Why choose wilderness therapy?
Wilderness therapy provides a safe environment away from negative influences in the community that has helped thousands of families rebuild relationships. Spending more time outside helps improve teen’s physical, social, and emotional well being. Combining outdoor skills and adventure activities, teens are given opportunities to reflect on their behavior, set personal goals, and build confidence. Many teens find hope and healing through wilderness therapy’s experiential methods.
Who is wilderness therapy for?
Wilderness therapy helps both boys and girls who are struggling with a variety of behavioral and emotional issues. Depending on the program, they often separate students by gender, issue, or age. Upon admission, youth and their parents report significant problems associated with symptoms of:
- Disruptive behavior
- Substance use
- Academic struggles
- Aggressive behavior
As a newer alternative to residential mental health treatment, most programs conduct research to collect evidence of students’ progress and lasting success. Their goal is to help students minimize problem behaviors, as well as develop new positive coping mechanisms to transform their overall wellbeing. This holistic method is more effective in creating lasting success, as it addresses the connection between thoughts and behaviors and offers hope for change.
Students who have completed a wilderness therapy program consistently self-report:
- Fewer emotional struggles
- Increased hopefulness
- Greater self-awareness
- Improved assertive communication
- More success in their relationships
- More confidence
While the transition to one’s next placement or back home can be difficult, research suggests that six months after graduation, most students are maintaining the progress they made in treatment, as they learn to apply the skills they’ve learned in different settings. Most students continue to report scores within normal functioning ranges two years after graduation. Wilderness therapy is more effective than programs like bootcamps, as they encourage deeper self-reflection, connection to the environment, and building stronger relationships with peers and staff, rather than using discipline and physical activity. They emphasize the process of learning new skills rather than mastering skills taught.