Dr. Maddy Liebing: Pioneering Compassionate Wilderness Therapy and Advocating for Mental Health on “Stories From the Field” Podcast

In the world of wilderness therapy, one name shines brightly as a beacon of compassion, safety, and integrity: Dr. Maddy Liebing, the Clinical Director at Legacy Treatment Center and founder at Juniper Canyon Recovery Center. With over four decades of experience in advocating for compassionate and effective care, Dr. Liebing has been a stalwart figure on the front lines, working tirelessly to raise the bar and ensure quality programs within the field.

Dr. Liebing’s commitment to advocating for safe and effective care is evident in her work with state and regulating bodies, where she has worked tirelessly over the years to ensure accountability. Despite the challenges and skepticism faced by wilderness therapy, Dr. Liebing has continued to champion the field, emphasizing that when done right, wilderness therapy is a powerful tool for healing and personal growth.

“Vivid memories of profound personal encounters with nature resonate with me personally and with anyone who has experienced nature as a healing entity. Wilderness therapy embodies a beautiful and dynamic process: guiding clients into the outdoors to begin the natural healing from life’s challenges and tragedies, allowing them to bask in the profound energy of the natural world. The undeniable merit of this approach surpasses traditional therapy settings, offering remarkably superior outcomes. This is what I have witnessed in my personal life, with my family, and in my professional journey.” – Dr. Maddy Liebing

In a recent episode of the “Stories From the Field” podcast, Dr. Liebing sat down with Will to discuss the innovative blended program for adults at Legacy Treatment Center (Legacy Outdoor Adventures) and Juniper Canyon Recovery Center. This unique program combines intensive clinical therapy with experiential outdoor adventures, creating a nurturing environment for clients to address trauma, substance abuse, mental health issues, and family dynamics.

Dr. Liebing candidly addressed the controversies surrounding wilderness therapy, particularly for adolescents. She highlighted the importance of rigorous safety protocols and therapeutic benefits in well-run programs, countering the negative stereotypes that have plagued the field.

Through personal anecdotes and client stories, Dr. Liebing showcased the profound transformations that can occur when individuals are given the opportunity to heal in the wilderness. By removing clients from their usual environments and immersing them in nature, Dr. Liebing emphasized the amazing therapeutic benefits of outdoor-based interventions.

Despite the challenges faced by the wilderness therapy field, including program closures and public perception issues, Dr. Liebing remains a steadfast advocate for the expansion of outdoor-based therapeutic models. Her insights not only shed light on the innovative work being done at Legacy Outdoor Adventures and Juniper Recovery Center but also underscore the vital role that nature plays in recovery and personal growth.

In a world where skepticism and misinformation abound, Dr. Maddy Liebing stands as a true pioneer in the field of wilderness therapy, advocating for compassionate, safe, and effective care that empowers individuals to heal and thrive in the great outdoors.

“In the face of abusive programs, I stood united with fellow compassionate leaders to expose exploitative practices and improve safety standards in wilderness therapy. Our efforts to hold programs accountable have been effective. Accredited programs by the Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare (OBH) are both safe and effective. In fact, students in OBH programs are statistically safer in accredited wilderness therapy than playing tennis or even at home. These critical facts should be central to the discussion. Witnessing the criticism we now endure due to a minority of exploitative programs is disheartening. This backlash not only jeopardizes vital therapeutic options for youth but also undermines the life-changing impact these programs can offer. Amidst the growing need for wilderness therapy, it is crucial to recognize and uphold its significance as a treatment option.” – Dr. Maddy Liebing

Legacy Treatment Centers, where Dr. Liebing plays a pivotal role, caters to both adult men and women, providing meaningful and safe adventures combined with licensed residential treatment. This pioneering treatment approach has demonstrated remarkable effectiveness, distinguishing Legacy as a leader in the field. Through a blend of adventure and therapy, clients experience personal growth and healing in an environment that is both challenging and supportive. This innovative model underlines the center’s commitment to offering holistic and impactful care, truly setting a new standard for therapeutic excellence in compassionate mental health care.

If you or a loved one is in need of treatment, please contact us at: (866)-436-4458 or admissions@legacyoutdooradventures.com

Dr. Madolyn Liebing Clinical Director Ph.D. Psychologist, LMFT
Dr. Madolyn Liebing
Clinical Director
Ph.D. Psychologist, LMFT