Abusive Wilderness Therapy: A Violation Of Human Rights

Wilderness therapy programs claim to help troubled teenagers through immersion in nature, backpacking trips, and living simply in the woods. Some wilderness programs may seem innocent on the outside, but they violate fundamental human rights by exposing participants to stress and abuse. Certain wilderness programs go too far in their treatment of youth, engaging in practices such as the nighttime kidnapping of vulnerable adolescents, psychological and physical abuse veiled as “tough love,” and the deprivation of necessities like food, drink, and shelter. Victims and their families are left shattered and scarred by abusive wilderness programs, even though reputable mental health groups have spoken out against these methods. Holding residential treatment facilities accountable for protecting the rights of adolescents requires stringent regulation and supervision.

Wilderness therapy can take extreme forms that violate human dignity and liberty. The most egregious practices start with transporters forcibly abducting minors to take them to remote wilderness camps against their will. As seen in the Netflix documentary “Hell Camp,” transporters show up unannounced in the middle of the night, physically overpower teenagers, and remove them from their homes without parental consent (Frucci). The youth endure handcuffs, sedation drugs, and the terror of being kidnapped by strangers. This practice completely disregards Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights” (Hanna, Robert, n.p). Forcibly abducting teens destroys their liberty and dignity. Those sent to punitive wilderness camps have described the experience as being “kidnapped and tortured. The trauma of the violent ambush, sedation, and transport sets the stage for further human rights violations within certain wilderness therapy programs.

Once teens arrive at remote wilderness facilities, they face emotional, physical, and verbal abuse disguised as treatment. So-called “tough love” approaches employ tactics of bullying, humiliation, social isolation, and denial of basic physical comforts. Counselors have forced teens to wear degrading signs, perform pointless physical punishments like digging holes for hours, or endure group emotional attacks. Clinical psychologists condemn these unethical practices as likely to cause lasting psychological damage rather than rehabilitation (Ward, Tony et al.112). Depriving teens of shelter, warm clothing, medical care, and nourishing food goes beyond any reasonable treatment and constitutes a basic violation of human rights to the security of a person under Article 3 of the Universal Declaration. The Netflix documentary “Hell Camp” includes many first-hand accounts of abusive wilderness therapy. One teen described denying basic needs in winter conditions: “We were so hungry that we ate grass. They gave us rice and beans but not enough even though they had plenty” (Frucci). Limiting nutrition to the point of starvation while forcing youth to perform heavy outdoor labor demonstrates complete disregard for individual health and survival. When profits become prioritized over human rights, systemic reforms are urgently needed.

The most reputable medical experts on adolescent psychology have spoken out on the harms of overly punitive treatment programs. The American Psychological Association’s 2006 report condemned confrontational therapies as more damaging than beneficial to teens: “The coercion, confrontation, and emotional abuse in RTCs [residential treatment centers] can exacerbate both behavioral and affective disorders” (Maia et al.). Wilderness programs often employ staff with minimal counseling qualifications and advocate confrontation as the primary route to change. However, positive nurturing support is far more successful in fostering healthy development: “Parental acceptance promotes better mental health and social outcomes than parental rejection” (Maia et al.). Teens have enough struggles with identity and self-esteem without therapy, adding undue shame, deprivation, and humiliation tactics. True rehabilitation recognizes the intrinsic worth and dignity of each individual.

Human rights are violated not only within certain wilderness camps but also in the associated industry of educational consultants who recommend these programs to desperate parents. Educational consultants receive lavish kickbacks for placing teens in residential facilities regardless of their suitability or standing. This outrageous breach of ethics prioritizes private profit over the well-being of vulnerable youth. According to human rights group Breaking Code Silence: “Troubled teen industry programs have taken advantage of the lack of federal and state regulations to … abuse youth for profit” (BCS). The almost complete absence of oversight has allowed both consultants and residential programs to persist in human rights abuses without consequences. Strict governmental regulations and enforcement mechanisms are lacking. Parents trust so-called specialists in adolescent psychology to guide them to effective, ethical treatment options. Instead, the youth placement industry channels teenagers into facilities optimized for profit margins rather than positive outcomes. The incentivization of maximizing enrollment encourages coercive marketing tactics and the risk of abuse. Only through regulatory reforms will parents and youth gain protection against exploitation.

