Star Guides Patient Outcome Data

 STAR Guides Treatment Centers students show statistically significant progress from when they begin treatment to when they graduate from the program and beyond.  For this instrument (a lower score equals less mental health distress), a clinically significant drop is 13 points.

Our research results show that parents perceive their son or daughter at an average score of 98 when they arrive and an average score of 24 when they graduate, then it climbs into the low 50s and maintains that score throughout the year. 

These outcomes communicate several different items: 

  • The first is that STAR Guides Treatment Centers students drop an average of 74 points between day 1 and their graduation from the program.  

  • The second would be that there tends to be a regression that occurs with transition and step-down to less controlled settings that results in the scores climbing into the low 50s. 

 This is a phenomenon that the YOQ data from all treatment programs/settings concludes and is not limited to STAR Guides Treatment Centers. These findings emphasize the importance of providing youth with continued structure and therapeutic support in order to ensure that any backsliding behaviors be contained.


STG Graph LG V3-01.jpg


Student & Family Exit Evaluation Findings 2013 – 2023

This data is a compilation of 10 years (2013-2023) and more than 600 students and families experiencing STAR Guides Treatment Centers and providing feedback upon discharge using a Seven-Point Likert Scale. (For example 7 represents “strongly agree” where 1 represents “strongly disagree”).

Wilderness Therapy, like any form of therapy, isn’t meant to be easy. Our families approach us because they don’t have solutions for behavioral conflicts within their families. STAR Guides Treatment Centers challenge our students and parents to step outside of their comfort zone in order to facilitate change. We do this safely and effectively. 

Despite the difficulty of the program itself—or perhaps, because of—most of our clients exit our program with a sense of accomplishment and appreciation. The data and comments presented in these findings demonstrate the overwhelming satisfaction of our clients with their experience at STAR Guides Treatment Centers.

Student Responses:

My therapist was knowledgeable, skilled and helpful. 97% Strongly Agree

My therapist understood my issues and helped me work through problems. 97% Strongly Agree

I feel like I am leaving the program a changed person. 96% Strongly Agree

My relationship with my parents and family has improved during my time in the program. 89% Strongly Agree

Parent Responses:

We were provided regular updates about our child’s progress and kept in the loop regarding his experience. 98% Strongly Agree

We felt heard, understood and respected by our therapist. 98% Strongly Agree

We were treated with respect, dignity and kindness by program personnel. 99% Strongly Agree

Our therapist was knowledgeable, skilled and helpful. 99% Strongly Agree

Our therapist understood our child’s issues and helped him/her work through problems. 98% Strongly Agree

Our child found the program curriculum to be helpful for his/her problems. 91% Strongly Agree

Samples from the question “Summarize your experience in one sentence”: 


“This place saved my life, thank you.”

“Extremely helpful and life changing.”

“Freaking amazing.”

“It was hard but worth it”.

“Life Changing.”

“The greatest life changing thing I have gone through.”

“The hardest yet the greatest experience of my life.”

“A challenging and rigorous, but life altering experience, that provided me with the life skills everybody would benefit from, but most people never gain.”

“I am blessed that I went to Star Guides to learn tools to be a better person.”

“I can hardly believe that this year will mark 7 years from my Star Guides graduation. It took me a long time to truly see all of the benefits of my experience there. I held resentment towards my parents especially. Today, I can say that Star Guides is one of the best things that has ever happened to me. Without your program, I wouldn’t have been able to get away from a toxic relationship and toxic behaviors. Thanks to my parents’ brave decision to send me across the country, I was able to find true happiness with an awesome husband, and a pretty comfortable life. I have a fireproof safe in my home, and in it are all the normal passports, SS card, birth certificates… and of course, my leather glove, peanut
butter lid, earth name letter, and skill book from starguides. I actually got a tattoo following graduation of
my earth name. I look back at my time at starguides with great gratitude for my parents and for the staff

“Star Guides changed my life. When I first got into the field over three and a half years ago, I was
absolutely bogus. I was lying all the time and I wasn’t happy. I was turning to the wrong things and people to try to heal my broken soul. Star Guides made me break down bit by bit in the best ways possible. I needed to be built back up and I found that through help from the staff, Dove Song, my scripture study,
my addiction recovery study, and writing letters to my parents. I was able to start healing broken
relationships because I was healing. I learned so many tools that helped me recover. If I ever feel shaky, I
turn back to those tools I was taught while attending Star Guides. I would honestly not be where I am, or
who I am today without my experience there.”

