Four Circles Wilderness Treatment Program for Young Adult Substance Abuse Pleased with Initial Data One Year into Their Participation in Outcome Study

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Study examining the therapeutic outcomes associated with wilderness therapy for young adults with substance abuse issues shows promising results after the first year of data collection.

Most programs don't mention their success rates because they aren't that good or they simply don't track it

Four Circles Recovery, a wilderness treatment program for young adults with substance abuse issues, is pleased with the initial data one year into their participation in a long-term outcome study on the efficacy of wilderness therapy as an addiction treatment for young adults.

The study, conducted by independent researchers, began collecting data at Four Circles in March of 2007. Over one-quarter of the participants needed have already been enrolled in the study. The research protocol includes assessing clients while they participate in therapy, as well as following participants for one full year after graduation. This allows researchers to determine the long-term therapeutic outcomes associated with wilderness therapy.

"Most programs don't mention their success rates because they aren't that good or they simply don't track it," says Jack Kline, Executive Director of Four Circles, "We believe it is important to know how our clients progress, while in treatment with us, and more importantly, after they graduate. Towards this end, we commissioned this study currently being conducted by the Center for Research, Assessment, and Treatment Efficacy (CReATE), in collaboration with the University of Arkansas, to accurately determine our clients' progress while at Four Circles and for one full year after they complete treatment."

The rigorous, well-controlled outcome study will investigate whether clients' psychological functioning improves while in treatment and whether these observed treatment gains are maintained during the year following graduation from the program. Another point of interest is the role of the wilderness component in an individual's response to substance abuse treatment and their recovery thereafter.

The prospective, naturalistic, multi-site clinical study has enrolled approximately one-third of its subjects to date. Participants are being assessed at five time points over the duration of the study. The researchers will measure such variables as substance abuse history, including symptoms of abuse and dependency, severity of symptoms, and the function of substance use and abuse (e.g., self-medication, sensation-seeking, etc). They will also assess other issues that could potentially impact the individual's response to treatment, such as a history of trauma, coping style, psychopathology, and emotional reactivity. The researchers plan to enroll 300 participants in the study by the end of 2008. Data collection will be complete by 2009.

"A preliminary analysis of the data indicates that clients at Four Circles show significant improvements while in treatment at our program. Clients show strong therapeutic gains in reduction of symptoms of depression and anxiety, substance abuse, and dependency. They show stronger motivation for recovery as they progress through the program as well as improvement in issues such as sleep disruption and suicidal ideation," says Jack Kline, Executive Director at Four Circles Recovery Center.

Clients have also reported improvements in overall quality of life and work functioning. Over the following months, the research team will be working hard to follow current graduates of Four Circles for one full year after they complete treatment.

"We anticipate that our graduates will far exceed the national average in length of successful, sustained recovery," says Jack Kline.

Another main objective of the current study is to disseminate findings broadly, within the scientific community. Data will be presented at several separate presentations at the American Psychological Association's 116th annual meeting in Boston in August, 2008. Once all the data has come in, manuscripts will be developed to publish in peer-reviewed scholarly journals.

Four Circles Recovery Center offers a unique therapeutic wilderness program to treat addiction to alcohol and drugs. Their wilderness therapy program includes clinical modalities as well as a 12-step program approach. Four Circles specializes in young adults ages 18 to 28. The program is located in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains just outside Asheville, North Carolina. Four Circles uses effective, cutting-edge clinical modalities with an underlying traditional 12-step philosophy to create the foundation for sustained recovery.

Four Circles wilderness recovery program is a proud member of Aspen Education Group, the nation's largest and most comprehensive network of therapeutic schools and programs. Aspen Education Group offers professionals and families the opportunity to choose from a variety of therapeutic settings in order to best meet their needs.

Aspen Education Group has been profiled by major news and television organizations around the world, including U.S. News and World Report, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, USA Today and People magazine, as well as on CNN, ABC's 20/20 and Good Morning America, NBC's The Today Show and Dateline NBC, and National Public Radio. Aspen is a division of CRC Health Group, the nation's largest chemical dependency and related behavioral health organization.

For more information about Four Circles, visit or call (877) 893-2221.

For more information about the Center for Research, Assessment, and Treatment Efficacy (CReATE), visit


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