Current lax regulations open the door for human rights violations masked as therapy or treatment. Certain wilderness programs have become hotbeds of abuse due to their isolated nature and lack of accountability (Shaw, Ari 689). Without strict external controls, internal oversight proves inadequate, as the drive for profit edges out ethics. Teens suffer trauma, deprivation, coercion, and brutality—all while program directors expand lucrative business models. Strict licensing processes for residential adolescent programs must include value alignment components, such as checking for ethical codes of conduct related to universal human rights. Governments also need to bolster capacity for field inspections and anonymous reporting channels to help expose violations. Due to misleading advertising and consultant bribes, parents have difficulty vetting programs for trustworthiness. However, with new regulations, information on accreditation, complaints, and inspection records might be more transparent. Positive adolescent outcomes, not enrollment numbers, should be the focus of financial incentives throughout the youth placement pipeline. Every level of government is responsible for safeguarding the most vulnerable members of society. Reforms are necessary to safeguard human rights.

Public uproar and horrible kid outcomes have not stopped abusive wilderness treatment from continuing. Some programs infringe upon basic human rights by using techniques like forced abduction, denial of necessities, and humiliation (Gass, Michael, et al., n.p). Prominent mental health professionals have said that aggressive methods do more damage than good. The greatest way to stop the exploitation of teens, strengthen ethics, and redirect the dysfunctional adolescent industry toward good change rather than profit is with stringent rules and control. If wilderness therapy is to serve once again its intended purpose—restoration of positive rather than negative outcomes—it must adhere to human rights as its guiding principle. Recognizing each person’s inherent independence and dignity is the essence of true rehabilitation. Adolescents should get caring services that prioritize their fundamental needs. Humanitarian nurture, rather than treatment-justified transgression, is how healing occurs. I pray that we as a society will unite in demanding that human rights be the bedrock of any program that deals with at-risk youth.

Works Cited

BCS Testimony to Congress.” Breaking Code Silence, 2022 https://www.breakingcodesilence.org/

Frucci, Adam. Hell Camp. Netflix, 2022.

Gass, Michael A., Gil Hallows, and Keith C. Russell. Adventure therapy: Theory, research, and practice. Routledge, 2020.

Hanna, Robert. “A theory of human dignity.” Unpublished MS. Available online at https://www. Academia. Edu/44826196/A_Theory_of_Human_Dignity_Final_draft_version_January_2021 (2021).

Maia, Sivan Raviv et al. “In the Name of Treatment: Confronting the Coercive Core of Residential Treatment.” Perspectives on Psychological Science, vol. 17, no. 6, 2022, pp. 1437–1457,

Shaw, Ari. “From disgust to dignity: Criminalisation of same-sex conduct as a dignity taking and the human rights pathways to achieve dignity restoration.” African Human Rights Law Journal 18.2 (2018): 684-705.

Ward, Tony, et al. “Urgent issues and prospects in correctional rehabilitation practice and research.” Legal and Criminological Psychology 27.2 (2022): 103-128.

Acquisition Process Ethical Ramifications

The Department of Defense has a complex purchasing procedure for buying military supplies from contractors. This process must balance costs, schedule, and performance while ensuring integrity and ethics. Fairness, openness, and possible conflicts of interest are ethical considerations. This paper describes the Department of Defense purchasing process and its ethical implications.

Overview Of The Acquisition Process

The Department of Defense procurement process includes requirements identification, solution acquisition, and sustainment (Department of Defense, 2022). First, military services identify capability needs based on mission objectives. Senior leaders prioritize and confirm these requirements. Solutions are found following market research, RFPs, and contractor selection. The method maximizes open competition. Depending on scope and unpredictability, contracts are fixed-price or cost-reimbursement. Finally, contracts are managed and modified throughout sustainment to assure capability delivery throughout a program.

Department of Defense acquisition personnel must follow rules, procedures, and ethics throughout this process. Fundamental principles include integrity, fairness, accountability, and responsible stewardship of taxpayer funds (Department of Defense, 2022). There are also strict rules around conflicts of interest, improper business practices, handling of proprietary information, and post-government employment restrictions. Programs can span many years and involve billions of taxpayer dollars, underscoring the need for ethical considerations.

