The decision to send a young adult away for treatment can be a difficult one. Parents feel guilty that they cannot help their teen heal and must send them to another state to find that healing. Young adult therapy is easy to find, but how do parents determine what is the right program for their teen? Parents still have an image of residential therapy for teens as a place that is like jail. Their child will be locked up and unable to get the true healing they need. However, there are many different residential therapies that allow teens the freedom to discover themselves and discover healing.
Wilderness therapy is a young adult therapy that is rapidly growing in popularity and has been around since the 60s. This form of therapy is unique in that is exposes teens to the wilderness and therapy together. Studied over the course of the last 50 years, wilderness therapy is regarding as a unique, highly effective young adult therapy. Young adults experience significant improvements in mental health that last for years after being in a wilderness therapy program.
Wilderness therapy is a young adult therapy that exposes teens to the outside world through structured exercises and therapy. Teens go into a secure environment where they are taught how to cope with their negative behavior, drug addiction, and trauma. Teens are taught skills, such as fire starting or rock climbing that disrupt unproductive beliefs and transform them into positive beliefs. Wilderness therapy is designed to mimic the challenges found in social structures, emphasizing the importance of group work. Teens learn how to develop healthy relationships and live within boundaries with their family and their peers.
Different Forms of Therapy
Teens who are placed into wilderness therapy programs will experience individual therapy as well as group therapy. Wilderness therapy teaches teens how to react to certain situations with others. Teens are also influenced by their peers so when they discuss topics relevant to the group, they can talk with others who may be going through the same situation.
Wilderness therapy is unique in that the exercises that teens experience happen in nature. These programs utilize hiking, rock climbing, equine therapy, and other team building exercises as therapeutic tools. Wilderness therapy also teaches survival skills to teens. The purpose of teaching survival skills is to reinforce the idea that there are consequences for their actions. Young adults then learn that their behavior is not warranted, and they effectively change it in the future.
Transitional Living Programs
Teens who return home immediately after being in a residential treatment program are more likely to relapse. Teens find the transition between a structured environment to the old home environment difficult to navigate. They may slip into old habits and need future rehab programs because they felt unprepared for the real world. Transitional living programs are young adult therapy programs that provide a bridge between traditional residential therapy and the realities of the real world.
Many residential programs teach teens how to cope with their emotions and addictions in simulated real-world scenarios. These skills are minor in comparison to how much a teen really needs to know when they return home. Transitional living programs are great in helping young adults find their place in the world. They teach them valuable skills in combination with therapy. This helps young adults more smoothly put their foot in the real world.
Transitional living programs provide an individualized, comprehensive program for young adults. Each client is assessed to determine their needs for therapy, their current skills, and their current education. Then a team of highly trained professionals, including doctors and counselors, design a program tailored to each individual young adult. These programs will include individual goals and incorporate proven therapeutic techniques. Each therapy session is client-led and young adults can be active participants in their healing. Therapists have small caseloads which allows them to support everyone according to their needs.
Learning Life Skills
One thing transitional living program do that other young adult therapy does not is teach life skills. These important skills allow young adults to live more independently for the long term. Teens who learn financial management, basic hygiene, time management, and meal planning build confidence in themselves. They are coached based on their current skills. Many transition programs meet young adults where they are in life and build off those strengths.
Life is about balance. Balance is the goal of transitional living programs. They introduce important life skills and emphasize the importance of education, recreation, and service. All these skills incorporate into the bigger plan for each individual person. Research has proven that by participating in service can give the young adult a larger gratitude for what they have and become less vested in negative habits.
Both wilderness therapy and transitional living programs are valuable tools in assisting young adults through their healing process.