In the summer months MA teams organize short (three day) excursions to which they invite moms or dads to join them—away from adult jobs and urban lives, and away from ranch chores, school and therapy. For example, this year a boy’s team organized a “Mother-Son” trip to a set of rustic cabins at a hot springs three hours from the ranch. The girls and staff from another team invited their dads to join them on a three-day “Father-Daughter” retreat, which took place at a spacious convention center on Flathead Lake.

The point? to cook and eat and clean up together, to walk or paddle a canoe in pairs, and to talk in large groups or small ones. MA staff organize group experiential activities, so that, say, all the mothers and their sons engage in some pleasurable task together. Or the staff organize a morning so that all the girls’ fathers can meet on a sunny deck with a senior clinician to talk among themselves about what an adolescent daughter might need from her dad.

On these trips, telephones and televisions get turned off, Blackberries set aside, so that parents and teenaged sons and daughters can find each another again, and contemplate without distraction all the ways in which their relationships might be different now, and in the future, than in the past.