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RECO Intensive
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The Benefits of Adventure Therapy

How An Adventure Therapy Program Can Improve Mental Health

When it comes to mental health issues, many forms of treatment and therapy have been explored by mental health professionals and many are still in development to this day. But one form of mental health treatment that many may not have heard of but that is now beginning to be recognized for its incredible benefits is adventure therapy.

Adventure therapy is a type of experiential therapy that has shown benefits for young adults and others suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders, depression symptoms, developmental issues, and other behavioral issues, including those related to substance abuse.

Though it is unknown how exactly adventure therapy works, recent research has shown that it is indeed associated with positive treatment outcomes, possibly because the benefits of adventure therapy are natural consequences of the experiential learning that takes place during each adventure therapy excursion.

For instance, in one study published in the Journal of Child and Family Studies, researchers found that ninety five percent of one group of troubled adolescents who participated in wilderness adventure therapy found their experience of adventure therapy to be incredibly beneficial.

Generally, the adventure therapy model revolves around adventure activities, which are often physical activities or outdoor activities like rock climbing, ropes courses, mountain biking, and mountain climbing. These physical challenges help to push patients out of their comfort zones, bolstering their recovery process with relevant experiential education.

Once they have left their comfort zone, patients who have experienced trauma, are in addiction recovery, or have experienced other forms of mental illness are naturally put into a state of heightened self awareness that can help them to re-evaluate their sense of self.

This can be an important part of the healing process for those who struggle with their self esteem, self confidence, or self efficacy, which is defined as an individual’s belief that they have the skills necessary to overcome challenges.

For example, a form of adventure therapy like rock climbing helps clients build a greater sense of self efficacy and self esteem by showing them in a tangible, physical way that they capable of adapting to new experiences, exercising focus, and overcoming challenges when they realize that they are able to make it to the top of a rock wall. The act of rock climbing can then become a powerful metaphor, one that they can generalize to be applicable to all sort of other areas of their life.

Additionally, one popular form of adventure therapy, wilderness therapy, involves excursions into natural settings. This means that the benefits of wilderness adventure therapy inherently encompass all the benefits of spending time in nature, which has itself been found to be enormously beneficial when it comes to both mental health and physical health.

For instance, the fresh air we take in while engaging in outdoor activities can help our brains and bodies to take in more oxygen, and exercise during such activities can amp up our levels of mood-boosting neurotransmitters. Nature is also far more conducive to relaxation than more overstimulating indoor environments, with levels of stress hormones like cortisol having consistently been found to be lower after exposure to natural environments.

Because some adventure activities are group activities, adventure therapy can also sometimes serve as a form of group therapy, which means that it provides clients with an opportunity to practice social skills and to connect with others.

This can be especially helpful for young adults dealing with a neurodevelopmental disorder like autism, which can be associated with social skills impairments, as well as for people struggling to overcome traumatic life experiences that have affected their ability to trust and cooperate with others.

Explore The Benefits of Adventure Therapy In Addiction Treatment At Reco Intensive

Now that you’ve learned a little more about the benefits of adventure therapy, you may like to learn more about the adventure therapy program offered by Reco Intensive, a South Florida addiction treatment center.

Adventure therapy is a vital component of our therapeutic process for patients dealing with substance abuse, which also includes more traditional forms of mental health treatment like cognitive and dialectical therapy.

These mental health treatment options help our clients to overcome addiction and any associated mental illness by helping them to challenge their reflective negative thought patterns and to learn communication, mindfulness and emotional regulation skills.

However, the experiential therapy component of our treatment program helps bring the life lessons our clients are learning in the therapy room into life as it is actually lived by giving them the chance to practice their new behaviors.

These adventure therapy outings are chosen based on the specific benefits of adventure therapy that our treatment team believes will be most valuable to each of our client cohorts based on their mental health histories and needs.

Thus, some of our adventure therapy excursions involve relaxing journeys into nature, such as our natural healing walks, our community labyrinths, and our visits to the Morikami Japanese Gardens, which offers up the best that nature has to offer in its unique Zen gardens.

Other adventure therapy options, like our competitive recreation activities, ropes courses, and escape rooms, are extremely effective because they present challenges to our clients that they must work together to overcome, giving them the chance to exercise their conflict resolution skills and to build community with one another.

Then, there are forms of adventure therapy sometimes offered in our treatment program that focus more on identity development, like our excursions to a local animal rescue, at which many of the animals have ended up there because of their histories of abuse.

There, a member of our treatment team helps our clients to recognize the connection between the challenges that they have faced in their life and the challenges that the animals have faced, encouraging them to see themselves the same way that they see the animals and thus to have more self compassion.

You can learn more about each of these adventure therapy options here, and can learn more about our mental health services here. You can also hear from those who have experienced our adventure therapy for themselves on our testimonials page.

If you’re interested in learning more about the nature of our addiction treatment program or about the benefits of adventure therapy for you or someone else in your family unit, feel free to call us anytime at 844.955.3042 or to contact us online anytime here. There’s no time like the present to get back on the road to a better life and a brighter future.

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