The teenage years can be challenging for both the teens themselves and their families as a whole. Teenagers are experiencing rapid growth both physically and cognitively. As they begin to explore their independence, many parents experience their teen become distant or defiant. And while this may be seen as “typical” teen behavior, it is important for parents to be aware of indicators of bigger mental health and behavioral issues.
How Wilderness Therapy Helps
Wilderness therapy is not a boot camp where teens are expected to conform to military-style routines with a focus on discipline. Instead, wilderness therapy combines the benefits of adventure therapy activities with clinical therapy to address behavioral issues in teens.
Wilderness therapy removes teens from their everyday routine and distractions. A wilderness setting disrupts negative behavioral patterns. These behaviors can range from school refusal to overuse of video games. Teens may get stuck in these negative behavior loops, such as: staying up late into the night to play video games, waking up late and being exhausted, being unable to focus at school, less information retention while learning, feeling overwhelmed by the amount of school work they still need to complete, choosing to play video games as a stress release that lasts late into the night. Then the next day the pattern repeats. When teens are removed from that situation, they are able to create new, healthier patterns and coping skills.
Many teens also struggle with social skills and making substantial connections in real life. They live much of their lives online and feel more comfortable sending a DM or a “like” than having a conversation in real life. Every experience in nature and adventure is an opportunity to learn and wilderness therapy activities such as rock climbing or white water rafting are the perfect tools to teach communication skills. Adventure therapy builds trust as teens learn to ask for what they need in the situation. For example, when rock climbing, the climber needs to communicate when they need more slack in the rope or when they need the rope to be tightened. Climber and belayer communicate constantly to make sure that the belayer is paying attention and the climber is engaged. Teens don’t have to come up with small talk, they are given a common interest through the activity itself.
Wilderness therapy also uses clinical therapy practices to understand and process behavioral and mental health issues. Clinicians can also help teens develop skills that they can use when they return home after completing their time at wilderness therapy. Wilderness therapy is designed to give teens the support they need to create positive behavior patterns when they return to their home environment.
BlueFire Wilderness Therapy for Teens
Life is a journey. Our comprehensive multi-faceted and clinical approach in the wilderness helps teens and their parents navigate this journey in a positive direction. We believe that through a balance of self-assessment, insight-oriented therapy, outdoor living, adventure activities, and academic focus these teens will find their true selves. We provide a supportive opportunity for parents and children to re-connect and strengthen their relationship. Contact us today at (844) 413-1999 to learn how we can help your family.