Last updated: 11/8/2018
Author: Addictions.com Medical Review
Reading Time: 3 minutes
If you have been thinking about sending your adolescent child to wilderness therapy as a way to treat their behavioral and/ or substance use problem, it may be just what they need. Being in the great outdoors can help adolescents reflect on the actions that have caused them to resort to negative habits. Through therapeutic sessions with their counselors, activities in the outdoors, and group discussions, your child can learn to figure the reasons for their bad choices.
According to the University of Idaho, wilderness therapy is an emerging treatment intervention in mental health practice to help adolescents overcome emotional, adjustment, addiction, and psychological problems.
The 5 Benefits of Wilderness Therapy Programs
Aside from being in nature surrounded by the beauty of the great outdoors, these types of therapy programs -especially designed for adolescents- can be an effective treatment option to help a young person get to the root of their negative behavior and/or addictive disorder. Here are 5 benefits of having your child attend one of these outdoor based therapy programs:
- The staff are licensed treatment professionals, and they provide an individualized therapy plan for each adolescent in the program. While all adolescents in the program may share similar circumstances, not all are experiencing the same feelings. This helps meet the needs of each individual, instead of assigning the same plan for all in the program.
- The parent is informed every step of the way through their child’s therapy program concerning progress, and to help the parent understand the nature of their child’s behavior and/or poor choices.
- The outdoor programs are well structured to assure an environment free from harmful substances, or temptations to act out negatively. This helps adolescents get it touch with their inner thoughts and feelings, and can provide a setting where they will express themselves clearer.
- Aftercare is also offered to make sure that the adolescent maintains progress and continues to learn positive ways to deal with everyday life. Skills like communication, relating to others, decision making, goal setting, and more can be learned through one-on-one counseling, or group sessions.
- They learn responsibilities to be able to do things for themselves, and also cooperate with others to get projects done in a timely manner. These are lessons they can use later on after completing the therapy program, and throughout their life.
The wilderness therapy programs can provide adolescents with a unique experience unlike any other. They will be able to reflect on what they learned while receiving treatment, and most important, how to apply it to their daily life. Parents can rest assured that the program is run by licensed treatment professionals that deal with troubled adolescents. They can help your child get their priorities in order, get the help they need to treat their substance problem, and improve their negative behavior.
Finding a Wilderness Therapy Program for Your Son or Daughter
If you have decided that this type of treatment will help your child, then you should talk to a treatment specialist that specializes in helping adolescents find the outdoor program specific to their needs. They will need to be properly assessed by a counselor and/or medical professional to determine the extent of their disorder. Once the child has been evaluated and all requirements met, then the treatment plan can be discussed, and soon they can be benefiting from a unique and effective therapy program.