I’ve worked in the wilderness and through experiential education for 8+ years and believe more passionately than ever in the simple, tangible, and connective benefits we take home from every wilderness experience. Having just worked a 20-day wilderness course, I feel a renewed sense of appreciation for these take-home skills and lessons. Here are five you can expect to experience and benefit from long after you leave the field:
I am breathing in, I am breathing out.
The embrace was tight and strong. Then I realized he was trembling. When I heard the sniffle I realized he was crying.
How Can Wilderness Therapy Help Teens On The Spectrum With Aspergers, Autism And Non-Verbal Learning Disability?
Individuals with characteristics associated with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have it harder than the average person. Life is more difficult. The degree of difficulty varies, depending on the degree of Autism, but there are certain areas that are problematic. Gillberg (1991) identified the following areas:
I’ve been asked… repeatedly… to write more specifically about spirituality. It’s been a daunting request for me because spirituality is a nebulous and highly personal subject. It’s both transcendent and human, sublime and mundane. In the scientific literature regarding spirituality’s role (often muddled with religion) in mental health, a consensus on its help or hindrance is yet to be found. While religious guilt seems to have an adverse effect on mental health, feeling connected to something greater than ourselves seems to help mitigate stress and depression.1
This question often arises when a family is left to explain where their child is after they have been sent to therapy. Enrolling a child in treatment can temporarily leave a large hole in a family unit, and parents often struggle to explain this to the community, to extended family, or to the child’s school. And while many parents may not choose to or need to send their child to a residential treatment center, they may still experience feelings of loneliness and isolation because of dealing with a difficult child who is struggling with addiction, depression, anxiety, or any number of other common struggles.
Clients come to the wilderness wounded. Some wounds are obvious and come with overt behaviors that identify them as in need of repair. Some wounds one is not yet even aware of, having lived life a certain skillful way orchestrated to disguise and not feel pain. Often words don’t suffice in the healing of this sort of trauma and deep seeded hurt.
If you were to describe yourself at work as a force of nature, what would you be? A still mountain. A flowing steam. A tornado! How about at home or leisure? My wife says I am like a Fire at home - like a fireplace to give warmth and love, sometimes a firecracker to give fun and excitement, and sometimes an engine for the train.
It was a perfect spring evening as we sat around the glowing campfire. We welcomed the occasional wisps of cold, memories of winter’s frozen march, as the days grew longer under the sun’s gaze. It would not be long before the stubborn sunburnt evenings reminded us to be more grateful for a night like tonight.
“Wilderness? What’s wilderness therapy?” When telling people where I work I frequently get this question. After explaining they often follow up with, “Wow, that sounds amazing!”