Wilderness Therapy for Youth

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This article is very interesting! It touches on a lot of different points when considering wilderness therapy for youth. I found it extremely alarming that the article pointed out quite a few deaths. "Five teens died in Utah wilderness programs between 1990 and 2002, and a Utah teenager died in a Colorado program in 2007" (Whitehurst & Maffly, 2008). The article goes on to talk about reforms in the programs (making them less boot-camp like), but many still use survival skills as a main part of the program. They have to make fires the hard way, catch their food, etc... I'm not so sure if I agree with this type of hardcore wilderness therapy. Although I do definitely think that survival skills are essential, I'm not so sure if wilderness therapy is the place to learn them... but then again it could make sense for certain youth that are there for more serious problems perhaps...

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I really enjoyed the article you found. In the article, one individual was quoted about how one aspect of the therapy that works is removing the child from their environment. Rick Meeves, Outback founder said “this gets them away from all their distractions, the video games and from their facility environments where there’s nothing for them to listen to but the sound of their own voice” (para. 11). This reminded me of the poster by Cater, Tsuda and Renwick (n.d.) where participants in that program said part of the benefits of the Street-to-Trail was getting them out of the city and away from their environmental stressors. I think the pace of life now is demanding and stressful in so many ways.

The article discussed the differences in many programs- including those that use the latest backpacks technology creates, and those programs where you make a pack from sticks. All of these programs have something in common, though. The programs are not militaristic boot-camps and they involve individuals in nature. They encourage participation, personal growth, and accountability in a wilderness environment. By going to the wilderness and learning how to survive, individuals can benefit from the surroundings in that they are different from normal environmental triggers and stressors, and from the nature itself.

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This page contains a single entry by lane0271 published on April 20, 2013 11:42 PM.

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