Wilderness therapy is a new field of psychotherapy and a type of cognitive behavior renewal program that uses the outdoors to inspire personal growth and positive change, and the building of a person’s self-esteem. While there are many individual wilderness therapy programs as there as many practitioners, they all have this common thread about nature as some powerful force of balance and change in helping people who are struggling to overcome life’s challenges.
Conventional counseling is customized to be more relevant in an out-of-door setting, which can include activities such as gardening as well as taking a walk or horseback riding to explore the wilderness.
The individual is given the chance to interconnect with the world beyond and other individuals, and this interconnectedness is reinforced in such settings while simultaneously encouraging self-reflection in the absence of disturbances of present day living like cell phones, television, etc. As such, wilderness therapy has become an invaluable approach of therapy together with the usual therapies for addiction, anxiety, depression, and other behavioral obsessions.
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However, many of the wilderness therapy clinics have a tendency to be focused more on teens and juveniles who are trying to overcome the difficulties of growing up but are finding it difficult to do. Peer pressure, family issues, drugs, the need to outdo others in school, and many other issues can be too much for a young adult to adult who is already anxious of the changes that naturally comes with growing up itself.
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Wilderness treatment clinics and boot camps are not one and the same; boot camps are a means of intervention that families seek out to try to recover control over their young child or teenager who is behaving wildly.
Behavior modification boot camp style is much more violent and the approaches are a version of the strict discipline of armed forces base camps. Some of these boot camps are operated by the government in their efforts to rehabilitate criminals to prevent them from going back to their previous way of living which was why they got into trouble to begin with. Boot camps that operate privately and aim at helping troubled teenagers use a similar approach and rooted as well on an environment of strict compulsory discipline.
Some associate wilderness therapy to boot camps, but the two are actually have superficial similarities. A boot camp may also be located in a rocky environment, but it its approach in encouraging self esteem as well as self-discipline seems to be one and the same.
Wilderness therapy, however, usually takes a more personal and customized approach and teaches people on how to alter their manner of thinking about demanding situations to effect more positive decision choices.