Confidence Building Training Courses – Adventure Therapy
Adventure therapy encourages strategic risk-taking and personal exploration in a safe, supervised environment through adventure activities such as:
- High and Low Ropes Courses
- Wilderness Therapy Expeditions
- Rock Climbing/Rappelling
- White Water Rafting
Specific activities are planned to achieve particular treatment goals. Activities may take place in a group with peers, family members or colleagues, and often include team-building initiatives and cooperative games.
The unfamiliar setting and perceived risk involved in adventure therapy quickly bring a wide range of feelings to the surface, such as fear, mistrust and anxiety. Therapists can then address these emotions in the moment and discuss healthier ways to cope.
By challenging themselves and overcoming perceived obstacles, participants become more confident in their abilities. In many cases, a counselor or therapist will process the experience with the individual or group to discuss the ways in which the lessons learned translate into life at school, work and home.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF ADVENTURE THERAPY?
Adventure therapy is a form of experiential education, or learning through experience, that can benefit both adults and adolescents. The individual that facilitates adventure therapy typically models healthy and appropriate behaviors and guides participants to do the same.
Research suggests that adventure therapy offers benefits in the following areas:
- Teamwork and Cooperation
- Willingness to Trust and Accept Help
- Relationship Building
- Fine Motor Skills
- Attitude and Outlook
- Mindfulness (being in the present moment)
- Mind-Body Connection
The goal of adventure therapy is to bring about positive behavioral changes by helping participants recognize the natural consequences of their actions. Because adventure therapy takes people outside their comfort zone, participants must commit their full effort and attention on the task at hand. This helps them become more aware of their behaviors, thoughts and feelings, which empowers them to change their responses.
Participants also receive immediate feedback during adventure therapy. A therapist can point out problematic behaviors in the moment and suggest more effective alternatives. For this reason, adventure therapy can be particularly effective in breaking through the denial associated with substance abuse and other mental health disorders.
In a group setting, adventure therapy can help a therapist understand group dynamics and family roles. The therapeutic process can help participants address any negative behaviors and communication styles that accompany those roles.
Adventure therapy often takes place outdoors where a combination of beautiful scenery and adrenaline-pumping activities can help individuals discover new pastimes and interests that make them feel excited about life. This can result in an improved attitude and outlook.
WHAT CONDITIONS/DISORDERS DOES ADVENTURE THERAPY TREAT?
Adventure therapy is offered in a number of therapeutic programs for teens as well as some drug rehabilitation and mental health treatment programs for adults. Research suggests that adventure therapy is useful in treating:
- Adult and Adolescent Substance Abuse
- Teens with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders
- Adolescent Conduct Disorders
- Adjudicated Youth
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Eating Disorders
- Developmental and Learning Disabilities
- Relationship and Codependency Issues
Adventure therapy is also used to build trust between therapist and patient and a sense of cohesion among families and other groups. It is most effective when combined with other therapeutic approaches such as psychotherapy.