not attending school. We need to change this pattern for you to have opportunities in your life. We love you. We cannot do it as it has not been working for you at home. If it was working at home you would not be stuck here not going out. Your anxiety has created a jail for you and we have found a program that will help you learn how to unlock the jail and get out. We will be leaving…..”

Frame it as a statement not a question and inform them you, as the parent, have made the decision. Be positive, caring and direct. You, as a parent, have to make changes to make it happen and that starts with being clear and direct.

The Threat Of Running Away

Another challenge parents’ state when approaching their child about going to a program is the child responding to being told they are going to a program, “I will just run away or get kicked out.”

We encourage parents to be clear of how Summit operates compared to other options you have as a parent.

You can inform your child something like this,

“Summit takes 98% of their students via their parents. If you are going to run away or act in a way to get kicked out we should really be looking at a much more restrictive program in which the majority of students are transported by other people and that works with people who use threats to get their way. At Summit we will talk with you each week and visit you after three to four weeks. They are the only program in the country with school and a wilderness component that operates this way. The others you will not be talking with us nor visiting for a much longer period of time.”

As stated in the first paragraph, on a rare occasion we will take students via transport. Those students are individually considered which is at our discretion. Please see the blog “who can come to Summit Achievement by transport.” We have had good success in these situations but that is not the primary way students come to Summit due to our model of regular interaction with parents while in the program.

When To Tell Your Child

Another questions is “how soon should I tell my child that we are going?” We answer that by stating to parents that, “every young person is different and you, as a parent, know your child best. What do you think?”

  • Do they need a long time to process the change?
  • Is it better for them to be told the night before or morning of?
  • Some young people would benefit from seeing our website
  • Others may want to call us.
  • Would a neutral location be better?

Some families decide to tell their child and then go to a neutral location, like a relative’s house or a hotel closer to Summit to remove some of the triggers and temptations that exist at home.

Think about how your child is likely to react and then consider the different approaches to work with your child. If you need guidance call us and you can talk with our admission director or your referring professional or other supporters.

We’re Here To Help

We know this is a difficult process. However, any change is difficult, and this is for the better. Things are not going well for your child and you at home and that is why you are reaching out to us.

You have applied to Summit, and your child has been accepted. Now is the time to help them get here for the help they need. When you arrive on campus our team will help your child to adjust to the program and do all that we can to make them feel welcome and safe upon arrival.

It won’t take your child long to realize that you have brought them somewhere that has kind people ready to help them.

Summit Achievement Re-Accredited As An Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Program

Summit Achievement is proud to be one of only two wilderness therapy programs in the country to have completed this vigorous re-accreditation process.

Association for Experiential Education for Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Programs

We, at Summit Achievement, have just completed the vigorous re-accreditation process by the Association for Experiential Education for Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Programs. By completing this process, Summit Achievement has been awarded accreditation for another three years.

Why did we chose to be an Accredited Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Program?
Accredited Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare programs demonstrate to impartial reviewers that they operate above industry standards of ethical care, treatment evaluation, and risk management practices.

We believe that choosing to be accredited reinforces our commitment to the families we serve to continually strive to be the best in the field as we have for over 22 years.

The Process To Becoming An Accredited Program
During the AEE reaccreditation process a team of outdoor education/adventure therapy professionals spend three days in order to conduct an on-site review of programs. The team reviews policy and procedures as well as interviews staff and inspects facilities.

The outstanding team that reviewed our program included Jed Williamson, one of the authors of the original set of standards for adventure programs and former President of Sterling College as well as Dr. Michael Gass  from the University of New Hampshire and the Outdoor Behavioral Health Research Cooperation and Leah McDonald, formerly the Youth Program Director from Rippleffect of Maine.

The Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Council has 21 members and Summit (being one of the longest standing programs) is one of 15 that has met the standard of AEE/OBH accreditation. We are one of the first programs in the country to become accredited by AEE/OBH and the only one in the Northeast.

