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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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

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

— Russell Murray, Counselor in Asheville, NC

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

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

I believe that nature is one of the best healers we have. A solid relationship with nature, including our own wild nature, is conducive to total health. The wilderness, which can be found even between cracks in the sidewalk, can teach us so much. Some of the best I've ever received came from a tree after it listened to me vent. I can't often work with clients in truly wild spaces, so I try to incorporate natural wisdom in the office or by taking walks along the creek outside the office.

— Gary Howard, Licensed Professional Counselor in Boulder, CO

❋ Restoring/strengthening relationship with nature. ❋ Connecting to self.

— Nica Ayala, Associate Professional Counselor

17 years experience facilitating groups in wilderness settings (backpacking, canoeing, earth-based ceremonies)

— Bryce Downey, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Albuquerque, NM