Contact us Monday through Friday 8:00am CST to 4:00pm CST at 715-327-4402
Northwest Passage engages programming specific to the needs of our clients. Although our clients are often referred because of behaviors that have been concerning to those who love them and problematic in their lives overall, most often it is their emotions that lie at the root of their difficulties. Often, our clients are those who have experienced extreme emotions and who often attempt to avoid distress by engaging in harmful behaviors (drug use, elopements, promiscuity, self harm, etc.). Therefore, we have integrated Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, or DBT, into our programming. This type of therapy differs from other methods because it focuses on emotions rather than thoughts.  DBT teaches people to look at areas of conflict in their lives and resolve them differently than they typically have in the past. Ultimately, this will help them discontinue those harmful behaviors. DBT focuses on the here and now, rather than what may have occurred in the past and includes instruction in areas such as: Emotional regulation -learning to change emotions and promote stable emotions Distress tolerance -learning how to put up with emotions that hurt but can’t be changed Interpersonal skills -learning how to appropriately interact with people to successfully get what you want Mindfulness skills -learning to be in the moment rather than always in your thoughts Meaning-making skills -identifying what is really important to you so that your behavior and plans are always tied to your values DBT typically includes one individual therapy session and one group therapy session per week. Both sessions focus on instruction of the necessary skills. Clients are also asked to complete homework assignments between sessions to help them maintain focus on the skills they are learning.

Our treatment team is as sophisticated as they come, yet they never lose sight of the people they seek to help. These professionals are highly skilled, but along with providing detailed clinical analysis and individually designed programming, they also always provide practical interventions and directly useful goals that help our clients and their families make the constructive daily choices that lead them down the path to a stronger and healthier life.

Northwest Passage has pioneered a treatment approach based on highly skilled multidisciplinary assessment that aids all treatment team members in targeting goals and interventions to meet the direct needs of each client. Our professional team is completely committed to our clients and to providing a seamless web of professional support. They work full time on our staff so that our clients receive consistent treatment and immediate care.


Northwest Passage incorporates service-learning programming to assist clients with productive and rewarding community involvement with the aim of broadening the relationship-skill-building to include communities. We partner with organizations in surrounding communities to engage our clients in rewarding service-learning projects.


Attachment, Regulation, and Competency, or ARC ( is a framework specifically designed to work with youth who have experienced complex trauma. The core targets below will benefit any child whose nervous system has been overwhelmed by the environment. ARC focuses on building safe caregiver systems, supporting youth regulation, and supporting the building of resilience over time. There are 8 core targets of the intervention:

  • Caregiver Affect Management: Support adult caregivers in understanding and managing their own responses to youth in their care.
  • Attunement: Build caregiver capacity to effectively understand and respond to the needs driving youth behaviors.
  • Consistent Response: Support effective responses to youth behavior that are trauma-informed (supported by neuropsychological understanding!) and that increase, rather than decrease safety.
  • Increase Self-Awareness: Build child/adolescent understanding of emotional and physiological experience, including a language for experience and an ability to connect and contextualize emotional cues.
  • Increase Modulation Skills: Build child/adolescent ability to effectively manage and tolerate their emotional and physiological experience.
  • Support Child Relational Engagement: Build child/adolescent ability to effectively share their internal experience with others and sustain relational connections.
  • Executive Functions: Support children/adolescents in recognizing choice points, managing impulsive behaviors, and actively making choices.
  • Self and Identity: Support development of developmentally appropriate understanding of self, including unique characteristics and influences.
  • Trauma Experience Integration: Support youth in reflecting upon, processing, and developing a narrative of traumatic experience, and integrating this into a coherent and comprehensive understanding of self (work done in individual therapy at Northwest Passage or this is what the work at Northwest Passage is preparing youth to do once they are discharged and working with caregivers on treatment goals in the community).


The ARC model is adaptable to be utilized in our residential treatment milieu as well as familial homes. The following are the core components that are essential to the model that we utilize and teach to family systems as part of the family’s involvement in treatment.

  • Emphasis on the building of and attunement to the child, family, and care provider engagement and stake in the treatment
  • Integration of psychoeducation at ALL levels of the work (child, caregivers, providers, system)
  • Integration of and attention to the use of routine and rhythm in interventions and structure
  • Attention to the caregiver’s emotional experience
  • Engaging and building a curious, attuned stance among adult caregivers
  • Approaches to addressing youth behavior that integrate an understanding of the drivers of behavior and a trauma-sensitive (neuropsychological informed) individualized behavioral approach
  • Active, proactive attention to supporting youth regulation through the development of systematic regulation supports and routine engagement of modulation strategies (Regulation that happens with kids alongside their caregivers)
  • A focus on the development of youth strengths and building their competency in the areas of regulation and resilience
  • Attention to the issues of youth and family agency, control, and empowerment



The PassageWay is an approach to wellness that borrows from the wisdom of the past and combines it with current research about the importance of living a full and mindful lifestyle. Northwest Passage has learned throughout the history of its interventions with youth that people heal through a variety of channels. In Northwest Passage’s 40+ years of development, we have learned that real, sustainable change occurs when our residents connect with their community, explore their identity, develop their passions, appreciate time in nature, attend to their relationships, discover effective recreation opportunities, learn healthy nutritional habits, and move their bodies. While one young man may find solace in fishing, another might yearn for the order therapeutic skills group brings to his life. A young woman might develop meaning through service to her elders, while another throws herself into building her strength and stamina through physical activity. The PassageWay proposes that the journey to building a healthy lifestyle includes the building of skill and insight through therapy intervention, the judicious use of psychotropic medication, and the consistent awareness of the use of eight therapeutic lifestyle choices:



Northwest Passage is dedicated to empowering youth through creativity. We use music, art, writing, and photography to enhance the development and creative expression of the youth that we serve.

In A New Light is a powerful therapeutic nature photography program at Northwest Passage. This program emphasizes skilled expressive arts training and nature immersion, ultimately empowering youth who are struggling with mental health issues to find beauty in the world that surrounds them, and in themselves.



Northwest Passage utilizes the EAGALA method of equine-assisted therapy. Our clinical director, Angela Frederickson, works with all Northwest Passage residential programs.

See our EAGALA Program in action


Few can argue the relationship between self-esteem and an active, healthy lifestyle. Key components of Northwest Passage’s programs are physical training and activities designed to promote healthy living while also providing our residents with an opportunity to experience a healthy outlet for their energies. We weave physical training, weight lifting, and outdoor adventure skills training into the programming. These activities not only provide opportunities for our clients to engage in a more active lifestyle, but they also provide very natural opportunities for pro-social interactions and the development of team-building skills.

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