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Topic: Wilderness therapy programs safe and effective< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 28 2013, 12:31 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Wilderness therapy programs less risky than daily life, research finds
March 28, 2013 in Health


Adventure therapy, described as the prescriptive use of wilderness adventure experiences to improve the mental health of clients, primarily serves adolescents and is often seen as a treatment of "last resort" for these youth, who typically present with three or more dysfunctional behaviors such as depression, substance abuse, and suicidal ideologies. Gass, a leading expert in the field, estimates that there are more than 200 such programs nationwide ranging from multimillion dollar programs to individual counselors who might informally take a group or class into the woods.

"Driving a car is more dangerous than hiking in the wilderness, particularly with trained staff," Gass says. "These programs remove adolescents from other accepted yet higher-risk situations like driving."


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 28 2013, 12:37 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I can testify it is good therapy.  One person I know very well was greatly helped in his struggle to kick heroin by a backpacking trip up the Hoh River.  It's not magic, but it is surprising how helpfull it is for such things.

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 28 2013, 12:42 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(RumiDude @ Mar. 28 2013, 9:37 am)
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I can testify it is good therapy.  One person I know very well was greatly helped in his struggle to kick heroin by a backpacking trip up the Hoh River.  It's not magic, but it is surprising how helpfull it is for such things.

Rumi

I think it has a lot to do with forcing your body and brain to perform in unfamiliar ways. The physical and mental excertion it takes to manipulate your way in a wilderness situations promotes new ways of thinking.

Plus, the rhythm of walking for long distances allows for introspection. Something that is hard to achieve when distractions abound.


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 28 2013, 12:50 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Additionally, it removes the person from their everyday environment and thus allows new perspectives.  And not only is it a new environment but it is a beautiful one as well.  There are just so many plusses.

If you consider how revitalizing BPing is for us nearly normal people, it should not surprise us how therapudic it can be for those struggling.

Rumi      <~~~~~nearly normal


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 28 2013, 12:55 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I know backpacking has gotten me through many a failed relationships and a few personal paradigm shifts.

Organizations like the Boy Scouts would probably be more effective if the philosophy they espouse focused more on how to survive situations rather than how to live a "proper" lifestyle.


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 28 2013, 2:00 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The wilderness hasn't killed me yet.  As far as I know, I'll never be able to say otherwise.
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 28 2013, 2:12 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

It makes perfect sense to me.  I have always thought that troubled youth would be well served with living in the wilderness for a month or two, and no contact with their peers at school or with the electronic world.

Look how successful NOLS is with mostly normal people.


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 28 2013, 2:19 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(desert dweller @ Mar. 28 2013, 12:55 pm)
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Organizations like the Boy Scouts would probably be more effective if the philosophy they espouse focused more on how to survive situations rather than how to live a "proper" lifestyle.

When you get to the grass roots of Scouting, the Troop, that's what we do.

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 28 2013, 3:34 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Chuck D @ Mar. 28 2013, 11:19 am)
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(desert dweller @ Mar. 28 2013, 12:55 pm)
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Organizations like the Boy Scouts would probably be more effective if the philosophy they espouse focused more on how to survive situations rather than how to live a "proper" lifestyle.
When you get to the grass roots of Scouting, the Troop, that's what we do.

As a former Boy Scout and church member, I actually like the idea of introducing young people to basic concepts of integrity and how to live.  Be prepared ... do a good turn daily ... the scout law ... and even the scout oath with a couple tweeks are all fine with me.  I learned outdoor skills through scouting and my church's youth group.  Both reinforced the aspects of personal integrity my parents taught me.  I wish more kids today had opportunities as I did.  BTW, my scout troop was sponsored by my church.

Where I draw the line is indocrintrinating kids with religious and social dogma.  As an atheist, I think those matters have no place in youth orgs.

Anyway, I know many men who as kids learned and experienced the outdoors through scouting and church youth groups.  My father was not much on taking us camping and such, so it was my way of learning proper skills even though many of the skills are no longer valid.  

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 28 2013, 4:00 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

While in British Columbia several years back after a long trip, Karl & I spent an evening in the shore town of Shearwater near Bella Bella.  I spent quite some time talking with a woman there of First Nations' descent, whose father was a tribal leader.

