Burger
Phone (866) 542-2252

Welcome to Eclipse by Elements:

A Nature and Adventure-Based Neurodiversity Specialty Program for Adolescent Boys

Primary Care Team

Elements Eclipse offers a specialized outdoor therapy program tailored specifically for adolescent boys, ages 13-17, with complex neurodiversity, including autism spectrum disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, and processing gaps.

Eclipse is founded on the idea that unique neurodiverse individuals require specialized nature-based treatment designed for them. We should not expect that the same treatment program that works for neurotypical individuals will work for neurodiverse clients. We created a nature-based therapy program that is based on child developmental theory which utilizes proven treatment methods (Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Seven Challenges, PEERS, etc.), and engages clients in outdoor living, adventure, and cooperative activities.

About Elements Eclipse

Eclipse has been successfully serving neurodiverse clients since Elements’ inception in 2008. Over the years, we have continued to refine and specialize the treatment for neurodiverse individuals as we learn more and gain more understanding of neurodiversity and effective treatment modalities.

Eclipse’s clinical team is led by one of the Elements’ owners, Dr. Neal Christensen, which exemplifies Elements’ owner-operated approach. Together Dr. Neal Christensen and Jamie Kaczmarek, LCSW have over 30 years of experience working with neurodiverse adolescents in an outdoor therapy setting.

Our Approach

At Eclipse, we value diversity and respect the unique qualities and perspectives that make each person who they are. We believe a diverse set of experiences and viewpoints helps young people better understand themselves and the world around them. We work to create a culture in which everyone is treated kindly by others even if there are differences, disagreements, or challenging situations to cope with.

We have five tenets to our program:

  • Celebrate Diversity: We aspire to create a world where neurodiversity is not only accepted but celebrated, where every person can flourish in an inclusive environment that values their individuality.
  • Build Resilience: Our program seeks to empower clients to build emotional resilience, equipping them with the tools to navigate life’s challenges with confidence and grace. Our adventures encourage clients to step outside their comfort zones, promoting personal growth, self-discovery, and a sense of accomplishment and confidence.
  • Foster Connection: We aim to cultivate meaningful connections among clients, helping them forge friendships and build a supportive network that extends beyond our adventures.
  • Promote Inclusivity: We commit to breaking down barriers and promoting inclusivity in all aspects of life, advocating for a world where diversity is recognized and respected.
  • Embrace Strengths: Our program recognizes and harnesses the unique strengths of each individual, fostering a sense of pride and empowerment in their abilities.

Why Choose Eclipse?

  • Tailored Support: We understand the unique needs of adolescents with neurodiversity and provide personalized support to help them thrive.
  • Expert Guidance: Eclipse by Elements is led by top clinicians with expertise in neurodiversity, ensuring the highest level of care and support.
  • Holistic Well-Being: Our program prioritizes the holistic well-being of participants, addressing physical, emotional, and social needs.
  • Staff Consistency: Unlike other treatment programs, our frontline staff work with clients for 8 days straight. This benefits Eclipse clients in a number of ways: they are able to develop strong relationships with staff who are living alongside them, staff are able to give consistent in-the-moment coaching to clients, and it contributes to the feeling of structure and predictability which is foundational to the success of the Eclipse program.

Treatment Modalities:

Outdoor Living

  • Mobile Base Camp: Generally speaking, the group arrives at basecamp on Monday evening and heads out on expedition Thursday morning. The basecamp is set up and broken down weekly, so it is in a different place each week depending on where the group travels on expedition that week. While in basecamp, clients have access to an activity tent, and hot shower. The Activity Tent is used for playing games, relaxing, socializing, participating in group therapy, and winding down at night before bed. The time spent at basecamp is a time and place to rest, reflect and restore.
  • Expedition: While on expedition, the group will hike with backpacks to their next campsite some days as well as participate in adventure activities. 
  • Nutrition & Cooking in the Outdoors: Eclipse provides a diverse and healthy array of foods for clients to prepare individually as well as a group. We are accustomed and happy to work with food sensitivities, and we strive to create a stress free environment around food for all clients.
  • Consistency and Structure: We understand that living outdoors for weeks at a time is a new and potentially stressful experience for many of our clients. The Eclipse program is structured so that days and activities are predictable because we understand that when things are predictable they’re less stressful.

