Thousands of teens all over the U.S. suffer from drug addiction, psychological conditions, and other serious life challenges. Each of these can be resistant to traditional treatment – and they often appear together.
Youths often struggle against a “one size fits all” approach they see as cold and unfeeling. Only a customized approach that honors their personhood can truly reach a teen in crisis.
When teens think about care options for their most severe struggles, these things often come to mind: Sterile institutions, strict rules, and harsh punishments.
Treatment programs that rely on these techniques turn young people and their caregivers into adversaries. That makes it much less likely that there will be positive, long-lasting change.
The ultimate outcome of such programs is often an escalation of the problems they are meant to treat.
Enter wilderness therapy: A powerful, proven, and holistic approach that nourishes teens emotionally by connecting them with healthy coping mechanisms and their own inner resources.
Wilderness therapy provides structure without stifling. Instead of confining the individual or dwelling on past negativity, its goal is to make each attendee the author of his or her own future.
Let’s consider some of the ways that wilderness therapy enriches the lives of troubled teens:
Wilderness Therapy Ends Peer Pressure Without Producing Isolation
Social pressure can be a big contributor to teens engaging in risky behavior including drug abuse, self-harm, and more. However, isolation breeds resentment and can cause negative emotions to feel more intense. During wilderness therapy, teens are grouped with understanding peers. They build strong friendships while working together to achieve meaningful goals outdoors.
Wilderness Therapy Places Teens in a Natural, Healthy Environment
WinGate Wilderness Therapy happens in breathtaking surroundings across the pristine Utah countryside. In a time when most Americans – of all ages – spend 90% or more of their time indoors, this can have remarkable health effects. Spending time in nature is associated with lower stress, more restful sleep, superior neurological function, and improved mood regulation.