Ethical Ramifications

Despite policies and controls, there are inevitable ethical challenges and dilemmas. Fairness in competition is a cornerstone of federal acquisition, but Practical considerations can limit real competition (Bruneau, 2024). For example, some programs have technical complexity or integration needs that favor incumbents. The pool of capable contractors might be limited. There are also cases where national security interests justify sole source awards, which require high-level justification and approval. Acquisition professionals must balance desires for competition with practical limitations. Perceptions of unfair treatment could dissuade contractors from participating.

Transparency and oversight are crucial for the stewardship of taxpayer funds. However, excessive bureaucracy can impede efficiency and effectiveness (Bruneau, 2024). Acquisition professionals must navigate rules and regulations while ensuring programs meet critical military needs. There are judgment calls on how much documentation and oversight are necessary versus creating unnecessary burdens. The incentives can favor more paperwork rather than pragmatic solutions.

Finally, conflicts of interest pose ethical risks. Government acquisition personnel have opportunities to show favoritism, bias, or improper influence in contractor selection (Bruneau, 2024). Contractors try to curry favor through job offers, gifts, or other means. Strict standards exist, but perceptions of impropriety could undermine the system’s integrity. There are also revolving door concerns when acquisition officials retire and work for contractors they previously oversaw. Professionals have lifelong restrictions on which defense contractors they can work for after leaving government service.

Mitigating Ethical Risks

Strong policies, training, and leadership are required to mitigate ethical risks in acquisition. Beyond formal rules, professionals must internalize duty to their country and commitment to ethics. Leadership must consistently role model high standards (Kristensen & Korda, 2021). Open communication channels make it easier to raise ethical concerns. Partnering with industry to understand mutual interests also helps alignment. As technology advances and threats evolve, remaining grounded in ethics and values will help guide decisions.


The Department of Defense acquisition process is vital for equipping the military but is prone to ethical risks. Fairness, transparency, and preventing conflicts of interest are perennial challenges. No process can eliminate ethical dilemmas, but a culture of integrity, accountability, and stewardship is imperative. Acquisition professionals must uphold the highest standards befitting their immense responsibilities. With sound policies and committed people, the Department of Defense acquisition system can ethically deliver capabilities.


Bruneau, T. (2024). Outsourcing national defense impedes the US strategy of great power competition. Defense & Security Analysis, 1-20. https://doi.org/10.1080/14751798.2024.2285139

Department of Defense. (2022). Requirements for the Acquisition of Digital Capabilities Guidebook. Office of the Department of Defense Chief Information Officer. https://dodcio.defense.gov/Portals/0/Documents/Library/RequirementsfortheAcquisitionofDigitalCapabilitiesGuidebook.pdf

Kristensen, H. M., & Korda, M. (2021). United States nuclear weapons, 2021. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists77(1), 43-63. https://doi.org/10.1080/00963402.2020.1859865

Annotated Bibliography On The Effect Of Social Media On Young Girls’ Self-Esteem

Steinsbekk, Silje, et al. “The impact of social media use on appearance self-esteem from childhood to adolescence–A 3-wave community study.” Computers in Human Behavior 114 (2021): 106528. DOI:10.1016/j.chb.2020.106528

Steinsbekk et al.’s study (2021) gives essential information about how social media affects young people’s feelings about their looks, focusing on young girls. The study uses a long-term method, looking at the people involved in three rounds from childhood to teenage years. This time is crucial because it’s when you grow physically, emotionally, and with friends. During this period, one’s feelings about their appearance can quickly change due to what others say or do.

One important thing about this research is its look at how social media is a big deal in today’s society, especially for teenagers. Social media is everywhere in the lives of young people. So, studying this area is essential when thinking about what influences self-esteem. The question, “How do young girls’ feelings about themselves get changed by social media?” is fundamental since they need to look a certain way because of society’s rules. The research shows a connection between using social media and feeling good about your looks. This means that spending more time on social media platforms can make young people value their appearance in different ways than before, including girls around the same age as them. This relationship is explained through several mechanisms:

Exposure to Idealized Images: There are lots of pictures and ideas about perfect beauty on social media sites. In their early years, young girls are fragile in these pictures. They can make fake goals for how they should look physically.

Social Comparison: The research shows how social comparison matters, where people compare their looks with those on social media. This can make young girls feel they need to be better or fail to reach these goals.

Feedback Seeking and Validation: The study also discusses how social media is used to get approval through likes, comments, and shares. Getting approval from others on social media can boost your self-worth, but it could be more robust and depends on how folks respond to you online.

