“The two most powerful words when we’re in struggle: me too.” – Brene Brown

It’s all about relationships. Therapy is administered by licensed professionals and qualified staff. We provide therapeutic intervention in the following three forms: Group, Individual and Family. Our milieu includes the Why Try Model, a program that was originally developed as a one-on-one counseling tool. The WhyTry visual analogies provide a relationship-focused and practical guide for discussing personal challenges and solutions to problems that youth face at home, at school, and with their peers.

Sundance Canyon employs a variety of therapeutic modalities – individual, group, family, talk, experiential, and even outdoor recreation – to ensure the highest level of therapeutic traction possible with individual students and their families. Traditional talk therapy has its place, but at Sundance, we know that our strength-based approach to therapy utilizes a system of relationship-based therapies (CPRT) that engage our students in a variety of ways.

Family Therapy

Family therapy usually occurs over the phone or by utilizing Skype technologies, but parents are welcome to attend in person. Sundance Canyon therapists schedule weekly family therapy sessions. These sessions provide the opportunity for families to work through sensitive issues together and to support each other, prevent relapse, and plan for returning home after treatment.

Individual Therapy

Each student receives a minimum of ninety minutes of individual therapy each week. The ninety minutes can occur in a single session or several sessions as needed.

Group Therapy

Traditional group therapy is facilitated by master’s-level therapists. Groups are held daily. Additionally, each student is assigned to specialty groups that specifically address their individual therapeutic needs. These specialty groups include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Trauma
  • Attachment
  • Recovery/Substance Abuse
  • Image
  • Grief/Loss
  • Emotional Regulation
  • Self-Esteem
  • Relationships
  • Recreation
  • DBT
  • Music
  • Life Skills

Experiential Therapy

The Experiential Therapy group has three main areas of focus, which are: service, experiential therapy, and leisure education.

Residents are involved in service projects at least twice a month. Projects include:

  • Utah Food Bank
  • Ronald McDonald House (residence for families recovering from cancer)
  • Humanitarian Center
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Meals-on-Wheels
  • US Forest & Park Service
  • Adopt-a-Highway
  • Utah Special Olympics
  • Salt Lake City Co-Op

Service projects like these provide our students an opportunity to focus on something outside of themselves; doing so improves their own lives and the lives of others.

Experiential therapy uses activity-based experiences to teach life skills in areas such as relationships, communication, teamwork, self-esteem, self-awareness, accountability, and responsibility. Involving students and families in challenging and unpredictable tasks helps them think in new ways about old problems, identify what needs to be changed in their lives and relationships, and take the decisive steps to achieve more happiness and success in life.

We dedicate two Saturdays each month to “long-day” experiential activities for our students. Weekend excursions are also included for off-campus service projects and recreation opportunities.

Recreation/Expeditions helps our students discover healthy ways to have fun – an important competency for our students who may have struggled in the past with destructive or unhealthy leisure activities. Some of our activities include:

  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Rappelling
  • 4-wheeling
  • Boating and Wake-boarding
  • Jet Skiing
  • Snow-boarding and Skiing
  • River Rafting

Experiences like these teach students how to fill their free time in positive ways.

We use only Ph.D. and Master level therapists. Students are assessed upon admission, in order to devise the Treatment Plan that will most support the student on his path to success.

Counseling at Sundance is a collaborative approach. Therapy also involves program directors, necessary staff, and parents or guardians.

We use the “Why Try” program. The Why Try, program teaches youth that “yes” it is worth trying hard in life. It offers real solutions and presents these solutions in a way that the youth can both understand and remember. The program teaches self esteem and stresses that although making good decisions can be difficult; doing so will help give the youth more opportunity, freedom and self-respect.

Our “Cognitive and Realistic” approach teaches youth how to process and focus on solutions to their problems to convert challenges and anger into positive motivation.

Student and parents will have to complete therapy assignments before moving on to the next therapy phase. The positive approach to youth development is not about crisis management and not about stopping or preventing problems. However, the program is about investing wisely in our youth, increasing their exposure to positive, constructive activities, and instilling values and skills that will guide them the rest of their adult lives.

Therapy will focus on External and

Internal Assets

  • Family Support
  • Positive family communications
  • Service to others
  • Adult role models
  • Positive peer influence
  • Creative activities
  • Equality and Social Justice
  • Integrity
  • Honesty
  • Responsibility
  • Planning and decision making
  • Interpersonal competence
  • Cultural competence
  • Resistance skills
  • Conflict resolution
  • Personal Power
  • Self-Esteem
  • Sense of purpose