The term “therapy” often paints a vivid picture of a patient in a doctor’s office talking to a specialist about his experiences and woes. The word is almost synonymous to spending time in a hospital or a clinic. Unbeknownst to many, there are different types of therapy that involve more than going to the hospital, talking to a specialist or taking medication, one of which is outdoor therapy.
What is Outdoor Therapy?
Outdoor therapy, otherwise known as wilderness therapy or adventure therapy, is a type of therapy that involves the use of outdoor spaces and activities in order to facilitate personal growth.
Outdoor therapy programs resemble camping or time in a boot camp, with a more inward-focused strategy than most traditional therapy program. By removing the distractions of modern life, such as TV, the internet, smartphones, and the like, outdoor therapy programs allow patients to focus on their recovery and health.
Wilderness therapy programs vary from treatment center to treatment center. However, most wilderness therapy programs conduct their programs in a natural environment devoid of day to day distractions. The ideal outcome of this type of therapy includes creating a deeper connection with nature, taking responsibility for one’s actions, self-discovery through natural living and recognizing the value of teamwork.
These programs also involve peer interaction and individual and group therapy. Moreover, outdoor therapy is most often recommended for treating troubled teenagers and young adults.
What Are the Benefits of Outdoor Therapy?
Pursuing wilderness or outdoor therapy has many benefits. For instance, being away from the stress and noise of city life can allow people to get to know themselves deeper. In doing away with distractions, it can be easier to pinpoint the root cause of an individual’s drug addiction or mental health issues.
Moreover, wilderness therapy involves working and communicating within a group. Going through the treatment and participating in the activities can improve a person’s communication skills. It can also foster an attitude that allows for trust, authenticity, compassion and hard work.
Are there risks or disadvantages in participating in outdoor therapy?
Most accredited wilderness or outdoor programs are considered safe. However, there are people who should be wary in participating in such rigorous and physical treatment. Individuals who have pre-existing conditions like asthma are advised to seek medical permission before signing up for an outdoor therapy program. These individuals are at a risk to harm themselves given the physical nature of the treatment.