- The basics of a wilderness therapy programme:
You can say that wilderness therapy is a kind of psychotherapy. However it is quite different than other forms of psychotherapy because it doesn’t involves the use of any psychoactive drugs or substances. It is purely based on experiences that an individual has in wilderness. Ask yourself a question, what is the best place to calm your mind? Most of us will say that they find peace of mind when they are strolling in a garden or camping near a river. Have you ever wondered why such places offer exceptional relief from everyday stress? It is a fact that people feel calm and relaxed when they are in a more natural environment. Wilderness therapy tries to capitalize on this fact. It puts an individual in absolute sync with the Mother Nature and helps him or her to establish a connection with the nature.
- Is there any scientific research backing wilderness therapy?
Wilderness therapy is not a quack job. It is one of the most effective and natural forms of psychotherapy. All around the country there are plenty of wilderness therapy programmes running successfully. Certainly it is not without proper scientific research backing its theories and methods. To be exact, wilderness therapy is a subset of adventure based therapy. But unlike most of the adventure based therapy its methods do not rely on adrenaline rush to make the participants feel better. Most of the research work in the field of wilderness therapy was done by Dr. Larry D. Olsen and Ezekiel C. Sanchez at Brigham Young University. Others who have significantly contributed in developing wilderness therapy are Steven Bacon and Nelson Chase from Colorado Outward Bound School. Madolyn M. Liebing, a well known and highly reputed clinical psychologist, was the first one to recognize the positive effects of wilderness therapy. Since then regular and crucial research has contributed immensely to the field of wilderness therapy.
- Who looks after the participants?
Wilderness therapy doesn’t means that the participants are left free to roam around unprotected in the wilderness. Each and every participant is monitored by an expert clinical psychologist. Their activities are recorded and a behavioral analysis follows. Each and every participant is well supervised and taken care of. Wilderness therapy experts even advice them and provide necessary counseling from time to time whenever the need arises.
Author had a troubled and turbulent past as a teenager but wilderness therapy steered her in the right direction. Today she is a wilderness therapy spokesperson for the Rites Of Passage Wilderness Therapy.