Utah & Nevada Wilderness Therapy

Leadership & Guide Training Course
(24 days)

Taking a break from the trail, students learn about decision making and group dynamics. -Eli Fierer

From experienced clinicians and instructors, students gain a comprehensive knowledge of therapeutic processes, technical outdoor skills and group management techniques for careers in wilderness therapy. On a series of backpacking expeditions, students learn to run team initiatives, direct wilderness interventions and facilitate positive individual growth.

They develop skills to mentor students, implement therapeutic plans of action based on assessments and strengthen support systems for struggling youth and adults. Participants also learn about common medications, de-escalation techniques used in Positive Control Systems® and the fundamentals of risk management. These include supervision techniques, runaway procedures and self-harm risk awareness. During the backpacking expeditions, participants learn to teach backcountry skills, facilitate conflict resolution and practice hands-on scenarios that focus on communication techniques. This course gives students a professional advantage in the field of wilderness therapy.

The Utah Desert is one of the more remote areas in the continental United States. Between Canyonlands National Park and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument there exists a landscape of red rock canyons, high mesas, lush river valleys and sandstone bluffs. This area offers varied terrain for exciting backpacking and is ideal for wilderness expeditions into the heart of canyon country.

THE INSTRUCTORS AND GUIDES OF IWLS are widely recognized as some of the very best in their field and have practical leadership experience from around the globe. They are well-trained and have an uncommon enthusiasm for sharing their skill and knowledge, borne out of a passion for outdoor exploration. We are specialist at taking young adults into the wilderness and facilitating experiential education.

The International Wilderness Leadership Schools’ educational model nurtures leadership development and creates a fun, learning environment for students to grow and excel as a group in the outdoors. Students develop leadership skills used to face challenges and solve problems in unique wilderness environments. The self-confidence and self-reliance garnered from these experiences last a lifetime.

THE IWLS GENERAL CURRICULUM outlines the essential components for effective outdoor leadership. Here are a few points that the course will focus on.

  • Environmental Ethics: As adventurers in some of the most pristine environments on the planet, it is our duty to respect the natural world. All of our courses practice and teach Leave No Trace® principles.
  • Basic Camping Skills: Mastering these essential skills will prove valuable whether you are pitching a tent in gale force winds or melting snow for drinking water.
  • Equipment/Clothing Selection and Use: You’ll learn to choose the right gear for the correct application, whether enjoying a sunny afternoon on a snow slope or trekking through a tropical rainforest.
  • Navigation: Learn how to take a bearing, read a topographical map, triangulate your position, or navigate in a whiteout.
  • Geology: From plate tectonics to granitic batholiths, you’ll learn the history of the land you are exploring and how these forces create and influence the environment around you.

EXPERIENCE LEVEL No previous experience is necessary for this course. However, with a desire to learn and an enthusiasm for adventure, you’ll develop the skills necessary for a lifetime of wilderness exploration.

CERTIFICATIONS Upon completion of the 24-day course, participants may qualify for the following certifications:

Basic PCS Program
Positive Control Systems®



24 Day Certificate of Completion
International Wilderness Leadership School


DATES & PRICES Please see our schedule for current dates and price information.