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Dr. Tom Thayne: From Wilderness Therapy to Homeward Bound 

After founding successful wilderness and residential teen treatment programs, in 2005, Tim Thayne created Homeward Bound to lead the movement to educate and support families while significantly reducing relapse (upon returning home). Never one to underestimate the significance of transitions, Thayne guides parents in their crucial leadership roles as culture builders and change agents.


It is Dr. Thayne's dedication to the transition period between graduating from a residential program and returning home that we find the impetus of his groundbreaking book, Not By Chance. 

Not By Chance, Dr. Tim Thayne

When I was given the task to read and review, Not By Chance, I didn't know what to expect, I didn't know anything about the book, its author, Dr. Tim Thayne, or its message. 

Little more than three hour-read, Not By Chance struck a chord in me, namely, its core message of spreading real hope and guidance to parents of troubled teens who have sent or are currently seeking the services of a residential treatment center. 

All too often, parents of troubled teens are left to their own anxieties and feelings of uncertainty after sending their teenage boy or girl to a program (a facility often located hundreds or even thousands of miles from home). Upon finding and sending their child to a program, parents are often left questioning whether they made the right choice in the type of program they selected, how their child will perform while enrolled in said program, or even if they made the right choice by sending their son or daughter to a program in the first place. 

All these questions and more are answered in Not By Chance. 

The book itself was specifically created for parents who are concerned with making sure their child is in the right treatment program and how to respond to and support their child's therapeutic journey; how to mitigate negative outcomes that can arise from their child's return and how to improve the odds of continuing their child's growth. 

Not By Chance is less of a self-help book for parents of a teenager in residential care, as it is an (as close as you can get to a) fool-proof cheat sheet that parents are instructed to re-read and refer to repeatedly. 

As he described in the forward, Dr. Tim Thayne's writing is for the parents who ask themselves, "Is this program the best? Was sending my child away necessary? Will my child ever forgive me? And how do we parent them when they graduate from residential treatment?" 

Using personal experiences, easy-to-follow guiding principles, and anecdotal storytelling of other people's journey, Dr. Thayne answers these questions and provides parents with a playbook filled with strategies that will galvanize and give resolve to even the most self-doubting parents.

Topics from the book include:

  • Why good programs work
  • How to boost—not undermine—treatment
  • Nine dangers waiting after discharge
  • How to identify natural mentors for your teen
  • What to do when the testing begins
  • When and how to grant back privileges and freedoms
  • How to ease your young adult's transition from treatment to independent living
  • When you know you've succeeded 

What's more, Not By Chance maks parents privy to an unquestionable truth that frequently goes unheard: residential treatment is not just a healing time for the child but also the parents and families. Just as their teen therapeutically develops and grows while in residential treatment, parents need to develop tools and strategies to ensure their son's overall success or daughter's rehabilitation once they return home.

Not By Chance is fully immersive and leads its readers through simple exercises and captivating stories, the majority of which are from Dr. Thayne's first-hand accounts with hundreds of families, in their living rooms. This book serves up concrete tools, hope, confidence, and stamina for families, professionals, and mentors.

This article is only the introduction piece of what will be a complete breakdown of Not By Chance. In the upcoming weeks, we will be adding a second and third installment of Dr. Thayne's book and how parents can use and apply the book's message and lessons to their own lives and relationship with their struggling teenage son or daughter.