Raising the Bar

By JD Daubs, Admissions Director

Pacific Quest Wilderness Therapy ProgramI’ve had the opportunity to work in our industry for 10 years and have seen wilderness programs adapt, change and respond to the growing therapeutic and clinical needs of students and families.  In my opinion, there’s not a better treatment option for families that have exhausted most or even at times all resources to find help for loved ones.  I commonly say that we “unstick the stuck”; meaning we offer solutions to students and families when they are in a pattern of unhealthy and at times very damaging, harmful behaviors that have not been changed with all types of intervention and treatment.

Pacific Quest has responded the best in the industry to the growing need of students and families by creating an environment that cultivates and promotes sustainable treatment for our students and families.  I want to take a moment to let you know how Pacific Quest’s services are bar none to the rest of the industry!  Please take a moment to read what we have to offer below.

Wellness and Medical Support

  • Pacific Quest is the only outdoor therapeutic program with a full-time ND (Naturopathic Doctor), staff Psychiatrist and a consulting MD who sees adolescents and young adults on-site, two full-time Registered Nurses, a full-time Paramedic, and three wellness assistants.
  • Pacific Quest is the only outdoor therapy program with a truly integrated Medical and Wellness Team, working in tandem with the Primary Therapist, support professionals (as applicable) and parents to address and manage wellness for each adolescent/ young adult.
  • Upon admission, Pacific Quest provides comprehensive, individualized Wellness Plans for each adolescent and young adult. Wellness Plans are fully transferable to the next setting (aftercare or home), further supporting sustainability.
  • Pacific Quest’s Psychiatrist, ND, RN and Primary Therapist meet with each adolescent/young adult (and communicate extensively with his/her family and other support professionals, if/when medication review is warranted).
  • Pacific Quest’s Medical Director, Clinical Director, Program Director and Admissions Director collaboratively review all potential admissions prior to placement.
  • Pacific Quest is the only outdoor therapy program with a full-service hospital just 15 minutes from each location.
  • Pacific Quest is the only outdoor therapy program offering a 90% organic and whole-foods diet.
  • Adolescents and young adults grow, tend to, and harvest all fruits and vegetables and engage in farm-to-table meal preparation. All meats are organic and secured locally. A wide variety of diets can be accommodated, including but not limited to: allergen-free, gluten-free/Celiac, dairy-free, vegetarian or vegan and/or kosher.
  • Pacific Quest is the only outdoor therapy program with full-time, awake Night Staff 365 days per year. Pacific Quest is committed to this feature for added safety and security.

Clinical and Therapeutic Support

  • Each adolescent or young adult receives two individual therapy sessions per-week. (Note: standard practice for most wilderness therapy programs is one therapy session per week.)
  • Each adolescent/young adult is engaged in multiple therapist-facilitated groups weekly. Masters/licensed and/or Doctoral level clinicians lead all groups. (Note: other wilderness programs typically offer groups led by field staff or other non-clinical staff.)
  • Pacific Quest’s clinical team is comprised of (8) full-time Masters level clinicians plus (3) full-time Clinical Psychologists and (1) full-time Doctoral candidate.
  • Pacific Quest has a 2:1 staff to student ratio.
  • All of Pacific Quest Field Instructors hold college degrees and/or a minimum of three years of related therapeutic experience.
  • Pacific Quest offers a full menu of on-site Psychological Testing services.
  • Pacific Quest offers unparalleled family support, which includes but is not limited to:
  • weekly update calls with a Masters or Doctoral 
level clinician.

  • a dedicated Family Therapist for parents/siblings 
(as appropriate).

  • a dedicated Parent Coordinator who is “on call” 
to parents and serves as an immediate one-stop, 
liaison to all departments at any time.

  • an interactive Parent Curriculum Manual providing 
parents with guidance, tangible tools and education.

  • a mid-stay (on-site) Parent Workshop (adolescent 
program) with adolescent participation.

  • mainland Parent Workshops and events for current 
and alumni families.

  • a professional Outreach and Admissions team 
located in the mainland and always accessible. 
Additional family therapy and sibling support (as applicable) is included in tuition. 
Coming Soon! Pacific Quest will offer weekly, open-forum group chats (online and via telephone) facilitated by highly experienced, Masters level clinicians for parents of enrolled adolescents and young adults. Calls will provide a supportive forum for parents to ask questions and receive guidance on a wide variety of common parenting challenges. These sessions will assist parents in supporting their adolescent or young adult child while at Pacific Quest and after he/she transitions.

Additional Defining Features

  • Pacific Quest is the only outdoor therapy program, which uses Horticultural Therapy to support increased emotional health and well being for adolescents and young adults. Horticultural therapy utilizes organic gardening in conjunction with proven therapeutic modalities to meet specific therapeutic treatment goals.
  • Pacific Quest is the only outdoor therapy program to utilize this cutting- edge, client-centered, treatment model to enhance social, cognitive, and physiological functioning with the primary goal of improving health and inspiring motivation for change.
  • Organic gardening provides a living community where a variety of vital life skills may be practiced, mastered and generalized long after a young person’s Pacific Quest journey.
  • Pacific Quest is not corporately or remotely owned. Owners/operators live near the program and work side-by-side with staff on-site.
  • Pacific Quest operates in a mild and temperate climate year-round in calm, lush and peaceful surroundings.
  • Pacific Quest operates on privately controlled land (not public land).
  • At Pacific Quest, all adolescents and young adults sleep indoors in simple, yet modern bunkhouses.
  • Sustainable, practical life skills (vs. rarely used survival skills) are taught, practiced and mastered. (These skills include but are not limited to: time management, goal setting, organizational, planning, community living, meal planning and cooking, self care and grooming.)
  • Pacific Quest participants engage in true community service by preparing vegetables/fruits for harvest and sale at local farmers markets and then donating proceeds to local children’s charities, or by participation in land and service projects designed to protect Hawaii’s natural heritage. Young adults and adolescents learn to be stewards of their communities and to give of themselves to others

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