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The Journey Home

Mountain Valley’s Three Phases of Treatment

The Mountain Valley program is structured by our narrative treatment framework entitled, “The Journey Home.” This narrative framework, born from a clinical approach known as “narrative reasoning,” harnesses the therapeutic power of storytelling and uses the arc of the story to create a clear beginning, middle, and end to treatment. These three distinct phases – or chapters – of treatment are used to help residents, their families, and our team structure the treatment process and make meaning out of the events that unfold during one’s therapeutic journey.

While each resident’s story is unique, the program identifies common themes and a shared narrative reflective of Joseph Campbell’s renowned “Hero’s Journey” framework and the principles of Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) therapy. Both frameworks emphasize the individual’s journey into the unknown, facing innermost fears, and emerging transformed with newfound wisdom and strength. Inspired by these parallels, Mountain Valley has designed a three-phased treatment model aimed at guiding residents through the process of confronting and conquering their fears to rediscover their true selves.

The Departure phase (Days 1–30*) marks the beginning of the resident’s journey. During this phase, residents respond to the initial call for change, leaving behind familiar patterns and embracing the transition into treatment. Emotions vary widely as residents settle into the program, establishing connections with mentors, reflecting on personal motivations, and setting goals. Despite initial enthusiasm, many residents encounter internal resistance, making it challenging to fully engage in the therapeutic process. Thus, the phase focuses on building a foundation for deeper work, adjusting to the program’s structure, and identifying areas for growth. The phase concludes with a ceremonial Initiation Fire, symbolizing the resident’s official entry into the program.

The Adventure phase (Days 30–60*) represents the heart of the resident’s journey. Here, residents confront their fears head-on, engaging in exposure exercises designed to challenge and expand their comfort zones. Each challenge serves as a stepping stone, fostering personal growth and resilience. Through this process, residents gain valuable insights into themselves and their capabilities, culminating in a significant ordeal that serves as a pivotal moment in their treatment narrative. By conquering their innermost fears, residents emerge transformed, equipped with newfound knowledge and confidence. The phase concludes with a symbolic ice bath ceremony, symbolizing the resident’s courage and commitment to living an exposure-based lifestyle.

The Coming Home phase (Days 60–90*) is where residents integrate their learnings into everyday life and prepare for the transition beyond the program. This phase focuses on solidifying changes, fostering independence, and embodying the transformed self. Residents take on leadership roles within the community, serving as mentors to others and sharing their wisdom. The goal is to ensure that the changes achieved during treatment endure long after the resident’s transition out of the program. Through reflective exercises and preparation for the next steps, residents redefine their identities and create action plans for embodying their desired selves. The phase concludes with a ceremonial graduation, celebrating the resident’s achievements and marking the completion of their journey.

*Our phases are designed to take place over the course of thirty to thirty-five days, for a typical program length of approximately 90 days. However, each journey is unique and, although the phases remain the same, the time to complete each phase will be adjusted to the individual as they face the obstacles that come their way and complete their own “Journey Home.”

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