AEE/OBH accreditation adds to the many credentials we already have, including being a licensed by the State of Maine as residential treatment center with all licensed clinicians and a licensed non-traditional private school with a certified Special Educator on staff.

We are also a Research Designated Program awarded by the National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs.

Mindfulness at Summit Achievement

Summit Achievement incorporates mindfulness, as well as mindfulness meditation, in different segments of the program. Every day there are periods of time of silent reflection with the most notable being before each meal when the community stands in a circle in silence for a period of time. Spending Thursday through Sunday out in nature without distractions helps increase mindfulness for both staff and students. At times, while on expedition, a team may just hike in silence and just watch their minds.  Other students are educated by their clinician, or guide, on mindfulness meditation techniques as treatment planning. By the time a student reaches the end of the wilderness experience they have an option to go on a solo which is a 24-hour period of silence and self-reflection. The solo experience has been researched and shown to be one of the most powerful experiences in a wilderness program (Kalisch, Bobilya, Daniel, 2011)

The term “mindfulness” has become quite popular in the press, books and other forms of media.  Similarly mental health professionals are encouraging clients to practice “mindfulness” techniques in order to address cognitive challenges such as anxiety, emotional regulation, and depression.  This is also the case for Summit Achievement clinicians as they often assign treatment goals that include a mindfulness practice to students with anxiety or other mood disorders. But what is “mindfulness” and why does it seem that everyone is talking about it?

“Mindfulness” is often used to refer to a cognitive state of awareness, a practice that promotes awareness, a way to process information and even a characterological trait (Davis and Hayes, 2011)  The simplest way to define “mindfulness” is “moment to moment awareness” (Gernes, et al 2005)   Mindfulness is a state of mind that can be promoted by practices.  Practices the promote mindfulness including yoga, breathing exercises, sitting in silence, and prayer.  Others have written that mindfulness can be enhanced by long distance running, gardening, surfing, rock climbing or any activity that can one can get into a ‘Flow” state (Csikszentmihalyi, 2008)  Time in nature has also been shown to increase mindfulness especially for young people (Louv, 2008)

The most well-known of the mindfulness practices is referred to as “mindfulness meditation.”  Mindfulness meditation is the practice of attending to the wide range of changing objects of attention while maintaining moment to moment awareness (Goldstein, Kornfield, 1987).   Mindfulness meditation is the process of sitting in silence and focusing on breathing while not being caught up in the distractions of thoughts and emotions.  When thoughts and emotions occur the meditator just labels those mental intrusions as “thoughts” and goes back to the process of focusing on the breath. It sounds simple but the actual process is quite difficult as our minds, are often distracted by thoughts and feelings and we don’t realize how busy our minds are until we start to meditate.

Mindfulness meditation has been researched for several decades and the positive outcomes of this practice cannot be overstated.   Research studies have shown that mindfulness meditation helps develop effective emotional regulation of the brain (Siegel 2007), decreases ruminative thoughts (Chamber, et al 2008), helps to reduce anxiety and depression while increasing positive affect (Hoffman, Sawyer, Witt, Oh 2010)).   Other studies have shown the meditation practice have increased cognitive flexibility and attentional functioning (Moor, Malinowski 2009).   If mindfulness meditation was a drug every physician would be prescribing it!  Mindfulness meditation is being talked about because it works and evidenced based research has proven it.

“Mindfulness” is a term that is widely bantered about and yet it is really about simple practices of slowing oneself down enough to see how busy our minds are.  Summit Achievement by its very nature, due to incorporating the wilderness aspects and times of reflection in the program, is a program that promotes mindfulness for all who participate.  Mindfulness promotes a peaceful and reflective mind.

To see some of Summit Achievement’s outcome research, click here

To contact us with further questions, or to discuss a particular case, click here

Outcome Research and Outdoor Behavioral Health

Summit Achievement has been a member of the Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Council (OBH) since 2000 (to go to the OBH website, click here).  We have participated in ongoing research to promote the field and prove the efficacy of our work.  Below is a video recently published by OBH about this work.   To see outcome research specific to Summit Achievement, please click here.