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 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 wrote my dissertation on wilderness therapy with youth at risk. I believe strongly in nature as a healing modality. I try to incorporate that into the work I do with all my clients.

— Rami Vissell, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Aptos, CA

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

Seaside Life Services offers Outdoor/Walk-Talk Psychotherapy (Spring through Fall). Outdoor/Walk-Talk Psychotherapy may involve sitting outdoors on a bench/chair or walking in a public place such as a park while addressing therapeutic goals and topics. Schedule your appointment today! Available to those who work/reside in Solano County. Call 925-414-1581.

— Natalie Matsche, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Fairfield, CA

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 which has been shown to have positive impacts on a variety of both Mental health and Physical health conditions.

— Marie Graven, Counselor in Swannanoa, NC

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.

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

I offer walk-and-talk therapy sessions in beautiful environments. I believe that nature has calming benefits and moving the body while talking about difficult topics can help with anxiety.

— Jennifer Jolly, Counselor in Vestavia Hills, AL

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

— Russell Murray, Counselor in Asheville, NC

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