An important part of comprehensive health and wellbeing is how well and how consciously we nourish our body. Poor physical health, poor mental clarity, low energy can cause and perpetuate depression, anxiety, and a host of other afflictions. We teach our clients the importance of nutrition and that adopting healthy eating can be easy, healing, meditative, CREATIVE and FUN! “Eating your greens” has never been easier with this salad! So dense and full of protein (yes…protein), minerals, antioxidants, and most importantly, FLAVOR! We create this salad using all of our senses: How does it look, smell, taste? Do we need more salt or more sweetness? It’s all about not taking a recipe too seriously, relying on personal preference and letting the creativity fly!
Recently at Evoke at Entrada, we coordinated an in-field Wilderness First Aid (WFA) course for one of its young adult groups. The course was taught by a former Entrada staff, currently certified as a WFA Trainer. This unique course was designed by Entrada to give our participants an immersive opportunity to develop a valuable, life saving skill set. At the end of the course each participant walked away with an invaluable experience, as well as a tangible WFA certification highlighting their participation.
This week in the field, I instigated an impromptu game of "the ground is lava" while exploring some canyons on a day hike. The game quickly gained layers of complexity, until it was replete with dragons, shimmering pits of blue and green destruction, regeneration as giant birds, and a push for distant castles. This lasted for a good 40 minutes, with enthusiastic engagement from the whole pack of teenage boys. When we finally made our way out of those treacherous, lava filled canyons, we immediately picked up our wands and headed to Hogwarts for lunch and herbology lessons, shouting incantations in contrived British accents as we went.
“You were really wild, you were like one of the worst students to have ever walked these halls!” This is a quote from one of my old high school teachers who said this to my youngest brother on his first day of work. My brother was hired to teach social studies at the high school we both attended. It’s important to note that he was a straight-A student, the salutatorian of his class, and a model of good behavior; a legacy much different from the one I left behind. Since we look a like, she thought she was speaking to me! When my brother tried to explain to her that she was getting us confused, she thought he was lying to her and avoiding the situation; a response that would have been typical for the person she knew 15 years ago. This awkward confrontation lasted several minutes until she finally stomped away, convinced that my brother was lying, and I was up to my same old tricks of manipulation and defiance. When I heard this story I started laughing hysterically at the thought that I could still rattle her cage and mess with her even when I was thousands of miles away, completely removed from the situation. It warmed my big defiant heart!
As a female therapist working with adolescent girls, there are many personal experiences and challenges that inform the way I relate to and with the girls in my group. Like many therapists, I draw from my own life experiences to understand and connect with clients. Many of those experiences are joyful or transformative and many are painful or challenging. No matter the context, all of them help me to better relate with a spectrum of human problems and strengths.
Recently, I was sitting across from a client conducting an assessment of anxiety and starting to understand the sheer variety of phobias she experienced. All of a sudden, she looked down at her legs and shrieked! I quickly leapt to her side, kneeling in the dirt. I looked closely at her pants following her gaze. A lone ant was traversing her pant leg and creating panic-like symptoms in this client.
Q: What is Wilderness Therapy?
We take teenagers and young adults into the wilderness, teach them various survival tools, help them learn to work within a group, and help them complete therapeutic assignments.
“How could a handstand invite so much emotional upheaval?” I thought as I came down softly, with the help of my instructor, resting and sobbing in Child’s Pose. I was back in another yoga teacher training after breaking my neck only 9 months earlier. I had done so much work healing the body and mind after my near-fatal car accident. My upper body was stronger than it was before the accident. I had gone to a therapist to deal with some of the fear and anxiety I felt from the experience. Had even undergone Rapid Eye Therapy to help “unlock” more subconscious levels of the trauma. But here, in a moment of turning my body upside down which I had done hundreds of times in my life, I was pouring tears like a geyser erupting from somewhere unspeakably deep within me. And my teacher was amazing. He was gentle, present, compassionate. I rested and spoke little the remainder of the day while still being with my peers of the teacher training.
It is amazing how much a person can learn from a simple group activity, especially if that activity is challenging, novel, and fun.
All the promotional points that describe the value of wilderness therapy were meaningful in our daughter’s recovery: simplifying her life down to bare bones for a while, being away from everything, rekindling her love for the outdoors. Through mastery of physical skills she realized how capable she is. She turned the corner to a more authentic life at Entrada.