What is Adventure Therapy?

Adventure therapy— also known as activity-based psychotherapy or wilderness therapy— is a form of therapy that allows those in addiction recovery to heal through adventurous activities. Adventure therapy programs are made up of non-competitive group sports and cooperative activities. They also tend to take place outdoors, with very few exceptions. Adventure therapy programs allow people in recovery to explore personal issues in a safe but open environment surrounded by peers and mental health professionals.


What Sets Adventure Therapy Apart?

Unlike most other forms of addiction therapy, adventure therapy doesn’t entail sitting uncomfortably and talking one-on-one with a therapist. Adventure therapy programs utilize psychological theories— including psychodynamic, behavioral, cognitive, existential and systems theories— to aid in the ongoing recoveries of a group of people. Adventure therapy is done in groups because it calls for teamwork as an essential part of the experience.


Teamwork is a Key Factor in Adventure Therapy

Teamwork brings about a lot of personal growth, such as the development of social skills and improvement of communication. It also increases self-awareness since program participants are encouraged to give each other both positive and negative feedback during activities. For example, if someone’s performance is lacking, others can offer constructive criticism for improvement. Alternatively, if someone excels at a given task, others can give raise or ask for advice. By doing group activities through adventure therapy programs, people in recovery can learn from one another and practice new skills as they heal.


Different Types of Adventure Therapy Programs

There are a wide variety of activities that are exercised in adventure therapy programs. These can include, but are not limited to:

  • Backpacking
  • Biking
  • Camping
  • Cooperative team games
  • Hiking
  • Horseback riding
  • Kayaking or canoeing
  • Problem-solving activities
  • Rock climbing
  • Rope courses
  • Snorkeling
  • Trust exercises


Disorders and Circumstances that Benefit from Adventure Therapy Programs

Adventure therapy programs can help more than those in addiction recovery. In fact, these types of programs have been proven to be a very effective form of treatment for those suffering from certain mental health disorders. This includes:

  • Anger management problems
  • Anxiety
  • Behavioral issues
  • Codependency
  • Depression
  • Developmental disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Emotional problems
  • Family problems
  • Grief
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Relationship problems
  • Substance abuse and dependency
  • Trauma

Adventure therapy programs are also utilized by wellness centers for individuals who struggle with low self-esteem or self-confidence, and also for those who struggle with motivation in general.


Other Benefits of Adventure Therapy Programs

No matter what your reason is for entering adventure therapy, the benefits you can gain from it include:

  • A greater sense of responsibility
  • A greater sense of self-reliance
  • A more positive, optimistic outlook on life
  • A stronger sense of cooperation with others
  • A willingness to accept help from others
  • An appreciation and respect for others and their needs
  • Appropriate limits and boundaries for yourself and others
  • Better coordination and fine motor skills
  • Better problem-solving skills
  • Constructive feedback
  • Decreased unhealthy patterns of behavior
  • Decreased willingness to show denial
  • Emotional expansion and betterment of emotional health
  • Greater awareness of your personal strengths and weaknesses
  • Greater teamwork and leadership skills
  • Improved ability to face your fears
  • Improved psychological health
  • Improved sense of focus and attention
  • Increased sense of personal value and worthiness
  • Increased willingness to step outside your comfort zone for something new
  • Personal accomplishment and empowerment
  • Practicing healthy behaviors
  • Reflection on experiences and lessons
  • Strengthened communication skills
  • Strengthened self-esteem and self-confidence
  • Trust in yourself and others


Adventure Therapy Programs at Rebound Institute

Adventure therapy programs are meant to be fun, exhilarating, and challenging as well as therapeutic. So, whether you are suffering from a substance abuse addiction or a mental health condition, adventure therapy is one of the best therapy methods available. You can naturally purge your body of toxins while learning and practicing new behaviors, improving your social skills, overcoming personal obstacles, facing your fears and healing from physical and emotional pain. Adventure therapy programs are available at wellness and treatment centers throughout the United States, including Rebound Institute. If you or someone you know might be interested in entering an adventure therapy program, contact us at 877-2REBOUND.

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