Cyberbullying and Negative Interactions: The study also discussed how online bullying might happen. This can hurt your self-esteem in a wrong way.

In the end, Steinsbekk’s study from 2021 helps us see how social media can change young girls’ appearance and self-esteem in complex ways. It shows that social media use needs careful thinking. It also stresses the value of building healthy and accurate beliefs about self-worth and beauty ideals among teenagers. This study is a starting point for more studies and actions to reduce the harmful effects of social media on young girls’ self-esteem.

Fox, Jesse, et al. “Effects of taking selfies on women’s self-objectification, mood, self-esteem, and social aggression toward female peers.” Body image 36 (2021): 193-200. DOI: 10.1016/j.bodyim.2020.11.011

The study by Fox et al. in 2021 is important because it examines how social media can affect women’s feelings about themselves. It focuses on the act of taking selfies and its effects on their mood, their thinking about others, “self-esteem,” and attitudes towards friends or peers. This study is critical to the bigger question, “How does social media affect girls’ feelings about themselves?” because it looks into certain behaviours linked to using social media, often seen in young women.

Self-Objectification and Self-Esteem: An essential idea in the article is self-objectification. This means thinking of yourself primarily as something to be looked at and rated based on your looks. The writers say that taking selfies, often pushed by social media services, can make it worse when you see yourself as an object. This is very important for young girls who are vital to creating their identity and feeling good about themselves. Pressure to look like perfect beauty standards often seen on social media can make young girls feel bad about themselves. They might think their looks need to measure up and see that as impossible or complicated.

Mood and Emotional Well-Being: The research also looks at how taking selfies affects mood. Young girls are using social media more and more. What they do there, like taking or sharing pictures of themselves, can affect their feelings significantly. Getting likes, comments, and shares can make a big difference in how they feel about themselves.

Social Aggression and Peer Relationships: An incredible part of Fox et al.’s study is how making selfies might link to bad social feelings towards girlfriends. This is very important in how young girls interact on social media websites. The fight for attention and approval can make a place full of jealousy, comparing each other, and mean actions. This might hurt friendships with other kids or make someone feel bad about themselves.

Implications for Young Girls’ Self-Esteem: These study results reveal how social media can impact young girls’ confidence through specific actions like selfies. It shows the importance of learning and understanding how these actions could affect someone’s mind. The impact could be even more substantial for young girls, who still make their self-image and can easily be influenced by others’ opinions.

Contextualizing within Broader Social Media Use: The study looks at taking selfies, but it’s essential to understand these results in the broader setting of how young girls use social media. Social media affects self-esteem differently for everyone. It’s different for all people and depends on their platforms, the kind of content they see or make, their traits, and how life is going. Finally, the paper by Fox and colleagues (2021) gives essential ideas about how social media actions can affect young girls’ self-worth. This study shows how taking selfies, seeing yourself as an object for others to judge, and feeling your emotions can all be linked.

Krause, Hannes-Vincent, et al. “Unifying the detrimental and beneficial effects of social network site use on self-esteem: a systematic literature review.” Media Psychology 24.1 (2021): 10-47. DOI:10.1080/15213269.2019.1656646

The article by Krause et al. (2021), “Unifying the detrimental and beneficial effects of social network site use on self-esteem: An article called “Systematic literature review” in Media Psychology gives an extensive look at how social media can change young girls’ self-love. This is something many people are worried about these days because of technology. This study, which looks closely at many different sources and types of writing, carefully balances both good and bad things about using social media like chat apps or Facebook. This is very important when trying to understand how this age group uses the internet, which is most often spoken daily by everybody. It shows that social media has two sides. On one side, it causes problems like struggles with body image and mean things on the internet. On the other hand, there are good parts, such as finding support from others in a community or discovering who you are.

Important in this talk is looking at how social media affects self-esteem, like comparing with others and wanting feedback. These systems are essential for knowing how young girls engage with and are affected by their online experiences. The article also admits that these effects can change. It stresses how critical individual differences and surrounding situations are in their happening. This change means that the impact on self-worth differs for all young girls. It can be different because of things like age, where they come from culturally, or how unique they are.

Krause and others use theories like the Social Comparison Theory in their study. This gives a deeper understanding of people’s thoughts and feelings during these situations. They also find holes in what’s being studied now. This helps us know where to look next to learn more about this complicated connection. The results of their work are essential for people like teachers and lawmakers. This shows the need to use intelligent ways when dealing with how social media affects young girls’ feelings about themselves. In total, the article is essential for knowing and coping with how social media affects young girls’ self-esteem in many ways.

