When teens are struggling with mental health, behavior, or addiction issues, treatment centers utilizing adventure therapy, such as At the Crossroads (ATC), can help him or her regain control of their life and start down the path to independence and success.
The following provides an in-depth look at adventure therapy, including what it is, what types of activities it usually involves, how it works, and who can benefit from it. It also examines the numerous benefits associated with residential treatment programs and adventure therapy.
What is Adventure Therapy?
Just as the name implies, adventure therapy is a form of therapy that incorporates and uses a variety of adventurous activities to work through and overcome emotional and behavioral issues, as well as problems with addiction and other challenges faced by teens .
While it is true that participants will likely have fun participating in adventure therapy counseling, they will also benefit immensely from the unique therapeutic approach and the valuable life lessons it can teach. At the same time, adventure therapy treatment centers work to bring a teen’s issues to the surface in order to allow him or her to confront them and start the healing process.
What Does Adventure Therapy Involve?
Primarily conducted in an outdoor setting, adventure therapy involves a variety of activities that are designed to teach valuable that can be applied to past and future experiences, while also being meaningful and encouraging self-reflection, personal growth, and the adoption of healthy behaviors. This frequently includes:
- Wilderness excursions that may include camping, hiking, and canyoneering.
- Fishing, kayaking, paddle boarding, and other water sports
- Mountain biking, rock climbing, and cliff diving
- Intramural and snow sports
- Golf, bowling
How Does Adventure Therapy Work?
For troubled teens dealing with all types of mental, emotional, behavioral, and addiction problems, adventure therapy can be nothing short of life changing. The simple act of taking teens away from their unhealthy environment, negative influences, and pressures they experience in everyday life and placing them in a tranquil environment that is surrounded by the beauty of nature gives him or her the ability to focus their entire attention on their recovery.
While in this highly structured environment, they are given the opportunity to discover things they never knew about themselves, learn how to accept responsibility for their actions, and develop a profound sense of self-worth that gives them the power to replace their dysfunctional behaviors with positive behaviors that start them down a new direction in their lives.
Who Can Benefit From Adventure Therapy?
Adventure therapy has been proven to an effective treatment option for teens struggling with a wide variety of issues, disorders, and conditions. They include:
- Substance abuse issues
- Anger management issues
- Behavioral and relationship problems, conduct and oppositional disorders
- Depression, emotional problems, and issues with unresolved grief and loss
- Anxiety disorders
- Recovery from trauma, PTSD
- Eating disorders
The Benefits Of Adventure Therapy
Adventure therapy provides innumerable benefits for teens that start immediately upon arrival. The act of being in nature has been proven to decrease stress and anxiety, promote a sense of calm, and give moods a boost.
In this safe and nonjudgmental setting, they are eating and sleeping well, getting plenty of physical exercise, which has been proven time and time again to improve mental health, and participating in numerous activities and therapy sessions designed to help him or her identify and confront issues they are struggling with and learning how to appropriately work through them.
Adventure therapy offers troubled teens the chance to gain a greater sense of self-awareness, self-reliance, empowerment, and self-worth as they see just how much they are capable of doing. Additionally, teens learn a number of valuable life lessons, such as:
- Recognition that all actions and choices have natural consequences, both positive and negative.
- The importance of having good communication skills and asking for and accepting help, as well as the importance of offering help to others when trying to achieve a common goal.
- How to take responsibility for your own actions, along with how to give and receive constructive criticism.
- The significance of setting and following limits and boundaries.
- Why they shouldn’t be afraid to step outside of their comfort zone and/ or face their fears instead of attempting to avoid or numb them with drugs and alcohol.
- The importance of having a positive attitude and optimistic outlook on life.
For troubled teens, both male and female, adventure therapy treatment programs are fun and exciting, yet challenging as they work to overcome their personal challenges and obstacles, heal painful emotions, and identify and put into practice healthy behaviors and thoughts. At ATC, we are committed to helping teens work through their issues and make a long, successful recovery.
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