Announcing Mathew O'Connor, MA, LCAS, ICAADC as Primary Therapist at Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness

It is with great enthusiasm that we announce the addition of Primary Therapist, Mathew O’Connor, MA, LCAS, ICAADC  to our Clinical Team. Matt will be taking adolescent male students, ages 14-18, struggling with co-occurring mental health disorders and substance use. Matt joined Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness in March after years working in primary substance abuse treatment, which is where his passion and expertise lie. Matt has over six years experience working on all levels of care for substance abuse; including education, prevention, treatment and recovery. He has spent the last five months training with our Therapists and Clinical Director and learning every aspect of the Primary Therapist role in the wilderness therapy setting. He has devoted week after week in the field with each of our five groups shadowing individual and group sessions, spending time with the milieu, joining weekly parent and ed consultant calls, and co-facilitating parent support calls.

Matt is a Licensed Clinical Addiction Specialist and an Internationally Certified Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor. He earned his Master's Degree in Contemplative Counseling Psychology from Naropa University in Boulder, CO. After years of working with this demographic, Matt has developed an approach that is eclectic, person centered, and holistic. His approach to therapy is gentle, respectful, and designed to help clients increase their capacity for self-awareness.

He believes that the wilderness presents a platform for individuals to connect with their inherent wisdom, which has been covered up by drug and alcohol use. Addiction can create immense amounts of shame, guilt, and low self-worth, which leads to isolation and loneliness. Blue Ridge’s expedition model of wilderness therapy creates an environment to engage with the world around us on a much deeper level, which is a key part to sustained recovery. Therapy involves the difficult work of honestly looking at our lives, and Matt brings patience and humor to this courageous endeavor. He believes that the healing process begins by creating a space that is safe and nurturing. By creating a space that is based on compassion, respect, and care, individuals can tap into some of the deeper emotional processes that have been underlying patterns of behavior that created suffering in their lives.

Matt utilizes a variety of clinical approaches to meet his students where they are. These include: mindfulness-based therapeutic interventions, motivational interviewing, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. He has a deep understanding of and connection to 12 step recovery programs.

Matt is an avid rock climber and spends most weekends outdoors with his family and dog, Otis. He has had a regular sitting practice for the last ten years and goes on retreat whenever possible.

Please reach out to our Admissions Department to learn more about Matt, his expertise, and the type of students he will be working with at Blue Ridge. Jason York can be reached at 817-776-0189 or and Dave Brannan at 706-982-0110 or

Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness offers clinically driven programs encompassing advanced therapeutic skill, a highly flexible expedition wilderness model, licensed wilderness therapy assessment, and multiple treatment options for troubled teens and pre-teens ages 10-18 years old.  Our individualized approach, family support, and commitment to service translate to an unparalleled experience and better outcomes for adolescents and families. To learn more about Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness, visit or contact Danielle Hava at or call Admissions at 888-914-1050.

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Blue Ridge operates with the same guiding principles it was founded on. Safety is, and has always been, the number one priority while offering the highest level of customer service and clinical expertise available in a wilderness therapy setting.