In a fast-paced world filled with constant stressors, treating anxiety in adolescents has become a critical concern for many families. The traditional methods of therapy and medication have proven effective for some, but there exists an alternative approach that is gaining increasing recognition - the healing power of nature. Nature-based therapy, also known as ecotherapy is an innovative and holistic approach to treating anxiety that harnesses the rejuvenating forces of the natural world, and is the basis for what Evoke does. Immersing oneself in nature can provide profound relief from anxiety, allowing space for other emotions to surface. The natural world is an antidote to the relentless stimuli and pressures of contemporary living. When individuals immerse themselves in nature, their senses are recalibrated, and their minds can begin to find solace.
When eventually your child’s time in the wilderness is at an end, many feelings will pop up for you. This could include, and of course is not limited to, feelings of relief (we did it!), pride (they did it!), a variety of concerns about next steps (did we pick the right one, will they engage, what if they stay upset?), as well as fears about them coming home or sadness that they are not able to at this time.
I like basketball. Recently, while looking at some news on ESPN, I saw a rumor that the Los Angeles Lakers were considering a trade package to send Russell Westbrook out to the Hornets in exchange for a package that centered around the acquisition of Gordon Hayward. As a Celtics fan who lived through the disappointing Gordon Hayward/Kyrie Irving era, I feel confident in reiterating the title here: Gordon Hayward is not the answer to your problems.
After being on hold for more than a year because of Covid precautions, parent field visits have returned to Evoke. And with that, they have once again become a source of many questions on my weekly parent phone calls preceding the trips. The most common ones often include “What can we expect them to be like?”, "What if they ask about the future?”, and usually some variation of “What if it doesn’t go well?”
It is my sincere hope that many of you who are reading this looked into what research that has been done about the field of Wilderness Therapy (WT), and the methods and outcomes, in an attempt to determine if this would benefit your child. In doing so, you likely came across the terms Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare (OBH) and National Alliance of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP). Partially I hope this so that you are more confident and educated consumers, and partially so that your mind may have been put at ease about your decision.
When you have a child in Wilderness Therapy, communication can be fraught with peril at the best of times. Many parents have told me they agonize over word choice, how to phrase certain things, and where to switch in their letters from casual interaction to addressing more serious topics. The holidays only add to this stress, as the feelings of separation, nostalgia, and even guilt can pile up in a way that they would not otherwise. This can result in letters or other communication that is not as effective as it could be. Conversely, it is easy for your child to read into letters looking for that key hidden bit that hints at your intentions for the holidays and potentially bringing them home. Below are a few simple tips that can help alleviate unintended miscommunication while allowing space for all involved to experience their own emotions. It is always important to be intentional with your communication, and arguably more so at this time of year.
Extinction burst is a term used to describe a fairly common phenomena in therapeutic treatment. Namely, when the therapist, program, or even individual tries to stop an unwanted behavior by no longer reinforcing it, that behavior will reassert itself for a time, and can increase in intensity before it goes away. I believe many Evoke parents will be able to relate to this, and have potentially experienced it without knowing it at the time.