Adventure

At Elements Eclipse, our adventure activities are offered every week as a two day experience. Our adventure activities (rock climbing, rappelling, mountain biking, stand up paddleboarding, and more) are tailored to all skill levels and no prior experience is necessary. The first day is focused on learning the new skill, becoming familiar with the equipment, setting up gear, and feeling prepared for the next day. The second day is spent actually doing the activity.

We utilize the “Choose Your Challenge” model where every client gets to choose what their challenge will be. Sometimes that is just putting on the equipment, sometimes that is sitting on the paddleboard in shallow water, sometimes that is climbing up to the top of the rock wall. For every client it looks different. We help clients set individual goals in regards to their challenge each week.

The Family Element

At Elements we use every opportunity available to us to incorporate the entire family system wherever possible. As such, each family will have a host of opportunities to engage with their son in the program, be it via therapeutically driven letters and phone calls, embedded in the group for one or more overnight visits, or immersed in a 3-day Family Focus. Most of our parents engage in all aspects of family communication and visits, including bringing siblings or other close family members out for the Family Focus.

Skill Development & Personal Growth 

After treatment at Eclipse, clients will see improvement in the following areas:

  • Self-Acceptance: Foundationally, we work hard to help individuals truly accept themselves through a better understanding of their unique set of talents and challenges.
  • Emotional Regulation: Strengthening the ‘mind-body connection’ to better control emotional states, to manage thinking and behavior effectively. 
  • Social Learning: Engagement in healthy relationships through adventure and daily challenges. Your child will learn to navigate, cooperate, and expand their social world.
  • Executive Functioning: Gather an arsenal of skills to help cope more effectively with the demands in their social, family and academic environments. Confront fears and embrace an “I can and I will” attitude.
  • Family Cohesion: Cohesive family support anchored in empathy and attunement. Develop appropriate expectations by understanding your unique child’s experience holistically.

Academic Credits

As 13-17 year olds, our clients are without exception all students too. Their education is incredibly important, and for many families, the changes in their child’s grades served as a real warning to deeper underlying concerns that led them to seek help in the first place. 

Although our primary goals are emotional, psychological, and interpersonal education, traditional education is always important.

Our objective is to get all our clients back into real life feeling empowered to take on the next challenges, not feeling hopeless and behind. The reality is that most of our clients learn more and work harder in their short time with us than they have in the years leading up to their arrival at Elements. That is why we partnered with Dorius Academy (Accredited through North Central Accreditation) to help our clients gain academic credit for the work they are already doing here.  We offer up to 3.5 credits for clients who complete the Elements outdoor therapy program.

FAQ

Does your program have special training that qualifies you to work with Neurodiversity?

Why is an outdoor program a good place to work with neurodiversity?

Why can’t clients bring their own gear and equipment from home?

Do you use deprivation of food/water to “punish” clients?

Does your program philosophy or approach ever ascribe to or attempt to “break clients down”?

Do you ever force clients to hike?

Do you have any external oversight into your practices?

Does Elements force or encourage families to have their children transported to treatment?

Where do other clients typically come from?

How does communication work between clients and their families at Elements?

How much involvement is required by the family?

Is Elements a “boot camp”?

Is outdoor therapy safe?

Is my child going to be outside all the time?

Does your program have special training that qualifies you to work with neurodivergent clients?

Why is an outdoor program a good place to work with neurodivergent clients?

Is my child going to be outdoors all the time?

Experience Eclipse

Join us at Eclipse by Elements and embark on a transformative journey towards social and emotional growth. To learn more about our program or to inquire about enrollment, please contact us today. We look forward to guiding you on your path to empowerment and discovery.

Copyright © 2024 Elements

Site by Kind Creative