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

My Masters degree is in Transpersonal Wilderness Therapy. I integrate elements of nature and the outdoors into the therapeutic process in a safe and approachable way for each client. I specialize in working with traumas that are based in nature and working with survivors of the Troubled Teen Industry.

— Elena Woughter, Licensed Professional Counselor Candidate in Boulder, CO

Retreats are my favorite unique delivery system for therapy. It's intensive, accelerated, focused on providing all the safe and soft places for a person to dig their deepest to connect with their inner most wounded inner child and hurt places. When you include unplugging, solitude, forest bathing, mother nature supported, gentleness of all that is natural and organic - including delicious nurturing food prepared for you with love and a hot tub under the stars for starters.

— Diane Adams, Clinical Social Worker in Alberton, MT

My research in graduate school focused on the healing powers of being outdoors. I have an extensive background in working in Wilderness Education and have seen the impact of being outside on the mental health of clients and for myself. Wilderness Therapy is one of many modalities that increases our time and experiences in the out of doors.

— Marie Graven, Counselor in Swannanoa, NC

As a clinician, I offer walk-and-talk therapy in natural settings to clients who express interest in alternative therapeutic modalities. I have often found that clients are able to open up in new and insightful ways when we are walking side-by-side, and I believe that nature holds such power to heal. I only offer these services to folks living in Santa Cruz County.

— Sienna Forest, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist

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

The most important thing that happens during Outdoor (Wilderness) Therapy is that I accept you just as you are and hear & understand what you want and need. Amazing things are happening to you when you are outside. The Great Outdoors is a healing tonic for our busy brains. Spending time in nature is linked to both cognitive benefits and improvements in mood, mental health and emotional well-being. Combining nature and psychotherapy can lead to new breakthroughs, insights and understanding.

— Heather Kaminski, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in ,

I have experience working at a wilderness treatment center. I currently provide outdoor walk-and-talk sessions to incorporate nature.

— Hannah Ellis, Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Nature is a great mirror for humans, since we too are nature. It is spiritual by nature and teaches us how to live abundantly and in alignment with ourselves. Nature doesn't need humans to survive but we most definitely need nature. Everything is alive and well in nature so we have a lot to gain from being in relationship with all the elements of nature. If life feels out of balance nature can help you restore the love that felt lost.

— Robert Watterson, Licensed Professional Counselor Candidate in Black Hawk, CO