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troubled teen standing by the ocean with arms open at a wilderness therapy camp

Wilderness Therapy: A Summer Intervention for Teens and Young Adults

In the last 20 years, wilderness therapy programs for young adults have become a popular intervention method for children from ages 10 and up. Today, we’ll discuss what wilderness programs for troubled young adults are, if they’re safe, and how your struggling teen could benefit from attending one.

What is Wilderness Therapy for Troubled Youth?

Also known as Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare (OBH), wilderness therapy for troubled youth are adventure-based experiential intervention programs designed to kinetically engage teens and young adults on cognitive, affective, and behavioral levels.

With wilderness therapy programs for young adults, your son or daughter will address their problematic behaviors by fostering personal and social responsibilities through wilderness-based therapeutic challenges alongside other teens. Wilderness therapy is usually recommended over the summer months, giving your son or daughter an extended period of time to immerse themselves in a new setting away from the struggles and damaging routines they’re accustomed to, whether at home or at school.

Is Wilderness Therapy Safe?

It’s not uncommon for parents to have reservations about sending their son or daughter to a wilderness rehab for young adults. After all, will they be safe there? To that we say “yes!” 

In fact, the OBH council found that in 2012, the average American adolescent was two times as likely to visit an emergency room than a wilderness therapy participant. Stringent and ongoing incident monitoring is standard operating procedure required by OBH council programs by licensing and accrediting institutions, and all OBH programs voluntarily participate in safety data reporting analyzed annually.

Benefits of Wilderness Therapy for Troubled Youth

There are numerous benefits to sending your son or daughter to one of the many wilderness therapy programs for young adults. Not only does time in the great outdoors mean unplugging from anxiety-raising technology, but serves as a safe and effective way to reconnect with oneself in the serenity of nature. What’s more, your child will experience firsthand the feeling of accomplishment after persevering through a tough hike, mastering a skill, or working alongside peers to accomplish a team project.

At a wilderness rehab for young adults, your child will undergo a treatment process divided into four categories, including:

Clinical Assessment & Intervention

To truly help your son or daughter turn a new leaf and change their unhealthy behaviors, it’s crucial to understand the root cause of the problem. The initial clinical assessment is one of the first steps taken to understand your child’s struggles and needs. In addition to adventure-based therapy, your child will also meet with a one on one therapy session to discuss the reasons why they are attending wilderness therapy for troubled youth and a personalized intervention plan to create a clean slate from which to build a successful future.

Develop Healthy Coping Strategies

For troubled youth to thrive in future social, academic, or professional settings, they need to unlearn their past coping strategies and replace them with new, healthy, ones. In turn, this will help improve not only social and emotional skills, but mental and behavioral health.

Building Identity & Self-Esteem

Through new experiences, challenging activities, supportive relationships, and a safe and fun atmosphere, your child will find an increased level of self-confidence and identity. They will experience first hand the impact of accepting responsibility for their actions, as well as the sense of self that comes along with challenging their own unhealthy patterns.

Improve Familial Relations

Within your child’s time at a wilderness rehab for young adults, they will be encouraged to write letters to you and your family as a way to open the lines of communication, take accountability, and strengthen relationships. Over the course of their stay, they will work in group and individual settings to reveal the truth to their struggles and, with their newfound coping skills, work towards resolution to foster healthy familial relationships.

At Morgan Guidance, we’re committed to helping struggling teens and their families find the positive solutions and Therapeutic Placement to get your child back on track towards a positive future. If you’re wondering whether wilderness therapy for troubled youth is right for child, we’re ready to talk. Contact Elaine Morgan today to schedule your complimentary consultation.