New Dominion, located on 550 wooded acres 60 miles west of Richmond, Virginia, has two separate year-round outdoor therapeutic programs, one serving boys and one serving girls. This program offers a unique combination of group therapy and treatment techniques along with experiential adventure-based outdoor services and activities.
The programs are designed to help adolescents who are experiencing learning, emotional, and/or behavioral difficulties in the more traditional academic settings and at home. Both of our programs are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), the Virginia Association of Independent Specialized Education Facilities (VAISEF), the Association for Experiential Education (AEE), and the National Association of Therapeutic Wilderness Camps (NATWC).
Our philosophy centers around using the Positive Peer group model and the group process problem solving model to help our students take positive control of their lives, realize their self-worth, and develop the self confidence and motivation to succeed both socially and academically.
The group process problem-solving model utilizes techniques from Cognitive-Behavioral, Reality, and Gestalt therapies. Student’s problems in relating to others are dealt with as they occur in group meetings, where students can process their behavior and learn appropriate alternative solutions. Students may also participate in addiction recovery, abuse recovery, and family life groups while at the school.
Prior to entering the formal academic program, students begin experiential life skills training by participating in the daily routine of maintaining and improving their group’s campsite and through other outdoor programming.
After about two months, students begin taking formal academic classes. They begin with just one school hour, and are required to earn the remaining five, one every four weeks, by demonstrating an honest commitment to their educational growth. This approach establishes school as a privilege and has been very successful in motivating and empowering students to take appropriate responsibility for themselves and their education.