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10 Ways Wilderness Therapy Promotes Teen Wellness

Teen wellness is an important part of a teenager’s health. Teens cannot thrive in toxic environments at home and in school. Wilderness programs offer holistic, natural, and peaceful settings.

Wilderness therapy provides troubled teens with a “secure, non-critical, and supportive environment.” A variety of therapeutic methods and activities help to advance teen wellness. Adolescents have the opportunity to work on self-healing, life-skills learning, and self-acceptance.

Teens learn valuable lessons! Wilderness expeditions, primitive skills training, and team building exercises promote positive outcomes. Working in a natural environment challenges a teen’s disruptive and unproductive beliefs.

Who is Wilderness Therapy For?

Wilderness therapy helps teens struggling with emotional, behavioral, mental, social, and learning disorders.

Negative behaviors include:

  • Mood disorders
  • Anxiety and depression
  • ADHD
  • Asperger Syndrome
  • Oppositional defiant disorders
  • Criminal activity
  • Substance abuse
  • Violence
  • Video game/smartphone addiction
  • Trauma
  • Promiscuity
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Poor academic achievement
  • Anti-social behavior
teen wellness
Outdoor Activities and Teen Wellness

Most teens enter Wilderness Therapy reliant on their parents and family members. In the wilderness, teens are responsible for themselves and the safety of their peers.

Outdoor activities include:

  • Pre-hiking preparation. Obtaining, making, and packing plenty of food and water for the group.
  • Fire-building.
  • Setting up camp.
  • Hiking, kayaking, and group bonding activities.

Outdoor activities help teens become self-reliant and innovative. Adolescents also develop social skills. They work in groups to build campsites, search for firewood, and go on hikes.

Promoting Teen Wellness by Learning New Skills

Wilderness therapy helps teens sharpen their social, survival, and communication skills. Activities enhance skill building. Teens have to work together to complete tasks and see positive results.

Learning to Care for Your Body

Wilderness therapy encourages teen wellness through healthful nutrition. Eating well balances a teen’s mind, body, and mood. It also boosts self-esteem and self-confidence.

Responding to the Right Therapeutic Options

Wilderness therapy programs have licensed medical professionals on staff 24/7. Teens receive a comprehensive assessment, followed by various forms of therapy.

With in-the-moment therapy, professionals constantly assess how young people are managing their experiences.” And, “they talk through issues in real time, and help the student develop strategies to self-soothe.”

Improves Interpersonal Relationships

Wilderness therapy focuses on a group-based approach. Teens learn to build trust, work through obstacles as a team, and celebrate successes as a group. Teens also learn to socialize and form relationships free of judgment, anger, and hate.

Promoting Teen Wellness Through Physical Fitness

Besides hiking, wilderness programs also offer daily exercise programs. Exercise helps with:

  • Retaining memory and promoting brain health
  • Sleeping better
  • Feeling more confident
  • Creates energy
  • Relaxation
  • Feeling happy and accomplished
Mindfulness, Meditation, and Yoga

Nature is a holistic environment, and many wilderness programs offer mind-healing activities. Teens learn to relax, take the time to consider consequences, and they look at the world in a more positive light.

Develop a Strong Work Ethic

Wilderness activities build strength and help teens feel accomplished. There are no cutting corners in nature!

If teens choose not to set up a tarp and it rains, the client gets wet. There is no one to blame but themselves.” Teens gain a strong work ethic because survival is their only option.

Learn to Develop Positive Behaviors and Choices

Wilderness therapy is full of decision-making. Teens realize that their choices and actions affect others.

Many teens react to tough situations with anger, frustration, and aggression. Wilderness therapy replaces negative responses with positive replies. Teens learn to react with kindness, confidence, and a clear mind.

Strengthens Family Bonds

Many teens enter wilderness therapy with broken family relationships. Wilderness programs encourage weekly phone calls, family therapy sessions, and long-term treatment planning. This helps families restore communication, forge new connections, and live together in peace.

To learn more about wilderness therapy, click here