Why Wilderness Therapy Works
Written by WinGate Therapy, in Section Parent Resources
Wilderness therapy is often the last option loved ones think of when an adolescent or teen is in trouble – but it is one of the most effective. Done correctly, wilderness therapy has unmatched potential to help youths move their lives forward in a healthy, balanced way.
Let’s consider some reasons why:
Wilderness Therapy Means Unbroken Personal Care
Positive attention, relatable role models, and strong relationships – these are all things that young people are looking for when they act out. A traditional therapeutic environment too often mimics the difficult relationships youth already have with authority.
In wilderness therapy, those ideas are upended.
The adult guides and mentors that children interact with here are not distracted by all the outside concerns that strain therapeutic relationships. They are here as partners who help young people access their own capabilities, not as adversaries who simply want them to conform.
The result is a productive, trust-focused relationship that helps reset the client’s worldview. At Wingate, wilderness therapy is conducted without conventional punishment systems, “levels,” or aggressive confrontation that erode trust and potentially create more trauma.
Wilderness Therapy Builds Positive Peer Relationships
When they are struggling with addiction and other mental health concerns, youths fall into one of two patterns: Isolating themselves completely or seeking out peers who also engage in risky and unhealthy behaviors. Both these approaches hinder social and emotional growth.
The shared living environment of wilderness therapy is unique. It calls on each participant to build relationships that are interdependent, not dependent. This leads to the formation of healthy friendships. Peers naturally create positive reinforcement and nurture emotional resiliency.
Wilderness Therapy Helps Youths Rediscover Themselves
A drug-free future doesn’t end with appropriate care for issues of chemical dependency. It’s also vital that each young person tap into his or her own inner resources: Developing new abilities to cope with stress and life’s challenges. This is the key to long-term personal freedom.
Wilderness therapy provides an environment stripped of distractions. Young people learn to manage emotional pressures by focusing on a single task or goal at a time and demonstrating they can make a positive difference for themselves and others.
In a very short time, this teaches them new ways of relating to themselves and others that can help rebuild relationships with family, friends, and teachers strained by drug addiction.
Our goal is to provide immediate and lasting solutions to your child's problems. At WinGate Wilderness Therapy, you can rest assured that your child will receive appropriate treatment in a caring and professional environment. Please don't hesitate to call (800) 560-1599 to speak with a representative and learn more about the possible solutions to your child's struggles.