Wilderness therapy is a unique and immersive first step in the recovery process. By removing your child from their comfort zone and placing them in nature, you force them to work with other participants and supportive staff to begin the process of facing addiction and working through the first steps of treatment.
- Programs typically last for several weeks and serves as a building block for recovery
- Clients receive therapy, counseling, and training to support their transition away from the responsibilities of everyday life
- Activities are structured in a way that supports individual growth, self-reflection, and personal development
Benefits of Wilderness Therapy
- Be Separated from Triggers in Early Sobriety: In wilderness therapy, clients are disconnected from the outside world. There is no exposure to enabling peers or environments and no stressors to thwart their focus on recovery. Wilderness therapy creates isolation from the influences that threaten sobriety and allows clients to focus solely on their recovery.
- Self-Discovery Through Wilderness Skill Building: Wilderness therapy promotes self-discovery and development through its very design. Clients must build their own shelters, cook, make fires, and become more independent. By learning and developing these skills, clients gain confidence and become more self-sufficient than they may have been in their lives at home.
- An Environment that Fosters Community & Self-Awareness: This approach to treatment also helps clients develop strong relationships with their peers as they rely on one another to achieve tasks. It encourages them to consider their relationships with others and to become more aware of how their actions affect those around them. In this environment, they may self-reflect on how these behaviors manifested in their everyday lives and how they impact their experiences.
- Nature Helps Heal the Body & the Mind: While disconnected from technology and other distractions, clients can focus more deeply on appreciating what is around them. They may watch sunrises and sunsets and get to experience nature in a way they never have before. Being surrounded by nature brings feelings of peace and calm that can affect mood and perception of the world around them. It allows clients to appreciate the little things and notice what they may have taken for granted.
Is Wilderness Therapy Effective? It Depends.
While wilderness therapy has its benefits, it cannot stand alone as treatment. Your child will eventually return to the real world and must learn how their experiences can transcend to their everyday life. While it is a strong foundation upon which to build sobriety, it is only a building block that must be further developed in rehab.
Learn to Apply the Lessons Learned
Although your child will gain valuable lessons in this environment, they must continue to develop and hone them. Following through and continuing to build upon those lessons by attending a long term residential rehab program will strengthen their experiences in recovery and make them better equipped to handle the obstacles they may face.
Adjusting to Sobriety in the Real World
Wilderness therapy can be a big adjustment, and although clients learn to work within that environment, they must eventually transition back into the real world. The real world will reintroduce them to distractions they must learn to manage in conjunction with their recovery. By having a solid foundation to build upon, they will find adjustment to the real world much easier. For example, those looking to go back to college after a wilderness program may struggle with distractions and influences and possibly relapse. A long term program that offers drug and alcohol rehab for college students can better prepare them for this future transition.
Aftercare or Extended Care: Treatment Post Wilderness Therapy
By following a wilderness program with a young adult rehab program, clients are able to continue through the recovery process with armed with a set of vital skills. In the wilderness, clients begin the process by engaging in counseling, therapy sessions, and experiential therapy. The discoveries they make are further explored in rehab and lessons learned are reinforced.
How Sober College Ensures Success After Wilderness Therapy
Throughout the recovery process, roadblocks and obstacles will naturally arise, but with a focus on individual development, your child will learn the tools necessary to manage their sobriety. Developing life skills to support independence is key to empowering your child and helping them take control of their path moving forward. The development of these skills and fostering of individual growth that occurs in residential treatment programs will help your child effectively navigate the pitfalls they may encounter in life after treatment.
Learn More About Young Adult Treatment Options
Wilderness therapy can be the perfect first step your child can take towards sobriety in conjunction with long-term treatment. Let Sober College help them continue that journey to recovery. Give us a call at 800.465.0142 or fill out a contact form and we can talk about the best ways to support your child after wilderness therapy.