Essay on Wilderness Therapy and Conventional Therapy

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With an increasing number of individuals seeking mental health services and the issues these individuals face becoming deeper and more difficult to treat with conventional therapy, there is a greater need for more modern and creative therapy. Even more so, individuals are seeking treatment at a younger age and need more interventions to fit their needs. Wilderness therapy is a newer intervention found to be effective with youth and adolescents. This paper will examine the major components of wilderness therapy, the mental health disorders treated, the setting in which wilderness therapy is used, the appropriate client populations, multicultural considerations, and the limitations of this therapy. Wilderness therapy is a form of therapy…show more content…
Factors such as relationships with program staff, “solos,” mastering outdoor activities, and observing the world are thought to be positive experiences that facilitated change as well (Foundations of Adventure Therapy, 2007). There are seven key elements to wilderness therapy that include: engagement in action-centered therapy, use of unfamiliar environment or situations, manufacturing and maintenance of change, application of activities for continuous assessment, focus on group development and community, solution focused therapy, and a shift in therapist roles. (Tucker, Javorski, Tracy, & Beale, 2013). Other constructs that are central to wilderness therapy are challenge by choice, risk and stress, using “natural-logical” consequences, and learning through experience (Foundations of Adventure Therapy, 2007). Wilderness therapy has been found to be effective for youth with a number of issues including traumatic brain injury and eating disorders, but has been used more commonly with those dealing with behavioral issues such as peer/school/family relations and substance abuse. In one meta-analysis study, 858 adolescents enrolled in wilderness therapy programs were examined and results showed significant change in areas such as behavior, mood, and substance abuse based on self and parent reports (Bettmann et al., 2013). At a 24 month follow up 80% of parents and 95% of adolescents

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