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.