Valkenburg, Patti M., et al. “Adolescents’ social media experiences and their self-esteem: A person-specific susceptibility perspective.” (2021). DOI:10.1037/tmb0000037

In the study by Valkenburg et al. (2021) on how teenagers feel about themselves and their use of social media, a unique way that looks at each person’s chances of being affected was used. Though not all about young girls, the findings are essential for understanding how social media impacts their self-worth. The learnings from the research about how people react to events on social media can be used for young girls. This helps us understand possible weaknesses or strengths they have. Moreover, the study gives a starting point to look into how self-esteem works in social media and offers helpful thoughts for studying differences by gender. How the study was done helps create careful research for young girls. It takes into account age-fit checks and moral thoughts, too! The study says that it might have some problems. But they still want others to do more research, focusing on how things affect girls differently. This will help us better understand the effects of social media on young girls’ self-confidence.

Prieler, Michael, Jounghwa Choi, and Hye Eun Lee. “The relationships among self-worth contingency on others’ approval, appearance comparisons on Facebook, and adolescent girls’ body esteem: A cross-cultural study.” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18.3 (2021): 901. DOI:10.3390/ijerph18030901

The research by Prieler, Choi, and Lee in 2021 helps us learn a lot more about how social media can affect the self-worth of young girls. The study looks at Facebook in detail. It examines how comparing appearances, depending on others’ opinions for self-worth, and teenage girls’ feelings about their bodies are related. The view between cultures makes it more interesting, focusing on how culture shapes the impact of social media on self-image. The idea of worth being dependent on what others think shows how our minds work. The study focuses on liking your body, a big part of self-love in young girls. It shows how Facebook posts might cause worries about looks and shapes. This research is significant for understanding how social media affects self-esteem. It provides accurate data that can help create solutions and policies to improve healthy feelings about ourselves among teenage girls in the confusing world of digital communication.

Gallagher, Shannon M. The influence of social media on teens’ self-esteem. Rowan University, 2017. https://rdw.rowan.edu/etd/2438

Gallagher presents a significant inquiry that aligns with the research question “How does social media affect young girls’ self-esteem?” in her 2017 study ” The Influence of Social Media on Teens’ Self-Esteem” from Rowan University. The study outlines the widespread social comparison where girls frequently compare their appearance and lifestyles to those of peers or influencers whose lives seem meticulously crafted, resulting in a sense of inferiority and diminished self-esteem. Gallagher highlights this digital social comparison as closely relating to psychological effects, mentioning instances where teenage girls develop negative self-perception due to constant exposure to idealized images on platforms like Instagram or Facebook (Gallagher, 2017, pp.45-50). As such, this study plays a critical role in revealing the delicate aspects of social media, providing spaces for self-expression and social networking while presenting vulnerabilities affecting young users’ self-esteem.

Work Cited

Fox, Jesse, et al. “Effects of taking selfies on women’s self-objectification, mood, self-esteem, and social aggression toward female peers.” Body image 36 (2021): 193-200. DOI: 10.1016/j.bodyim.2020.11.011

Gallagher, Shannon M. The influence of social media on teens’ self-esteem. Rowan University, 2017. https://rdw.rowan.edu/etd/2438

Krause, Hannes-Vincent, et al. “Unifying the detrimental and beneficial effects of social network site use on self-esteem: a systematic literature review.” Media Psychology 24.1 (2021): 10-47. DOI:10.1080/15213269.2019.1656646

Prieler, Michael, Jounghwa Choi, and Hye Eun Lee. “The relationships among self-worth contingency on others’ approval, appearance comparisons on Facebook, and adolescent girls’ body esteem: A cross-cultural study.” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18.3 (2021): 901. DOI:10.3390/ijerph18030901

Steinsbekk, Silje, et al. “The impact of social media use on appearance self-esteem from childhood to adolescence–A 3-wave community study.” Computers in Human Behavior 114 (2021): 106528. DOI:10.1016/j.chb.2020.106528

Valkenburg, Patti M., et al. “Adolescents’ social media experiences and their self-esteem: A person-specific susceptibility perspective.” (2021). DOI:10.1037/tmb0000037