Wilderness therapy programs are, by definition, outdoors in natural environments. But with the evolution of wilderness therapy into a research-based therapeutic model that includes more sophisticated techniques and approaches than just hiking and busting* (although these remain important!), the relevance and value to humans of being in nature can be forgotten. I want to emphasize that wilderness therapy started because of the inherent value of being in a natural environment. And that is still, in my opinion, one of the main reasons it is so effective.
Anxiety is a feeling. A common emotion. It basically is the warning signal of a threat. That perceived threat can be physical or emotional or both. When excessive, anxiety can become problematic. Once anxiety reaches a high level and causes personal distress or interferes with an individual’s ability to function adequately, it is termed an anxiety “disorder.”
As a wilderness therapist at Evoke Cascades, I often work with adolescent males who have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). A couple of years ago, I wrote a blog on this disorder and how wilderness therapy can help.
Wow! Dr. J Huffine is celebrating his 20-year anniversary as a wilderness therapist!! J started his work in Texas in the late 90s and has been part of the evolution of wilderness therapy, seeing the growth and refinement of one of the most powerful modes of treatment for adolescents and young adults.
Alexithymia is not something you “have” and cannot change. It is a term used to describe a relative inability to process one’s emotional experience. Alexithymia is not all or nothing; it is a matter of degree. Some people are very adept at emotional processing, others are not. But what does it mean to “process” one’s feelings? Why is this ability important? Alexithymia is not uncommon in the general population, but is much more prevalent in people who experience emotional and behavioral problems. Can it be improved?
Group One, our adolescent boy’s group in Evoke's Wilderness program, recently completed another successful trip to Smith Rock State Park for a day of rock climbing.
I have worked as a Wilderness Therapist for over 18 years. I have seen Wilderness Therapy grow from a “boot camp” model, primarily working with conduct disorder types of problems, to a clinically sophisticated model that incorporates individualized approaches for clients with a myriad of problems, such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse/dependence, history of trauma, emotional dysregulation, social difficulties, academic failure, school avoidance, and others.
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:
Group One at Evoke's Wilderness Program in Central Oregon is at it again. Another adventure outing. This time we went rock climbing at Smith Rock State Park.