When her father was a young man (a teenager), he got on a very bad track and into serious trouble, brought before the courts on a charge of manslaughter, I think.  When time for sentencing, the tribal elders asked if they could handle the punishment internally instead of the young man being sentenced to prison and his future flushed to a life of criminal activity.  The courts eventually agreed, and released him to the judgement of the tribal elders.

The elders took him to an uninhabited forested island, with a month of basic supplies, and left him there.  A month later they stopped by to check on him, dropped more supplies (less than they had originally left), and left again.  He stayed there six months, in complete solitude with nothing but his thoughts and the practical demands of keeping himself comfortable and alive.

According to the woman with whom I was talking, he came back a changed man.  I don't doubt it.  I can think of few things that would be more healing.  These days you'd get locked up for "abandoning" a minor like that, but as a teenager old enough and big enough to kill a man in a fight, he was able to find a way (and remember the lessons of his youth) to survive.  And now he's one of the respected elders of the tribe's next generation.

I truly wish more of our judicial court system could be so thoughtful (well, it was the Canadian court system, but you get the point).

Anyhoo, it seemed an applicable story.


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 28 2013, 4:08 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(RumiDude @ Mar. 28 2013, 12:34 pm)
QUOTE

(Chuck D @ Mar. 28 2013, 11:19 am)
QUOTE

(desert dweller @ Mar. 28 2013, 12:55 pm)
QUOTE
Organizations like the Boy Scouts would probably be more effective if the philosophy they espouse focused more on how to survive situations rather than how to live a "proper" lifestyle.
When you get to the grass roots of Scouting, the Troop, that's what we do.

As a former Boy Scout and church member, I actually like the idea of introducing young people to basic concepts of integrity and how to live.  Be prepared ... do a good turn daily ... the scout law ... and even the scout oath with a couple tweeks are all fine with me.  I learned outdoor skills through scouting and my church's youth group.  Both reinforced the aspects of personal integrity my parents taught me.  I wish more kids today had opportunities as I did.  BTW, my scout troop was sponsored by my church.

Where I draw the line is indocrintrinating kids with religious and social dogma.  As an atheist, I think those matters have no place in youth orgs.

Anyway, I know many men who as kids learned and experienced the outdoors through scouting and church youth groups.  My father was not much on taking us camping and such, so it was my way of learning proper skills even though many of the skills are no longer valid.  

Rumi

True. I was thinking more of the religious dogma and "preferred" social doctrine when mentioning "a proper lifestyle".

Basic people-interaction skills such as manners and respect can provide a stong foundation for anyone. Learning them at a young age may override any prejudicial indoctrination picked up from family and peers.

I know some of you may be thinking, "It's my kid and I'll instill my beliefs if I want." Of course you can and will. No one is saying you can't. But, at least your kid will learn how to address a stranger neutrally or know it's not okay to yell out, "YOU LIE" when someone is speaking just because you don't agree with what they are saying. (Unless you're in a debate and it's one on one.)

Gee, respectful, good manners, being polite. They sound like archaic ideas long lost and disdained.


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 28 2013, 4:28 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Chuck,

We love you man. You know where we're coming from and that we of course do not exercise universal stereotypes.

"Hoods in the Woods" is wonderful. To the people that have such incredibly positive effects on the minds and spirits of troubled teens I do a whole lot more than tip the proverbial hat.

Thank you for the post DD.


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 28 2013, 5:58 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I've seen these programs in the news from time to time and always wondered if they were truly effective. I know being outdoors is good for my mental health and I find myself stressed and grouchy if I have to spend too many weekends inside.
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 28 2013, 10:53 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(big_load @ Mar. 28 2013, 1:00 pm)
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The wilderness hasn't killed me yet.  As far as I know, I'll never be able to say otherwise.

I like this.
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(GoBlueHiker @ Mar. 28 2013, 2:00 pm)
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I truly wish more of our judicial court system could be so thoughtful (well, it was the Canadian court system, but you get the point).

It really depends on the Prosecuting Attorney and the Judge.

I normally don't discuss anything directly to do with work publically, but I will share the basics of this.

I arrested a young man (17) this summer for DUI and it was his third adult DUI. Most youth I deal with are pretty respectful, this one was not...to say the least.

I worked with the pros. atty. and attended the pre-trial as I normally do in these cases. The deal that was made was a wilderness oriented rehab. I am interested in seeing how this kid turns out or if he becomes another career individual.

