Wilderness therapy is an emerging field of psychotherapy that makes use of the outdoor environment to stimulate personal growth, positive transformation, as well as building of self-worth as a form of therapy for cognitive behavior. While there are many individual wilderness therapy programs as there as many practitioners, they all have this common thread about nature as some powerful force of balance and change in helping people who are struggling to overcome life’s challenges.
The traditional approach of counseling is revised to be more applicable in an outdoor ambiance, whether it is doing horticultural tasks or exploring the wilderness either on foot or through horseback riding.
The together of the person with other people and the bigger world is strengthened in these situations while at the same time encouraging self-reflection without the disruptions of contemporary living like cell phones or TV. As such, wilderness therapy has become an invaluable approach of therapy together with the usual therapies for addiction, anxiety, depression, and other behavioral obsessions.
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On the other hand, a good number of wilderness therapy programs are more geared toward young adults and teenagers who seem unable to face up to the demands of growing up. The need to stand out in school, peer pressure, drugs, family problems, along with numerous other demands are particularly mind-boggling to young adults who by now are stressed out by the innate transformation caused by puberty itself.
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Wilderness treatment centers are nothing like boot camps used by families as intervention for susceptible teens or adolescents who manifest undisciplined behavior in trying to regain authority over him/or her.
The style of behavior modification, which is typically used in boot camps, are a lot more hostile and are patterned after the rigid discipline in training camps for military recruits. Some are actually run by state as a rehabilitation center for criminal offenders so they get themselves in trouble ever again. Boot camps that operate privately and aim at helping troubled teenagers use a similar approach and rooted as well on an environment of strict compulsory discipline.
Some people consider wildness therapy as synonymous to boot camps, yet their resemblance is rather superficial. Boot camps, although it may be found in a similar rugged environment, tend to adopt some uniform approach in the way they encourage self-respect and self-discipline.
Wilderness therapy, on the other hand, typically uses a more personalized or individualistic approach, instructing people to change how they think of challenging situations in order to encourage them to make positive decisions.