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Adolescent mental health is a significant societal concern in the United States. Diagnosable mental health disorders have been reported at rates of 10–20 % among children and adolescents and this does not include adolescents experiencing personal and interpersonal distress not meeting diagnostic criteria. Adolescents who do not respond to traditional mental health services are often placed in residential treatment centers or other out-of-home treatment programs. Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare (OBH) is growing as a viable treatment option for adolescents who struggle with emotional, behavioral or substance related problems; however, questions have been raised about how to integrate the family into an OBH treatment setting. This article describes a case study illustrating how techniques from Narrative Family Therapy can be used to accomplish this integration, and offers a view of using Narrative Family Therapy to further involve families in the treatment and post-treatment process in an OBH program.


Originally published in Contemporary Family Therapy. 2016. Volume 38. Issue 1. Pages 3-13.