Second Nature (Duchesne, UT)

Outside the Bay Area

Second Nature is a wilderness therapy program founded in 1998.

Parent Reviews

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Archived Q&A and Reviews

Oct 2009

RE: Feedback on Wilderness and RTC

In 2001, my 15 yr old who was spiraling down terribly. I also went to the Bodin group. A therapeutic wilderness program was recommended for my dd, Second Nature. They also recommended a therapeutic boarding school.

Please reconsider. Second Nature worked well for my daughter d emotionally. I asked lots of detailed questions and still did not knnow the harsh conditions. Her diet was restricted to beans and water until she earned the privilege to eat more. She slept on the ground in the snow of the Utah mountains. All she had was a tarp, no tent. My girl was signficantly injured in the program. The program was described as gentle; it was not.questions, but still I did not know what the conditions would be. Caveat Emptor with these programs.

My biggest mistake was sending my daughter away after Second Nature. Many of these therapeutic programs are very behaviorally based. The staff is often poorly trained. The therapists typically are right out of school; they stay one year to be licensed and leave.The staff psychiatrist overmedicated the kids. My daughter received 3X the maximum dosage allow of her medication. My daughter was emotionally harmed by staff and victimized by older boys in the program. I found that Bodin was in bed with the program. When it came to protecting my daughter,they did not act to do so.

This was my direct experience with my own child. Please be careful. Before taking such a drastic step, I recommend consulting with a therapist in Albany, Terry Trotter. She is amazing.

I understand the anxiety about wilderness programs all too well as it was one of the most difficult decisions that my husband and I have ever made. In 2006 we sent our son to a 5 week program I won't name (very well known), and it had limited impact. In 2007 we decided to work with Bodin and subsequently sent our son to Second Nature, and our son then moved on to an 8 month follow-up program recommended by both Second Nature and Bodin. I'd like to balance the critical perspective about Bodin offered by Peggy who posted today, though by no means can I argue that our experience is typical or applicable to others. Yes, it is the case that Bodin is favorably disposed to Second Nature, but Bodin prefers to send clients to programs they know well, and we found that to be a tremendous benefit. Our son's co-therapists talked with us almost weekly, and our Bodin consultant was on the phone with us as well, and therefore we had a network of support. Our son's follow-up program is a program favored by Second Nature and Bodin, and I suppose some parents would be suspicious about that, but, for us, these program relationships facilitated continuity of treatment from one program to another. All this said, after all this treatment, our son continues to struggle, and none of his three programs were 'cures.' On the other hand, we've learned a great deal about our son (as he did about himself), and we now understand that he may never be able to handle his life like an adult. As sad as this is to accept, we've had the input and perspective of many professionals, each of whom has expressed both 'glass half full' and 'glass half empty' perspectives, and offered us hope as well as painful realities. These professionals definitely offered our son hope - yes, maybe the programs are challenging, but our son was loved in so many ways, and he carries that love with him. It's noteworthy that his former therapists are his facebook friends. I'm very sorry that other parents and kids have had less positive experiences with Bodin and Second Nature, but I just wanted to offer another perspective. Best of luck, and a hug of support. anon

This is in response to the mother whose 15 year old daughter went to Second Nature. We had a different experience when our 18 year old daughter went to the same program. Perhaps she was in a different age group. Yes, the conditions were harsh. but I think the reasons for that were sound. The therapist assigned to our daughter was excellent; compassionate, caring and experienced. Our daughter liked the other staff as well. Victimization by other participants was not allowed and the kids were carefully monitored. Upon graduation parents were allowed to spend the night in the wilderness (it was really, really cold) and see for themselves what went on. We got a lot out of the group sessions and meeting the other participants. That said, we are glad she is no longer there and so is she! She went to an after care program after wilderness and her life was turned around. Anon

Jan 2009

RE: Boot camp for 19 year old?

I strongly recommend Second Nature Wilderness Program. A teenager I know well was completely melting down, not getting along with anyone and having trouble with, well, everything. He really transformed with some time with this program. They are not a 'boot camp' except in the sense that they take the kid out of their usual environment and help make them feel independent and self-reliant. There's no hint of outrageous militaristic discipline. The teen I know was at the one in Utah. Their website is

I can vouch for Second Nature - my son, who is now 20, went there when he was 16. The counselors are excellent, and though he was very defiant at the time, I might go so far as to say he liked it. He definitely got a lot out of it and appreciated the program structure. But we got there with the help of Bodin Associates - I don't think you can book with Second Nature directly. You have to work through one of the consultants. Diana

You do not have to go through a consultant to enroll your child at Second Nature. You can call the Second Nature office in Salt Lake City or Duschene, Utah and talk to an admissions person directly. Call information and ask for Second Nature in Duschene. The admissions staff is compassionate and very knowledgeable. anon