Wilderness Therapy

Wilderness therapy, sometimes known as outdoor behavioral healthcare, is an experiential, adventure-based therapeutic treatment style that takes place in a wilderness setting. Wilderness therapy is typically targeted at adolescents and young adults and uses expeditions into the wilderness as a way to address behavioral issues or mental health problems. Wilderness therapy is used in both individual and group settings and its primary goal is usually behavior modification and/or self-improvement. Participants develop communication skills, self-confidence, learn how to work in groups and how to rely on their own knowledge and strengths. Think this approach might be right for you (or a young person in your care)? Reach out to one of TherapyDen’s wilderness therapy experts today.

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Meet the specialists

 

I find great benefit in walk and talk therapy, gardening and activity based therapies.

— Sarah Vogt, Clinical Social Worker in West Bend, WI
 

I worked as a field guide at a wilderness therapy program for adolescents struggling with a variety of mental health and behavioral issues. In my years working in the field, I rose through the ranks to become a Master Field Instructor, all the while developing a passion for the therapeutic benefits of nature therapy with adolescent boys and eventually working as a therapist at the same program.

— Josh Gorelick, Addictions Counselor in Charlotte, NC

I worked in this field and saw positive results for children as well as families.

— Russell Murray, Counselor in Asheville, NC
 

I have a background in wilderness therapy and outdoor behavioral health. I have hopes of beginning the first active wilderness therapy program for teens (not counting substance use programs) in the state of Virginia within the next 5 years.

— David Gosling, Licensed Professional Counselor

My introduction to providing therapy was in the field of Adventure/Wilderness Therapy. This highly engaging method of therapy provides clients with real-life opportunities to learn and practice various mental health skills. Adventure Therapy can be a fantastic tool for children and adolescents who are reluctant to do traditional talk therapy, but has benefits for anyone who chooses to engage in this method. You don't have to be a nature lover to benefit from Adventure Therapy sessions.

— Megan Kochheiser, Licensed Clinical Social Worker
 

Research is now piling up supporting what those of us who have loved the outdoors for centuries already knew: that time in nature helps calm and regulate our nervous system. I incorporate simple nature-based exercises and wilderness therapy into my work with clients in a way that supports nervous system regulation, calms stress hormones, and boosts focus/concentration and mood. This looks differently for each client, but could be as simple as holding a session outdoors or going for a walk.

— Becky Howie, Licensed Professional Counselor in Boulder, CO

Work in nature enables us to use metaphor and experiencing to heal and more deeply understand ourselves. Its benefits are innumerable. I offer counseling combined with time in nature to provide you with increased benefit. We will collaboratively design a treatment plan that brings more nature into your life in ways that work for you. This can be accomplished through walk and talk therapy in the forest, sitting in a peaceful setting by the pond, or in almost any way we can imagine!

— Sabrina Merz, Counselor in Boulder, CO
 

I have 9+ years of experience within outdoor education, wilderness therapy guiding, nature connection, and primitive skills. I have worked within a variety of different settings and system configurations to do this work. For example, I have facilitated a weekend of family therapy while camping in the San Juan Mountains and I have guided a day hike for a group of youth activists on retreat in the Sierra Nevada in California.

— Mary Beth Johnson, Licensed Professional Counselor Candidate in Denver, CO