“It’s truly incredible just how much Star Guides changed my life for the better! When I first entered the
program, I was definitely skeptical of its ability to help me. As I’m sure many other students experienced.
Initially, it’s frightening. So frightening that some students, like me, will plead with their parents to pull them.The reason why I found it so terrifying was that I knew I was going to be forced to address my deepest and darkest thoughts. There was no way to run from them. In my previous program, there were so many distractions and luxuries to keep me away from my therapy. However, at Star Guides, there was no way to avoid your demons. The environment, curriculum, staff, and students all found ways to make my
experience there a constant battle and learning experience. However, the wilderness aspect was easily
the most influential to me. Living in the wilderness made me extremely uncomfortable and vulnerable,
which allowed me and others to address my dysfunctions in very effective ways. Eventually, the fear and discomfort went away. What took its place you may ask? Love and appreciation for the wilderness did! The moment I created fire was when everything changed for me! I felt an incredible level of confidence to burn my demons to their core! To live above them and pursue a fulfilling life as the universe intended!”

“I want to come back & teach what I’ve learned from Star Guides & how it saved my life….. I believe this
program has something good for everyone.”

“I have been thinking about that in a few years that I would like to possibly go out there and work as a
staff. I think that it would be a lot of fun.”

“Talk about an amazing program that changed my life completely. I am who I am thanks to Star Guides. It matured me so much and in so many ways. Star guides have helped me in every aspect of my life in a good way. I’m so glad I was put in the group I was in. Star Guides has put so much into me so I want to
give back…… Star Guides hasn’t just changed the fact that the things I’ve done, I’ll never ever do again but to also say “no” to things when they come up. I see how things can lead to another and how to better avoid them. Before the program, I was a very adaptive person and was living 2 lives. I perfected being in the shadows but now thanks to being guided by the right people I am one person and I’m proud of myself and who I’ve become.”

“I was there for 6 months, at first I didn’t like it. I had hatred for everyone and everything around me but that all changed. I don’t remember how long it took me to finally accept my fate but when I did I started to love the things
the people around me. I think about this program almost every day since I’ve left, it will always be a huge
part of my life.”

“I’ve honestly missed Utah the whole time I’ve been home. I definitely brought more than a few cool rocks, my bow-drill set, and a lot of dirt home. It’s got a special place in my heart. Those people and those
places had such a huge impact on my life, and really even though graduating didn’t make me an angel, it set me on the course to recovery, and one that I keep coming back to, sometimes begrudgingly, time and
time again.”

“I deeply feel the need to go back to Star Guides; to give back. My life would be over, for all it is worth
without Star Guides. I have a deep love for the people and the wild. I believe in the program and want to
help inspire others to work the program through my example. I did not want to change, and I hated being there. I felt lost and hopeless, but through the care of others there and the power of the wilderness, my
heart changed. Maybe it was worth it. Maybe I was worth it. I want to be able to let other lost youth know
that they are worth it. That it is worth putting in the pain to change. I want to be a part of repairing other’s lives like mine was repaired.”

“Since attending star guides my goal was to become a staff.”

“I wholeheartedly believe that Star Guides changed the course of my life and I’m eternally grateful for the
skills I learned and the experiences I had. I feel immense gratitude and refer back to my time in Utah
everyday because I had so much to be thankful for and I took it for granted. I developed self-discipline
during my time at camp. It is essential in my everyday life. I went to Star Guides for my Internet addiction and with self-discipline, I no longer participate in the behaviors that caused me so much trouble (i.e. Staying up all night online, spending my parent’s money on games, isolating myself, avoiding my everyday duties). I know how to have a healthy relationship with my internet use.”

“My experience in Star Guides back in the Summer of 2017 meant the absolute world to me as it shaped
me into the person I am today, helped me deal with my original round of depression, and my crippling addiction at the time. The program helped me find who I was and the memories have stuck with me even 4 years later. I still talk about my experience in the program with anyone who will listen (Though I hide my reason for being in the program). It was very difficult for me to change in the program but no one gave up on me and I was very quick to give up on myself.”

