Catherine Freer Wilderness Program

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Current status Closed
Checked June 18, 2012
Open.gif Opened 1988
Close.gif Closed 2012

Catherine Freer Wilderness Therapy Programs is a behavior modification program using a form of wilderness therapy as tool.

The program is named after a climber who disappeared on Mount Logan in 1987 [1]. It was founded in 1988 by Robert Cooley.

It was announced June 2012 that program would close down due to the owners retirement [2]


The program last 21 day with a option of further days if it is decided.

Phase I

The first 21 days is called Phase I. Each detained child is sleeping in his or her own shelter isolated with some distance from the rest of the group they are part of, so they can not conspire. Until they hike they eat breakfast, cook and work on their personal journals and talk with a therapist periodically. After hike with breaks for lunch and setting up a new camp, some are given extra hikes as "rewards" before the day ends with dinner and 2 to 3 hours group therapy.

When the first phase are over a second family meeting are held.

Phase II

Phase II are more group-oriented. The teenagers are still kept isolated during the night but they have to agree to a leader for the activity of the day.

Phase II ends with a third family meeting [3].

In the News

May 27, 2002 a 15 year old girl (Erica Harvey) died during a hike [4] . Another girl - 15 years of age - died October 20 the same year.

March 26, 2003 a tree crushed the skull of 16 year old Corey Baines from Santa Rosa [5].

In 2005 18 year old Chase W. Bickell was seriously injured. [6]

In 2008 the german version of Brat Camp called Teenager Ausser Kontrolle (Teenagers out of control) was filmed at the wilderness program [7]. Beside treatment of behavior issues they also succesfully treated a political issue by one of the young Germans.

External Links

Info pages

Survivor Groups

Message boards


  1. Catherine Freer: An Inspiration and Friend By Robert Cooley, Ph.D. Founder of Catherine Freer Wilderness Therapy Programs Us9.GIF
  2. [Cooley Retires... - Catherine Freer Closes], press-release published on - industry marketing firm
  3. Wilderness Therapy Expedition, program homepage Us9.GIF
  4. Press Release at - a Industry marketing firm Us9.GIF
  5. Tree limb victim identified as SR boy, International Survivor Action Committee Us9.GIF
  6. Teen rescued after being hurt on outdoor outing, International Survivor Action Committee Us9.GIF
  7. Lebenshilfe mit RTL: Neue Staffel "Teenager außer Kontrolle", Amerika Woche - The German newspaper for America (Article in German), 25-02-2008 DeXmini.gif