On the heels of the Outward Bound programs that made their way to the United States decades ago, wilderness education became part of therapeutic treatment after noticeable psychological and emotional benefits were observed. In turn, the 20th century has continued to provide wilderness education with dozens of programs treating adolescents with substance abuse to teens with behavioral concerns. Without question, numerous adolescents have found wellness in the wilderness, leading many families back to the path of health and happiness.
Depending on the specific needs of clients and the particular philosophy of those providing wilderness therapy, there are a great variety of programs. Even so, most follow a semi-standard framework that is based on three phases. For instance, in phase #1, individuals are prepared for wilderness therapy by a "cleansing" process, which involves being removed from their present environment. While the primary focus centers on helping individuals learn personal responsibility and consequences, another important component of phase #1 is healthy eating, exercise, and self-care.
Continuing to develop personal responsibility will remain a priority in phase #2, as individuals learn self-reliance and interdependency. For instance, a program may teach patients how to build a fire to warm their food. If they do not make an effort to learn, they will eat a cold meal. Thus, they begin to understand their responsibility to learn, as well as their responsibility to communicate with instructors and other patients if they need assistance. Without question, this helps develop responsibility and insight, as well as behaviors that will result in success versus those that will not.
As individuals enter phase #3, which involves transitioning and any aftercare that is necessary, the hope is that patients begin to apply the insights discovered through wilderness therapy, while adding new, healthy behaviors and choices to their lives. For many individuals, wilderness education provides an opportunity for them to reconnect with themselves, minus the distractions associated with their real-world environment. Once they understand themselves and their place in society, they feel empowered to overcome the emotional and psychological hurdles that were once destructive.
For teens with anxiety, depression, Internet addiction, and social concerns, Nathan's Waypoint values wilderness programs as a means for adolescents to learn their strengths, develop skills, find acceptance, build self-esteem, and boost confidence. There are several program designs, based on your child's particular needs.
To learn more about wilderness education and therapy, contact Nathan's Waypoint today to schedule a free consultation.
Posted on behalf of Nathan's Waypoint