“I would not be alive without star guides, it saved my life.”

“Star Guides saved my life, and I can’t even begin to imagine where I would be without it. I am so grateful
that I was blessed with the opportunity to change, and it was all for the better. Looking back I wouldn’t change a thing and I find myself wishing I could share my experiences with more people.”

“My time in Starguides was very beneficial for me, I had so many positive experiences and learned many valuable lessons that I have started applying into my life.”

“I owe my life and relationships with family and friends to star guides and the wonderful people who had a
hand in my recovery.”

“Going to star guides has inspired me as a person to get more into therapy not only for me but to be able to have the chance to help others.”

“When I was at Star Guides, I was fully immersed in the wilderness. While not everything I experienced
while I was out there was all sunshine and rainbows, I wouldn’t trade my memories and feelings from being out there, for anything.”


“Life saving!”

“Outstanding! Thank you for turning the light back on my son!

“I got my son back. Thank you.”

“A life changing experience for our whole family.”

“An intense program that seemed to really have a great impact on our son.” 

“Excellent program, great support and education for parents. Great help in supporting students in self discovery, self honesty. And learning new ways of being to chart a new course in life.”

“An experience that opens the gate and provides the environment, staff and support sufficient to help teens overcome huge obstacles and lay the foundation to build a better life.”

“Life changing. Life building”.

“Absolutely amazing!”

“Star Guides is a worthwhile and effective program that has allowed us to begin restoring our relationship with our son.”

“The Star Guides wilderness program was the last best hope for our son, and because of Star Guides our son now has a better hope for his future, and our family can now see him on a pathway that leads from the darkness into the light.”

“It was a life changing event for the whole family. While she is still a challenging teenager to raise, she is
doing so much better than she was. I no longer fear that she will hurt or kill herself. I don’t worry as much
about her behaving inappropriately or sexually for attention. She is much more pleasant to be around,
and I have hope for her future, where before treatment I was not sure how much longer she’d be alive.
She also reports that the program changed her life. That she would not be alive if it wasn’t for Starguides.
She says that even though it was the hardest thing she has ever done, it was the right decision to send
her. That she is much happier with herself.”

“I am filled with gratitude for all those who have helped and encouraged our daughter to make positive choices in her life. Your influence and examples have helped her realize her potential for good in this world. She now is considering StarGuides as work that she would like to do.”

“Apparently you guys made a HUGE impact on him. Life changing in fact. When he left us he wanted to
join the Air Force and get a degree in Aerospace Engineering. Now, he is dead set on becoming a certified therapist and specifically working with teens that are dealing with some of the same issues he
deals with.”

“This was the most positive experience of our daughter’s life, truly life-altering. We still hear lots of stories about her experiences with the staff and it is so fun to hear her light up when she tells them.”

“Star Guides was a transformative, life-changing experience for our son, and for us.”

“An amazing experience that has given our son a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to change for the better.”

“Incredibly well trained, caring and knowledgeable staff wrapped up in an impeccably organized program
that has changed our lives and brought my daughter back to me.”

“Star Guides was literally a lifesaver for our daughter and us as her parents.”

“Star Guides is the recovery oasis for parents to save their daughters and sons from a hopeless

“Star Guides has completely changed our son’s entire trajectory, countenance, and energy.”

“Star Guides saved our daughter’s life and changed ours forever.”

“I consider Starguides to be the only program that could save our child’s future.”

“It has completely changed the emotional well-being, maturity level, and attitude of our 16-year-old son for the absolute better!”

“Inspired. This was exactly what our son needed.”

“The staff and structure of the program make possible real positive changes that are difficult and unlikely in other settings.”

“I am very grateful for the opportunity my son had with the program and the foundation that was started for healthy healing and self-respect has been promising for his future.”

“Star Guides helped our family reconnect and gave our son the tools he needed to be a successful and
safe member of the community.”

“Star Guides is a life-saving experience, literally.”

“Star Guides has been an incredible blessing to our family and we are very pleased with the outcome of
our son’s experience.”

“Star guides put our son on a whole new path and gave him a bright future!”

