Wilderness Therapy: The Facts and Misconceptions About It

Wilderness therapy is an emerging field of psychotherapy that makes use of the outdoor environment to stimulate personal growth, positive transformation, as well as building of self-worth as a form of therapy for cognitive behavior. The methods of wilderness therapy are as varied as the practitioners themselves, but they all have this common threat that nature has the power to effect change and balance in ways which can be descriptive to those who are struggling with the challenges of life.

Instead of the usual counseling, a modified approach which is more suitable in an outdoor situation is used, such as engaging in gardening activities, or traversing the countryside on horseback or by taking a walk.

The together of the person with other people and the bigger world is strengthened in these situations while at the same time encouraging self-reflection without the disruptions of contemporary living like cell phones or TV. In effect, wilderness therapy is a practical course of treatment alongside more traditional treatment practices for anxiety, depression, addiction, and other compulsive behavior.

However, many of the wilderness therapy clinics have a tendency to be focused more on teens and juveniles who are trying to overcome the difficulties of growing up but are finding it difficult to do. The need to stand out in school, peer pressure, drugs, family problems, along with numerous other demands are particularly mind-boggling to young adults who by now are stressed out by the innate transformation caused by puberty itself.

A wilderness therapy center is not similar to a boot camp that families used as intervention for vulnerable teenagers or young adults that are showing uncontrollable behavior in efforts to regain authority over the child.

Behavior modification boot camp style is much more violent and the approaches are a version of the strict discipline of armed forces base camps. Some are actually run by state as a rehabilitation center for criminal offenders so they get themselves in trouble ever again. Private boot camps that are focused on helping teenagers follow a parallel model and in an atmosphere of rigidly enforced discipline, unlike the method of wilderness treatment centers which is more passive.

The similarities of wilderness therapy and boot camps are superficial, contrary to what some people believe. Boot camps maybe situated in a rough atmosphere, but they have a tendency to use some one-size-fits all strategy in the way they inspire self-discipline and self-worth.

Wilderness therapy, on the other hand, typically uses a more personalized or individualistic approach, instructing people to change how they think of challenging situations in order to encourage them to make positive decisions.
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