Honestly, I'm skeptical, but I hope it works out. I would have a hard time buying into using wilderness for crimes as high as manslaughter however. (pending the circumstances I guess)

But really that's what judges and attorneys are for and note that most of them are locally elected.
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 29 2013, 12:31 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(wycanislatrans @ Mar. 29 2013, 10:00 am)
QUOTE

(GoBlueHiker @ Mar. 28 2013, 2:00 pm)
QUOTE
I truly wish more of our judicial court system could be so thoughtful (well, it was the Canadian court system, but you get the point).

It really depends on the Prosecuting Attorney and the Judge.

I normally don't discuss anything directly to do with work publically, but I will share the basics of this.

I arrested a young man (17) this summer for DUI and it was his third adult DUI. Most youth I deal with are pretty respectful, this one was not...to say the least.

I worked with the pros. atty. and attended the pre-trial as I normally do in these cases. The deal that was made was a wilderness oriented rehab. I am interested in seeing how this kid turns out or if he becomes another career individual.

Honestly, I'm skeptical, but I hope it works out. I would have a hard time buying into using wilderness for crimes as high as manslaughter however. (pending the circumstances I guess)

But really that's what judges and attorneys are for and note that most of them are locally elected.

I appreciate the perspective.  It's a lot more thoughtful and in depth than what I can offer.  To be fair, I don't know any further specifics of the case I was describing there. Only what I'd heard from his daughter, 40-ish years after the fact. I'm certain there were a lot more details involved than I know, and quite a bit lost in translation over the years. I'm not saying every criminal case should just "send 'em into the woods" as an effective cure-all. Just, there's a lot of wisdom in a decision like that, that has been lost over the years.  In an urban setting I doubt wilderness rehab is ever used as an option these days.

Anyway, sorry if my comment seemed overly dismissive. I suppose it was. I didn't mean any insult by it, t'was just food for thought.


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 29 2013, 2:02 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(wycanislatrans @ Mar. 29 2013, 12:00 pm)
QUOTE

(GoBlueHiker @ Mar. 28 2013, 2:00 pm)
QUOTE
I truly wish more of our judicial court system could be so thoughtful (well, it was the Canadian court system, but you get the point).

It really depends on the Prosecuting Attorney and the Judge.

I normally don't discuss anything directly to do with work publically, but I will share the basics of this.

I arrested a young man (17) this summer for DUI and it was his third adult DUI. Most youth I deal with are pretty respectful, this one was not...to say the least.

I worked with the pros. atty. and attended the pre-trial as I normally do in these cases. The deal that was made was a wilderness oriented rehab. I am interested in seeing how this kid turns out or if he becomes another career individual.

Honestly, I'm skeptical, but I hope it works out. I would have a hard time buying into using wilderness for crimes as high as manslaughter however. (pending the circumstances I guess)

But really that's what judges and attorneys are for and note that most of them are locally elected.

I would guess that his problem is drinking, not driving, and that he has become an alcohol abuser because of some other underlying mental health issues.

Wilderness therapy has to have more than just the out-of-doors experience to work.  As long as professionals remain engaged it could be a beneficial way of addressing those issues.

And while many of us have a stress releasing experience while out in the wilderness, I think it is more of a respite than a cure for stress, and even less so by itself for more serious mental health issues.
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 29 2013, 2:12 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

GoBlue, I have read similar stories of tribal counsels doing the same recently.  I think they have modified the exact program, but still very similar.  I don't know what their success rate is though.  I do know indigenous tribes in Canada face similar issues of alcohol and drug abuse as do those in the US.

I know it's anecdotal, but I have heard many personal testimonials from individuals whose lives were turned around after a wilderness experience.  It is just a perfect opportunity to shut out their daily world and enter a different world with different priorities.  It challenges people both physically and emotionally.  You can think of emotionally as spiritual, intellectually, or even as raising one's consciousness; whatever fits your paradigm.  It's not a panacea, just another worthy tool in our attempts at civil society.

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(GoBlueHiker @ Mar. 29 2013, 10:31 am)
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Anyway, sorry if my comment seemed overly dismissive.

Absolutely no need for an apology. My only point was that alternative sentencing and treatment can and does happen, it really depends on judicial officials involved.
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