What are Wilderness Programs in Rehab?

Wilderness Programs are geared mainly, but not solely, towards younger patients such as adolescents and young adults. This form of holistic therapy has been around for quite some time and while it has proven to work it’s not without scrutiny.

Wilderness Programs can do so much for the individual such as helping people rise above personal challenges, reclaim control over their life, and to become healthy and happy. This is all able to happen through a combination of therapy and exploring the wilderness.

Generally, there are three segments used in therapeutic wilderness therapy. The philosophy starts with removing the individual from the toxic environment they were in that generated the problem behaviors. A healthy diet, exercise, and a crash course in wilderness survival are started.

In the second segment consequences for actions is taught. If a bad decision is made or a lack of effort is exerted a poor consequence will arise. This teaches and strengthens self reliance. Individuals learn to communicate with others in a healthy and effective manner.

The third segment focuses on the accomplishments that were made during the journey and the lessons learned. This is the time when what has been learned in the wilderness is taken home and put to work. This is the time for the individual to showcase their new found confidence, empowerment, and self worth.

Support groups like AA or NA are used as part of aftercare. These kinds of groups will offer physical and emotional support, offer encouragement, and strengthen interpersonal relationships. This is all positive in keeping individuals in check with what they once considered to be limitations and promoted poor decision making. The benefits from wilderness therapy have proven to offer lifelong benefits and are becoming more popular.

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  • It sound like an interesting therapy. I heard of similar therapies and they seemed to be quit popular. I always wondered a little bit how strong the risk of relapse is, since after being removed from their toxic environment to get clean, they will be thrown back into it when returning to their daily live. I guess that the newly learned approach to problems may help them to deal with their problems in different manners. It surely looks like a therapy that's worth taking a look into.
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