Robert Field, PhD opened his private practice specializing in work with children and adolescents in 1978. After seeing the need of so many children to learn how to play and communicate with others, Dr. Field and his wife started the Quest Therapeutic Camp. The program provided a combined recreational and therapeutic program, using play as the focus of intervention by experienced, well trained counselors. Dr. Field and other therapists provided daily group therapy and necessary intervention to assist counselors in their efforts to produce positive change.
From the 1st year with 20 campers/week, Quest has grown to over 100 campers per week with 5 therapists and 21 counselors. Change was evident even from non-professional observers. Within 3 weeks, campers continue to make excellent progress and our research reflects a "strong treatment effect" for improvement.
Quest's therapeutic approach is unique. Getting children to play requires their sense of safety to "try new things". With individualized goals, established by the camper, parents and staff, campers are supported with praise and "points". They are given ideas of how they can change and helped by staff to learn new strategies. With constant counselor support and directions and the ability to use their points at our weekly store, campers increase their efforts to learn emotional and social skills. Group therapy is using specially developed "hands-on" therapy activities and discussion, campers learn new concepts of managing impulses, emotions and understand social cues and how to interact.
Unique to Quest is the camp setting. Camp is fun! Camp can be silly and watching staff leading Camper of the Day ceremony, when one camper from each group as working the hardest on their goals (every camper earns this before they leave) or singing silly camp songs, campers learn to "take risks", become more resilient, initiate interactions, understand social cues and learn how to feel good about themselves.