“You saved my son’s life and you taught me how to continue to help him.”

“Star Guides is the single best experience of our son’s 18 years…and surely the reason he has many more years ahead to live. Thank you!”

“My son describes Star Guides as the hardest but best thing he’s ever done. He often mentions staff and
other kids with positive memories and funny stories. His experience at Star Guides put him back on track
to see a life worth living and that “he can do hard things”. His attitude and perseverance have improved

“You helped save our daughter!”

“THANK YOU. Thank you for returning our son to us. He honestly thinks of his time there with gratitude and sincere gratefulness. He would love to visit the staff. I honestly don’t know where we would be right now without his time at Star Guides.”

“We can see our daughter again in ways that we never thought were possible before. You very much
saved her life.”

“He has shared many stories about staff and the way they cared for him while he was at Starguides. We
are truly appreciative of the effort and the skills that were used to connect and to help him change. You
are making a difference! Thank you!!”

“He remembers his time at StarGuides with great nostalgia and expresses missing it sometimes. He says he has positive dreams about being back there. He misses particular staff members and talks about that.

He believes this experience helped him and started him on a good path.”

“I think Star Guides saved his life and gave him an experience he can always draw upon. It was probably
one of the hardest things he’s ever done, but I believe it showed him what he is capable of. Thank you.”

“His time at Star Guides was a turning point in his life. You all were able to bring him to the place of
deciding he wanted something better for himself than his life of control and addictive behavior. You set
him on a path that is still bearing fruit to this day.”

“I got my daughter back. She was so lost in a dark world she had created that was surely leading to a devastating end. She has blossomed into a beautiful young woman inside and out, full of promise for her

“The staff our daughter worked with at StarGuides had a huge and positive impact on her. You all were
exactly what she needed at a rough time in her life.”

“Our daughter’s time in the desert was transformative. Before Star Guides she was stuck in her own
head, and those spinning wheels led her astray. The desert grounded her tremendously. She makes
better decisions, and when she makes poor choices, she recognizes them more easily.”

“She has said the Wilderness program was the best thing I did for her out of all the treatment programs she went through.”

“I am very thankful for the staff and the love and care they showed for my child.”

“Star Guides saved my child’s life. It was the disruption of his developmental vacation that was
desperately needed. He is on a different path now.”

“Sending our son away tore me apart, but it was the best thing we could have done for him. He even got
a tattoo of the landscape there as a reminder of things he learned.”
“Last weekend she told us that Starguides saved her life.”

“We cannot be more grateful for everything Starguides did for us.”

“We continue to be grateful every day for the way God provided Star Guides to our family, the staff and
approach have been so effective in our son’s life.”

“She says that Star Guides saved her life and was the best thing that has ever happened to her!”

“We truly believe that Star Guides was the turning point in our daughter’s life. Had it not been for your program, we are not sure she would have lived through that tough period in her life. We are so very
grateful and thankful.”

“I would like to tell each of you that your work changed our family and has brought us back together. It is
truly important work and immensely appreciated by all of us.”

“Our daughter is a completely different person than who she was in your program…… She is thriving and about to graduate high school. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for saving our daughter and our family. Your program changed our lives.”


STAR Guides Wilderness Therapy | Outcomes

STAR Guides Treatment Centers are proud to be endorsed as a Research Designated Program by the National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs.

Our research consists of collecting data through the Y-OQ measure detailed below.  A baseline is established at enrollment by the youth and their parents.  While in treatment, a Y-OQ is completed every 14 days by the youth and their assigned therapist.  Parents, along with their child, then complete the questionnaire at graduation then 90, 180, 365 days post discharge.  

What does the Y-OQ measure? 

  • Intrapersonal Distress (ID) – Anxiety, depression, fearfulness, etc. 

  • Somatic Distress (S) – Headache, stomach, bowel, dizziness, etc. 

  • Interpersonal Relationships (IR) – Attitude, communication and interaction with parents, adults, and peers. 

  • Critical Items (CI) – Paranoid ideation, suicide, hallucinatory, delusions, etc. 

  • Social Problems (SP) – Delinquent or aggressive behaviors, breaking social mores. 

  • Behavioral Dysfunction (BD) – Organize and complete tasks, handle frustration, impulsivity, inattention.