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After several years experience as the director of a wilderness program, Steve, along with his wife, Jill, opened Building Bridges in 1996. Steve recognized the need for a longer term option for those who have completed a wilderness program to expand upon the skills and tools the student has just begun to learn when graduating from a wilderness program.

From day one the concepts and methods we follow today were in place. REBT therapy, reality based counseling, and a straight forward communication style have been the hallmark of our program since we opened our doors. Perhaps our most important concept is that of community involvement and enrolling our students in public school. Steve realized that success in a vacuum rarely translates into success in the real world. For this reason we take every opportunity to challenge our students by placing them in circumstances and environments they will encounter back home, and then supporting them by surrounding them with their peers and support staff.

Our invisible partner in helping these young men is our community. Thompson Falls is a small city of less than 2,000 residents and our high school averages less than 200 students. Most everyone in this community knows of the work we are performing and the overwhelming majority are not only supportive, often want to do what they can to help out. The high school has a history of non-resident students, going back to the days when it was originally chartered as a boarding school for students from Washington to the Dakotas.

Over the years, many things have changed. We added a second residential home, opened a gym to support both a healthy mind and a healthy body, improved our home school program to create more academic success, and opened an office in town to better serve our families. Through it all, our core concept of helping individuals facing issues with chemical dependency and behavior issues has never changed.

Key Features of our program include:

  • REBT based counseling
  • Reality based therapy
  • Enrollment in public school
  • Active involvement in community oriented projects
  • A positive peer culture designed to strengthen positive behaviors

If you are considering our program for a loved one, we understand that this is a difficult time for you. Know that you are not alone, and the we are here to help you through this process. Many of the questions you have may be answered in our FAQ to the right, but we know that it would be impossible to answer them all here. We encourage you to contact us to open a discussion about the needs of your son and your family.

  • Is Building Bridges licensed?

    Yes. In fact, we are proud to have been a part of the licensing process in Montana. Building Bridges was one of the first programs in Montana to be licensed and we continue to work with the licensing board to ensure all programs have appropriate guidelines to follow... (more)
  • How long is your program?

    Building Bridges works with each individual based upon their individual needs. Some of our students accept and understand the process rather quickly, while others may take a while longer to make that progress. Our counselors and staff will work closely with each family to determine the appropriate... (more)
  • Can I communicate with my son?

    Each student is encouraged to write home as often as possible and to open up lines of communication which may have been closed off for some time. In addition to mail, after their first 30 days, students will call home every two weeks. After some time, a... (more)
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