There is perhaps no venture that combines coping skills, self-learning, and
therapeutic insight in as hands-on and vivid a way as adventure therapy.
To see in new ways, under new circumstances, with budding understandings, is
one of the most effective catalysts for building new neural pathways, and
cultivating new aspects of one’s identity- both crucial for learning to live free of
So how exactly is this vibrant offering defined? What constitutes the most
effective approach, in the realm of adventure therapy? And what can someone
enter into a program such as Oasis Recovery, with a thriving adventure
therapy component, except when participating in adventure therapy? Well, fasten
your life vests folks, we are going to explore this exciting world of adventure and
healing and come away with new hope for ourselves, or our loved ones, who
get to take part in this cutting edge path to freedom.
How Adventure therapy takes you into your You-niverse
There are diverse modalities that are often grouped together with the field of adventure therapy, specifically wilderness therapy and outdoor experiential therapy. All of these therapies have a lot in common and utilize the natural environment, wilderness, and adventure, to practice facing and overcoming psychological and emotional challenges. All this is done within a safe supportive group, and with a trained facilitator.
Adventure therapy often involves spending time in nature, which is healing within itself (see our blog on the power of nature here.) Along with nature expeditions, adventure therapy has also evolved to include many other types of excursions and adventures such as: ropes courses, rock climbing, hot air balloon rides, white water rafting, and other activities involving risk and emotional challenge.
There are a lot of aspects of these experiences that strengthen shifts in internal processing and self-awareness. The act of being out of a normal routine in new environments, with new challenges helps to heighten the impact of new perspectives. Without the pull of familiar touchstones for old ways of thinking, there is greater ease in the opening to new ways of seeing yourself and the world around you. Some other examples of benefits that are abundant in this form of therapy are:
- Cooperation and team work, which create a unique platform for strengthening communication, authentic expression, and identifying needs
- Goal-based activities and group processing, which create a hands-on environment in which to put into practice new learning from personal insights and facilitator-led discussion
- Challenge-infused activities, which provide an opportunity for participants to explore their strengths and weaknesses in a safe, supportive environment
- Fun! Which aids the brain to work with greater clarity and ease
The brain functions best in states of heightened positive emotion. Incorporating activities that boost mood, and increase positive brain chemistry, can assist in learning new ways of being in the world, and can help heighten self-awareness, and boost confidence
What to Expect when Adventuring Therapeutically
There are many elements that contribute to a thoroughly enriching and uplifting adventure therapy session. First off, you can expect to be led by a trained facilitator, either a therapist or a certified substance abuse counselor. They will be able to help facilitate effective group processing before and after adventuring to prepare for the practical application of certain goals and therapeutic endeavors throughout the venture. They also help group members glean insights and track progress afterward.
In many cases, there will be elements of risk involved, whether facing fears of heights on mountain tops, or staying afloat in rapid river rafting, the presence of challenge and the support of the facilitator, and the group, will bring out strengths and weaknesses in a vivid and empowering way, and allow for greater self-awareness. All this will call for a powerful amount of compassion, as diverse individual processes surface and unconscious habitual responses to life’s challenges become more clear.
Evidence has shown a significant improvement in individual growth for those who have participated in adventure therapy. These improvements have included:
- Increased maturity/coping ease with challenges • Greater resilience • More self-discipline, and conscious decision making • Greater self-esteem
And for those of us who have suffered from the lack of these qualities, a lack that abounds in addiction and alcoholism, we know how welcome the return of these personal gems is.
At Oasis Recovery, we recognize the importance of all of these benefits in contributing to a successful and thriving recovery program. We incorporate vibrant adventure therapy sessions as a part of our program, for all who are able to participate. We have heard from our community firsthand the power of these sessions in their personal growth and recovery. If you are in need of treatment, that includes adventure therapy, for your own addiction or alcoholism, click here. If your loved one is in need of treatment, complete with a powerful adventure therapy component, click here.
We would be honored to be a part of your recovery journey, and wish you the very best in all your adventuring in life.