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Established 2004

What Sets PQ Apart: Defining Features

Pacific Quest is a wilderness therapy camp that challenges the status quo in outdoor behavioral health by utilizing a neurodevelopmental approach to treatment. This approach, combined with horticultural therapy, integrates evidence-based therapeutic methods, whole-person wellness and organic gardening to sustain a healthy community and motivate change. Students engage in activities which research has shown, increase emotional health and well-being. Through this client-centered treatment model, PQ continues to pioneer a cutting-edge approach to outdoor therapy, providing multiple opportunities to address brain development and enhance social, cognitive, and physiological functioning necessary for Sustainable Growth™.

  • PQ’s innovative Sustainable Growth™ model incorporates individualized clinical care, whole-person wellness, rites of passage, horticultural therapy and healthy community living in an outdoor, experiential environment.
  • PQ’s clinical director is a board-certified pediatric neuropsychologist who is advancing the program’s neurodevelopmentally informed approach to healing. Therapists use sensory-based methods to activate and develop neural pathways and “whole brain” healing.
  • PQ has a full clinical team of highly experienced master’s-level, licensed, and doctoral-level clinicians. These clinical professionals bring expertise in a variety of therapeutic modalities including behavioral therapies, addictions, family systems, neuroscience, traumatology, mind-body, and expressive therapy methods.
  • PQ’s unique model allows for each adolescent/young adult to receive not one but two individual therapy sessions each week with his or her primary therapist.
  • PQ’s clinical team works together to deliver highly specialized treatment. Each adolescent/young adult is assigned a primary therapist, matched to his/her specific needs. The primary therapist facilitates treatment, communication and individual therapy sessions. Additionally, all students benefit from a highly collaborative, clinical environment where therapists meet weekly to staff cases, share clinical knowledge and develop effective interventions.
  • At PQ, each adolescent/young adult is engaged in multiple therapist-facilitated group therapy sessions each week.
  • PQ offers a full menu of on-site psychological testing services, including neuropsychological evaluations.
  • PQ offers an additional track of service for parents who need more intensive therapeutic support to delve into complex family issues. Families who choose to participate in this additional family therapy track have one-hour phone sessions each week as well
    as necessary support calls and connections throughout the week with an experienced, licensed therapist to help address specific goals within the family system. Family therapists communicate with the child’s PQ therapist and home professionals to ensure continuity of care.
  • Parents may participate with their adolescent or young adult student in a 2-day (on-site) PQ Family Workshop, where therapeutic goals and objectives are tailored to meet the specific needs of each family.
  • PQ hosts a series of alumni events on the mainland designed to foster connection and to support continued growth. PQ therapists attend alumni events, reuniting with families and students in various cities around the country.
  • Pacific Quest is pleased to report that we have diligently maintained “GOLD Status” in our efforts to gather student outcome data, and contribute to a much larger national study on the efficacy of outdoor behavioral health programs. Thank you to the University of New Hampshire and the National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs for coordinating such an empirically rigorous study.

