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What Is Adventure Therapy?

a young woman finds adventure therapy highly beneficial to her recovery process

Numerous different therapies exist, each with a specific purpose and goal. One therapy many people don’t know about is called adventure therapy. So what is adventure therapy? Adventure therapy is based in experience, often ones that are grounded in the outdoors. Clinicians tend to recognize three distinct types of adventure therapy, though each is united by a shared set of principles.

Learn more about mental health treatment near you in Georgia by contacting Serenity Grove at 844.904.3485.

What Is Adventure Therapy?

Adventure therapy is experiential and based in nature. There are three main types of adventure therapy: wilderness therapy, adventure-based therapy, and long-term residential camping. Each of these is explained below.

1. Wilderness Therapy

Wilderness therapy tends to take place in remote settings. Small groups go camping and hiking for multiple days at a time. Oftentimes, wilderness therapy is modeled after the Outward Bound model, which is designed to help people overcome self-limiting beliefs.

2. Adventure-Based Therapy

Adventure-based therapy tends to be localized to wherever treatment is provided. As a result, it is geared toward people who are already attending residential or outpatient treatment through a professional treatment center. This form of adventure therapy may still take place in nature but could just as often be something like going rock climbing at an indoor facility.

3. Long-Term Residential Camping

As the name implies, long-term residential camping puts a group of people together in a shared experience for a long time. This could be extended camping, but it could also be something like sailing a clipper ship for a period of time. Since this type of therapy involves the same group of people, often isolated together for days or weeks, it emphasizes developing positive peer culture and interpersonal conflict resolution.

Adventure Therapy Techniques

Adventure therapy relies on seven core techniques. These are commonly shared across each of the three forms of adventure therapy that were described in the previous section. The seven techniques used in adventure therapy are:

  • Action-orientation
  • Unfamiliar environment
  • The climate of change through positive stress
  • Assessment of personal capabilities
  • Small group development
  • Focus on successful behaviors rather than deficits
  • Altered role of the therapist since the therapist participates in activities alongside clients

Adventure therapy helps treat a wide variety of issues. Anxiety, depression, trauma, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, and more can all be treated using adventure therapy.

As an experiential therapy, one of the most significant benefits of adventure therapy is that it promotes self-efficacy. During adventure therapy, people are forced to face challenges, participate, and overcome those challenges. Often, this occurs through teamwork, which helps people develop critical interpersonal skills.

How to Find Adventure Therapy in Athens, GA at Serenity Grove

Does adventure therapy sound like a good fit for your healing journey? If so, there are a few things you should consider when looking for adventure therapy near you. First, adventure therapy is typically not covered by insurance. Moreover, depending on the type of adventure therapy, it can be a real-time commitment. Something like long-term residential camping is not something you should jump into without careful forethought.

Another thing to keep in mind is that not all adventure therapy providers are equally high-quality. There’s a distinct difference between what qualifies as adventure therapy and just going on a hike. Consider asking the following questions when vetting an adventure therapy opportunity:

  • Does the experience treat the issue I need treatment for?
  • Are the skills they are teaching applicable in the real world?
  • Is the provider a member of the Outdoor Behavioral Health Council, which accredits adventure therapy?

If you can confidently answer yes to all of those questions, chances are it is worth going for it and engaging in adventure therapy. Learn more about adventure therapy options near you by calling 844.904.3485 or filling out our online contact form.