What is Adventure Therapy?
Adventure Therapy helps kids take on new responsibilities, skills, and emotional tools that can lead to healthier attitudes and self-esteem.
“With a combination of the wilderness environment and adventure activities, blueFire creates the ideal therapeutic milieu in which to help students recognize and build upon their sense of self-worth.” – Digital Journal
blueFire accomplishes this for kids ages 13-17 using powerfully effective resources like:
- Individual and group therapy
- Experience-based activities: equine, hiking, rock and mountain climbing, mountain biking, kayaking
- Each child’s unique learning style and pace
- A focus on family connections: letters, calls, family workshop, family therapy
- Responsibility to self and others, chores, teamwork
- Sharing personal ideas and opinions, conflict resolution, problem solving skills
Therapeutic wilderness programs are geared toward providing engaging experiences for teens in a natural environment, and specifically designed to introduce healthy habits while disposing of destructive ones.
The benefits gained in working with others are transferrable to relationships, at home and elsewhere. Each client will face and overcome challenges they’ve never faced before, and learn they have the ability to rise above.
What Makes Adventure Therapy Activities So Effective?
Teens can have some pretty harsh perceptions of failure, self-doubt or powerlessness, and expressions of these feelings can end up becoming harmful to the self or others, either through violence or withdrawal.
The Standard Examiner’s article about wilderness therapy features Derek Daley, a therapist based in Loa and a member of The Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Council, or OBH. He says:
“Things get really simple. You take away a lot of the distractions that exist in regular, every day. It allows you to focus on just you, or your teammates, and living in a small, simple community. Things become clear.”
Adventure Therapy emphasizes adventure activities because they are particularly helpful to teens in facing big challenges and coming out on top.
What Do These Adventure Therapy Activities Look Like?
Instructors put responsibility in the hands of the kids, and give them the power to make decisions that will affect themselves and others directly. Some of these activities include:
Equine Therapy: Young girls and boys will learn how to ride, take care of and interact with horses. This gives them a sense of responsibility for an animal that trusts them, and teaches them exciting new skills.
3-4 Day Adventure Treks: Groups will participate in hiking expeditions. They must work as a team to package food and other supplies they will need for their trek, and face challenges on the trail, including often camping at different sites each night.
Rock Climbing and Kayaking: In the river or on a rock face, groups must learn to depend on each other while connecting with nature and facing personal challenges in a new way.
Accountability, responsibility and independence are important lessons learned in adventure therapy, and are an exceptional way to help families get back to a healthy relationship with their child.