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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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

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

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

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

— Russell Murray, Counselor in Asheville, NC

The most important thing that happens during Outdoor (Wilderness) Therapy is that I accept you just as you are and hear and understand what you want & 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

Whether online or in person, Flower has a wealth of guided exercises for how to connect through nature in a healing way.

— Lori Flower, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in Boulder, CO

Prior to earning my masters in social work, I worked as a field guide in a wilderness therapy program. I am aligned with and familiar with aspects of the wilderness therapy model and currently work with several clients who have attended wilderness therapy programs in the past. I stay connected and up to date on research and professional development opportunities within the field of wilderness and adventure therapy.

— Julia Stifler, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in North Bennington, VT

I am still very much deep in learning and always will be in this field. It is important for my clients that they have a general idea of where they come from, what came on the land before them, and what is there now. I want them to have these things in mind when we are out on the land so that they can orient themselves and learn from the rich history, bio-life, and experience that they have during our sessions.

— Ariella Hubbard, Licensed Professional Counselor in Wheat Ridge, CO