In researching treatment methods for addiction, you might have come across the term adventure therapy and wondered what it meant. Well, it’s exactly what it sounds like! Read on to learn more about adventure therapy programs and their benefits.
What is adventure therapy?
Adventure therapy, not to be confused with wilderness therapy, is a form of psychotherapy that uses nature, community, and physical exercise to improve physical health and social, spiritual, and psychological well-being. It has been noted as a powerful treatment and healing process for those struggling with mental health disorders and substance abuse.
You can equate it to experiential therapy or education, where students learn by experiencing things for themselves. Adventure therapy teaches self-confidence, problem-solving, emotional regulation, and coping skills.
An adventure therapy program can include hiking, canoeing, rock climbing, mountain biking, doing ropes courses, and other group activities outdoors.
What is wilderness therapy?
Adventure therapy usually entails intense physical activity. In contrast, wilderness therapy is more focused on just being in nature. This would involve living in nature in tents or cabins and doesn’t necessarily include physical activity.
Benefits of adventure therapy
There is an endless list of ways adventure therapy or wilderness therapy can help you in your recovery journey. Here is a list of some of the benefits of adventure therapy.
Nature helps improve mental health issues
Countless studies have shown that being in nature positively affects mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression, and natural environments are calming. Those with addiction and alcoholism usually also suffer from mental health disorders, so any time in nature is beneficial when treating addiction.
It can be a form of group therapy or family therapy
Adventure therapy activities are used for groups and family members to come together and develop stronger relationships. This form of therapy can be beneficial for individuals going through recovery alone to build a community or for families to come together with their loved ones struggling with addiction in support.
Either way, adventure therapy’s physical activities in a group have significant benefits for addiction treatment.
It builds self-confidence and encourages identity development
Many times, addiction and substance abuse occur because of low self-esteem. Adventure therapy helps those with addiction rebuild their sense of self by helping them break out of their comfort zones and achieve things they never thought they could.
Spending time doing strenuous hikes, white water rafting, rock climbing, and other challenging activities aids in personal growth, especially for young adults. A positive outlook and a greater sense of self are common when people frequently utilize outdoor therapy and activities as coping strategies. Such activities also help to build self-awareness and self-efficacy.
It builds a community of support and social skills
The biggest thing in a successful future for recovery is the healing power of support. Though the physical challenges of adventure therapy are beneficial on their own, the community that group activities can build helps people struggling with addiction keep their sobriety long-term.
Cooperative activities are a tried and true way to build relationships, communication skills, and meaningful connections. Such activities during adventure therapy also help build social and other life skills.
Builds coping strategies to prevent relapse
Relapse normally occurs because people struggling with addiction haven’t developed the right coping skills when they feel the itch to use again. Developing new behaviors and habits, they can fall back on is immensely important in the recovery process.
Many addicts find relief in adventure therapy because it releases stress and energy from which they can feel a different sense of adrenaline. Most importantly, it is a positive alternative to negative influences. Adventure activities and therapy produce amazing results in this sense during the treatment process.
Adventure Therapy Program with Next Step Recovery
Fight addiction with fun. Our outdoor adventure therapy for men program focuses on helping men in recovery find joy in sobriety and other parts of life far away from their addictions.
Adventure and outdoor therapy help make the aftermath of addiction feel less brutal in everyday life. It is far more effective than traditional therapy for addicts, giving people struggling with addiction hope and optimism about the future.
Our patients have a chance to enjoy watersports, paintball, high ropes courses, hikes through the majestic Asheville area, and more.
Get in touch with Next Step Recovery
Ready to experience the benefits of adventure therapy programs? Get started by reaching out to our caring team at Next Step Recovery.