Outdoor Therapy Has Far-Reaching Benefits

The modern teen tends to be indoors for the majority of the day.  When a teen does get the proper amount of exercise,  it helps stimulate the production of vitamin D, and with severe issues like depression, substance abuse and ADHD behavior.

Outdoor Therapy Helps Depression

People are meant to be close to nature, and sometimes the routine of an average school week doesn’t allow for as much exposure to the great outdoors as is needed.

Both doctors and patients reflect on their experiences with the outdoors in an article looking at depression by Every Day Health. Dr. Reedy is a therapist who runs programs based in nature, using a method called dialectical behavior therapy, or DBT. His work is based in wilderness therapy for severe cases, allowing him to weigh in on what works: “DBT has been shown to be effective in treating mood disorders and chronically suicidal individuals,” he says.

When it comes to patients, Dick Sederquist is an avid hiker who has found that his time in nature helps him manage his life-long battle with depression.

He shares, “Hiking is like entering a time machine, a timeless experience. Deep in the woods, away from the traffic noise, all you feel is the exertion, your breathing, and the elements around you. It’s impossible to be distracted by your everyday worries and concerns.”

There are many resources for fighting depression, but now we know it’s better to spend time in nature. blueFire outdoor therapy program just addresses these needs head-on, as a part of the therapeutic process.

Outdoor Therapy Reworks The Brain For Teen Substance Abuse

Digital Journal gives us some feedback in an article about teen substance abuse. Teens at Phoenix Outdoor therapy participate every two weeks in three 30-minute neurofeedback sessions, 24 in total.

Conducted by Dr. Phil Ellis, these sessions use a training system that helps change brain wave patterns. Staff and students observe benefits after just a few weeks, like:

  • Better ability to cope
  • Improved ability to focus and pay attention
  • Decreased impulsivity
  • Less anxiety
  • Improved ability to maintain sobriety

And of course, nature helps the body. According to one article, “The strongest evidence suggests that physical activity and exercise probably alleviate some symptoms associated with mild to moderate depression.” This is because the brain produces more dopamine, a happy hormone, when the body is stimulated. 

This may help with addiction and other mental illnesses, but what about behavioral health? Let’s take a look at blueFire wilderness therapy.

blueFire Wilderness Therapy

blueFire’s outdoor therapy approach brings nature to young men and women ages 13-17. This setting accesses many aspects of therapy through experience-based challenges like:

  • Hiking and mountain biking and rock climbing
  • Canoeing and kayaking
  • Equine Therapy, which includes taking care of the horses
  • Fire making and cooking

Through these activities, teens get daily opportunities to overcome adversity and find support in each other as a team. Teens can often feel like they’re victims of their condition, but with outdoor therapy they get to challenge themselves and each other to improve their attitudes in a personal, empowering, and enduring way.

If you would like to learn more about Outdoor Therapy, please contact blueFire at (844) 413-1999 to speak to our admissions team who can answer any questions and help you discover appropriate options for your family.


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