During the late summer, the high desert of Utah experiences the monsoon season. It is an amazing phenomena that makes the dry, barren desert blossom into bright green and brings a freshness to the air that makes the heat bearable. The days begin hot and dry with a cloudless blue sky in all directions, but as the afternoon arrives, gray clouds begin to form, the lightning and thunder put on a show and then the rain begins. Sometimes it sprinkles, but often the skies open up and dumps water to the cracked desert floor. Our groups set up group tarp shelters and hover in the cover of the tarp from the rain and wait for a break in the storm to resume their activities.
Our groups had the opportunity to witness this first hand earlier this week as the monsoon season is now in full swing. A night of hard rain led to a wet group of students in the morning and a flash flood in a nearby wash. Witnessing the power of mother nature and the incredible rain and floods was an eye opener for the all of the students in the program. The groups were camped on higher ground and were safe and protected from the raging waters below in the wash. The campsite provided a nice vista for observing this unique work of nature as it unfolded before our eyes.
This experience allowed for a group therapy session using an analogy of finding the high ground to stay safe from dangers such as flash floods and comparing it to making wise decisions about the places that students visit on the internet. Pornography, cybersex, tech and excessive gaming were all areas that students identified as low ground areas that lead to addiction and problems. Students also shared the importance of planning ahead, sharing emotions with others and building positive relationships as ways to remain on the high ground on the internet.
Matt is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has been working in the field of youth treatment and psychotherapy since 1995. He did his undergraduate work at BYU and earned his M.S.W. at the University of Utah. He has worked in a variety of treatment setting in his career ranging from wilderness therapy and residential treatment to outpatient treatment and state government.