How and why it’s so effective
Wilderness therapy, also known as “Outdoor Education” and “Outdoor Therapeutic Programming” is an emerging intervention and treatment option that helps adolescents & young adults to overcome emotional, psychological, adjustment and addiction problems. It is highly effective in treating teens that are struggling with Internet addiction: video game addiction and obsessive Internet use. Increasing the public’s awareness of the benefits of wilderness therapy is essential, because it has been shown to create change and improvement more rapidly than conventional treatment.
The Pacific Quest wilderness treatment program is specifically equipped to address the psychological and emotional issues behind Internet addiction and they provide an extensive individualized wellness plan for each adolescent or young adult that creates life-changing experiences.
Pacific Quest is actually the only outdoor therapy program that uses Horticultural Therapy as part of a comprehensive treatment plan. They believe in the power of horticulture and its related metaphors. “Horticultural therapy utilizes organic gardening in conjunction with proven therapeutic modalities to meet specific therapeutic treatment goals. Pacific Quest is the only outdoor therapy program to utilize this cutting-edge, client-centered, treatment model to enhance social, cognitive, and physiological functioning with the primary goal of improving health and inspiring motivation for change.”
The “Who” and “What” of wilderness therapy
Part of what makes the wilderness therapy program at Pacific Quest work so well for the treatment of Internet addiction is that Pacific Quest is unique in its multi-faceted list of qualified clinicians and specialists. All clinicians have a rich background in wilderness therapy and are coming from a variety of settings and experiences, The staff members range from – social workers, psychiatrists, therapists, educational consultants and nurses, to paramedics, wellness assistants and even a naturopathic doctor.
At Pacific Quest, a variety of therapeutic methods and evidence-based modalities are used to help teens and young adults with Internet addictions to move towards solution-oriented approaches for healthier functioning.
- DBT (Dialectical Behavior Treatment).
- CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy).
- ART (Aggression Replacement Therapy).
- American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) model treatment.
- IBSR (Integration Based Stress Reduction).
- EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing).
How wilderness works
First and foremost, when the tools for Internet addictions are removed and teens or young adults are placed in a pristine wilderness environment, they allow themselves to focus on the underlying reasons why they have become compulsive. Without the computers, televisions, video games, and other distractions they are left with vast open spaces and the stillness of nature to reflect on their lives, their mistakes, and their relationships at home.
Many have never experienced one-on-one time with nature, or have been locked in their bedrooms where they play games long into the night. The back to basics approach of wilderness therapy helps teens shed their destructive learned behaviors and start fresh. Essential lessons, healing and growth can now take place.
From the beginning to the end of their treatment, teens and young adults are guided as they go through the wilderness experience, providing structure, boundaries, nurturing and healing all along the way.
In the wilderness they learn:
- Cooperation, communication and teamwork
- To control their own behaviors and responses
- To accept rules and boundaries
- To foster meaningful relationships with others
- “Real world” tasks and skills
- Appreciation for simple things: water, food, a warm place to sleep, friends and family
The beauty of the enrichment, growth and healing that takes place in wilderness therapy can be witnessed, as teens begin to learn skills like survival, self-care, coping mechanisms, and personal responsibility. They begin to develop and adopt a profound sense of confidence. They become strong, physically and mentally, and learn to tackle each challenge as it comes. By rising to the wilderness challenge, teens discover that they are more than capable of thriving in any environment, even without the comforts of home.
Wilderness therapy is a powerful experience for everyone involved. By the end of their outdoor program at Pacific Quest, teens and young adults have developed a strong sense of accomplishment and personal growth. In conclusion, they are well equipped to move on to the next stage of their journey in life.