Why is Wilderness Therapy so valuable?
As an Educational Consultant, parents and family serving professionals often ask me to explain wilderness therapy, otherwise referred to as Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare. It’s a great question and especially timely as we head toward summer (or in any season for that matter.)
Wilderness Therapy or Outdoor Behavioral Health (OBH) is an important year round therapeutic resource though it is often recommended as a strategic summer intervention for troubled teens or flailing/failing college students. Many teens and young adults struggle during the academic year. It’s natural to capitalize on the summer months or a semester break and engage wilderness/outdoor therapy for help with challenging emotions or difficult behaviors.
The Value of Therapeutic Wilderness:
- Time in wilderness interrupts the daily home or school routine with all its struggles. Unplugging from technology and typical daily routine is therapeutic in and of itself. By choosing therapeutic wilderness as a summer experience, parents interrupt life as the teen knows it and send the message that attitudes and behaviors need to change.
- Nature is the great outdoor classroom and is fundamental to connecting with self. Some doctors even say hiking is good for the brain.
- It feels awesome to experience measurable success and meet goals, whether it be moving up levels, packing for a hike, navigating the weather and demands of camp, demonstrating mastery of a skill, or simply following the guidance of others to accomplish a team project.
- Peers are positive as they work together, encouraging one another and sharing their common humanity as individuals who face challenges and overcome obstacles in life.
- New coping skills and ways to relate are learned. Following directions in wilderness is a given. It doesn’t work to ignore, melt down, run away, quit, yell, threaten or blame others when it comes to staying dry, setting up camp or reaching the summit.
Wilderness Therapy is a strategic and proven experiential intervention for children as young as 10 years, teens and young adults up to age 30. Clinical theory along with individual, group, and family therapy ties together the lessons learned in the backdrop of a wilderness setting.
Morgan Guidance assists professionals and families in determining if wilderness therapy is the right choice. If so, we consult with parents and custom match their son or daughter with the “right fit” wilderness program and therapist that is the best possible match for their unique situation.
Do you know a teen or young adult who would benefit from an outdoor/wilderness experience this year? Call Morgan Guidance for the optimal experience. We work with you to find the best possible option.
With you on the journey,
Elaine Morgan, M.Ed.