DARIEN, Conn. -- Wilderness therapy has fast become a common outlet for troubled adolescents and young adults looking to restart their lives. Everyone knows getting fresh air is important, but what about this treatment has proved so effective?
"Wilderness therapy is a behavioral treatment program, typically using wilderness expeditions as a type of therapeutic intervention," said Jill Hauk of New Life House, a recovery community for young men. "The goal of wilderness therapy programs is to help teach individuals the importance of self-respect and self-reliance, while at the same time helping them in identifying underlying issues."
While in wilderness therapy, individuals are confronted with the reality of their destructive behavior and placed in an environment where they are able to educate themselves on their issues. This process helps bring about an experience that opens the eyes of residents to a life of recovery and success.
While leading a sober lifestyle can be difficult for individuals at first, New Life House's program helps build self-esteem and can help form a great foundation for long-term recovery. "First and foremost, wilderness therapy is a huge escape from the distractions and potential pitfalls of residential treatment," said Hauk. "A lot of individuals may be tempted to simply leave if given the opportunity to do so. Wilderness therapy aims to eliminate this distraction altogether."
A form of residential treatment, wilderness therapy is only one aspect of New Life House's recovery program. When coupled with a structured long-term aftercare, wilderness therapy can provide the best chance of success for adolescents and young adults.
"Changing not only the environment but the peer group is an integral part of introducing a new lifestyle, and wilderness therapy excels in this respect," said Hauk. Individuals are often placed with other peers in their age group who are also suffering from similar issues. This helps them identify their problems with others who are also seeking a new lifestyle in recovery."
For more information on New Life House, click here.