Start the Journey
  • To ensure appropriateness for PQ and to prepare an individualized treatment plan, PQ’s medical director, clinical director, program director and admissions director collaboratively review all potential candidates prior to admission.
  • PQ is the only outdoor therapy program with an on-site Medical Director, multiple Naturopathic Doctors (ND), two on-staff Psychiatrists who see adolescents and young adults. Additionally, this team is supported by two registered nurses.
  • PQ is the only outdoor-based therapy program with a truly integrated medical and wellness team working in tandem with the adolescent/young adult, the primary therapist, referring professionals (as applicable) and parents to address and manage the clinical and medical complexity of each adolescent/young adult.
  • PQ’s integrated psychiatric assessments are available to each student on an as-needed basis. If medication review is warranted, a collaborative team assessment approach is used to determine the best course of treatment. This team includes the primary therapist, psychiatrist, ND, parents and referring professionals.
  • Upon admission, PQ provides comprehensive, individualized wellness plans for each adolescent and young adult. Wellness plans are fully transferable to the next setting (aftercare or home) further supporting sustainability.
  • PQ’s naturopathic physicians provide a comprehensive nutritional assessment using laboratory analysis and nutraceutical-based therapies for each student as needed.
  • PQ is the only outdoor therapy program offering a primarily organic, anti-inflammatory, whole foods diet. Adolescents/young adults grow, care for, and harvest fruits and vegetables, engaging in true farm-to-table meal preparation. All animal sources of protein are organic and locally sourced. A wide variety of diets can be accommodated, including but not limited to: allergen-free, gluten-free/Celiac, dairy-free, vegetarian, vegan and/or kosher.
  • PQ is the only outdoor therapy program with full-time, awake night staff, 365 days per year.
  • At PQ, all adolescents and young adults sleep indoors in simple, yet modern bunkrooms.
  • PQ operates in a mild and temperate climate year-round in calm, lush and peaceful surroundings.
  • With an unwavering commitment to safety and quality program delivery, PQ maintains a low staff to student ratio.

Make a Change
  • PQ is not corporately owned. Owners/operators live near the program and work side by side with on-site staff.
  • PQ participants engage in true community service by harvesting vegetables/fruits for sale at local farmers markets and donating proceeds to local children’s charities.
  • All PQ students participate in land and service projects designed to protect Hawaii’s natural heritage. Young adults and adolescents learn to be stewards of their communities and to give of themselves to others.
  • Sustainable, practical life skills (vs. outdoor survival skills) are taught, practiced and mastered. These skills include but are not limited to: time management, goal setting, organization, planning, community living, exercise habits, meal planning, cooking, and self-care.
  • During a typical stay, PQ students who have not completed high school have the opportunity to take seven academic courses for a total of four (4) academic credits in a variety of subject areas. In addition, they may also earn community service hours.
  • PQ integrates individualized education plans (IEPs) and accommodations for students with learning differences, such as Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, Dysgraphia, Dyspraxia, Dysphasia and Aphasia, Nonverbal Learning Disorders, ADHD, Autism Spectrum, Asperger’s Syndrome, Pervasive Developmental Disorder and others.
  • All PQ program guides hold college degrees and/or a minimum of three years related therapeutic experience.
  • PQ’s professional Outreach and Admissions team is located in the mainland and is always accessible with offices on both the east and west coasts.
  • PQ is a member of The National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP), The Association for Experiential Education (AEE) and The American Horticultural Therapy Association (AHTA)and is accredited with AdvanceEd and the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement.
  • PQ was named the Big Island’s Top Small Business (2011) by Hawaii’s Small Business Administration. PQ was recognized for job creation, growth, innovation, staying power and outstanding contributions to the local community.
  • PQ has earned Woodbury Report’s Excellence in Education Award for 10 consecutive years. Each year independent educational consultants, who specialize in referrals for adolescents and young adults with special needs, are surveyed for their recommendations. Recipients are selected on the basis of their excellent reputation and for producing positive and consistent results with at-risk youth and their families.
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Pacific Quest’s clinical model is published by the ChildTrauma Academy Press. The article, titled, Application of the Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics (NMT) in an Integrative Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Program for Adolescents and Young Adults provides a research-based overview of PQ’s clinical model with an emphasis on the neurodevelopmental applications of horticultural therapy. First, the article reviews the research behind PQ’s clinical model including its foundations in neuroscience, outdoor behavioral health, horticultural therapy and integrative health care. Next, the article provides an overview of the five components of the Clinical Model. The camp system and horticultural therapy activities are then discussed in the context of neurodevelopment and the four functional domains of NMT: Sensory Integration, Self-Regulation, Relational Functioning, and Cognitive Problem Solving. Finally, research on PQ’s model is presented. This article is an excellent, accessible resource for parents and professionals interested in learning about Pacific Quest’s clinical model and how it works. The article is published in Proceedings of the Second Annual Neurosequential Model Symposium available on Amazon.

Read the Article here