The Benefits Of Outdoor Behavioral Health Therapy

By Matt Bulkley | Blog Education Series

STAR Guides Wilderness - The Benefits Of Outdoor Behavioral Health Therapy

We live in a fast paced digital age where anxiety, addiction, and depression have become the norms of life. Despite facilitating communication and access to information, technological advancement has many downsides. The increase in the use of the Internet and smartphones has led to cyber addiction, especially among teenagers

The fact that adolescents have been struggling with digital addictions today reveals a disturbing side of technology, which has unfortunately become our reality. Breaking free from addiction through therapy is a hard and long journey, but it is doable.

For this new generation of addictions, a wilderness therapy program, also referred to as outdoor behavioral health is one of the most effective therapeutic tools for healing teenagers dealing with addictions of any kind. This form of therapeutic process has many advantages, including:

Outdoor adventure

With access to their smartphones and iPads, the amount of time children spend in outdoor activities has declined. A wilderness therapy program provides adolescents the chance to engage with nature, connect with their inner thoughts and learn valuable outdoor skills.

Detoxification

Most of these programs are located in remote areas, far away from the hustle and bustle of urban life. Children are, therefore, not exposed to harmful chemicals, social media, technology and other temptations that urge them to act out negatively.

Above all, the therapy program places an emphasis on living well. Keeping that in mind, professional dieticians and fitness experts incorporate a healthy diet and regular physical exercise into the adolescents’ daily routine.

Responsibility

Perhaps, one of the most major benefits of a wilderness therapy program is that it instills a sense of responsibility, passion, and confidence in kids striving to overcome their addictions. The main concept of this therapy is to reinforce the concept of personal and social responsibility among children, and teach them valuable life skills for survival. These skills include cooking meals for themselves to taking care of their personal belongings as well as the environment.

Hence, it an ideal way for kids to discover their passions, build their confidence and leadership skills and gain a strong sense of accomplishment.

Aftercare

After the completion of the therapeutic program, teenagers get thorough support from their therapists to make a successful transition into their usual lives.

A great majority of wilderness therapy programs, such as STAR Guides offer this facility to help children cope with life back at home. Expert coaches at STAR Guides stay in touch with each student to assist them in strengthening themselves after the student graduates. In addition, parents are also educated on helping their kids recover successfully. Remember, getting therapy is the first stage towards recovery. It is what happens after therapy that really matters.

Awareness

Being out in nature, gazing at the night sky and admiring natural beauty all around helps an adolescent gain a perspective on life and change their thinking. It gives them the chance to think about the greater good, and not just about their own demands. Similarly, completing certain tasks with other participants not only boosts their communication levels, but it also builds teambuilding skills among them.

There is no doubt that a wilderness program has a profound impact on troubled teenagers. It really is an effective solution to overcome their addictions, coupled with improving their physical, emotional and mental wellbeing.

If you feel that your child needs professional help with their addictions, please consult rehabilitation treatment center STAR Guides. Click here to read how their intensive wilderness therapy program will benefit your child.

About the Author

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.

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