Wilderness therapy programs are usually relatively short term courses, but they can have a definite impact on the teenager who’s behaviour has deteriorated. Typically while in the program the teen sincerely feels the need to change and may even admit that he or she needs to change their behaviors. In some cases educational consultants will recommend a wilderness program to prepare a teen for a long term placement. Sometimes a wilderness program alone is not long enough to make lasting changes in the teen’s life. These outdoor therapy programs emphasize behavioral and emotional change. Wilderness therapy programs typically range from two weeks to three months. The typical cost for a wilderness program can be in the region of $8,000 to $20,000.
How can Wilderness Therapy benefit your child?
Wilderness therapy camps teach teenagers cooperation, self-reliance, and responsibility for personal behaviour. Teens learn how to work within a group and respond to positive peer pressure from other students in the group who have already experienced the first few levels or phases of the program. Parents report higher levels of self-esteem, a stronger sense of personal responsibility, a renewed sense of accomplishment and the ability to achieve. They also experience improved behaviour within the family setting once their child has returned home.
The emphasis on behavioural change through well-established therapeutic techniques makes the wilderness therapy experience an affective program for a troubled teen. Wilderness programs can be a good short-term program during which therapists and parents can evaluate a child’s continuing needs, possibly recommending continuation in a boarding school or some other long term placement. A lot of experts would recommend them as a good alternative to a boot camp for teens.
As most of us know there is a lot to be said for being in the great outdoors and experiencing nature. There is a tendency in this setting to have more quiet time for the children to reflect on what is really important, and what course in life they are currently on. Quiet time around the camp fire at night is almost a spiritual experience and a great time for teaching a tired youth. However, there is always the danger of extreme weather conditions, and the problems encompassed therein. On the other hand wilderness programs have had a place in the overall treatment plan for many years, and there are definite benefits from having a teen get back to basics in this way.