Wilderness therapy is a new field of psychotherapy and a type of cognitive behavior renewal program that uses the outdoors to inspire personal growth and positive change, and the building of a person’s self-esteem. No matter how diverse the approaches and practitioners of wilderness therapy, they all turn toward the power of nature to restore balance and effect change in a person’s life, particularly the ones who are struggling with something in life.
Instead of the usual counseling, a modified approach which is more suitable in an outdoor situation is used, such as engaging in gardening activities, or traversing the countryside on horseback or by taking a walk.
The together of the person with other people and the bigger world is strengthened in these situations while at the same time encouraging self-reflection without the disruptions of contemporary living like cell phones or TV. In effect, wilderness therapy is a practical course of treatment alongside more traditional treatment practices for anxiety, depression, addiction, and other compulsive behavior.
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On the other hand, a good number of wilderness therapy programs are more geared toward young adults and teenagers who seem unable to face up to the demands of growing up. Peer pressure, family issues, drugs, the need to outdo others in school, and many other issues can be too much for a young adult to adult who is already anxious of the changes that naturally comes with growing up itself.
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A wilderness therapy center is not similar to a boot camp that families used as intervention for vulnerable teenagers or young adults that are showing uncontrollable behavior in efforts to regain authority over the child.
Boot camps are more similar to military training camps that impose strict discipline and use a far more aggressive approach of behavior modification. Some are administered by the government in an effort to rehabilitate criminals and keep them from returning to their past choices in life which is originally why they disobeyed the law. Boot camps that operate privately and aim at helping troubled teenagers use a similar approach and rooted as well on an environment of strict compulsory discipline.
Some people consider wildness therapy as synonymous to boot camps, yet their resemblance is rather superficial. Boot camps, although it may be found in a similar rugged environment, tend to adopt some uniform approach in the way they encourage self-respect and self-discipline.
Wilderness therapy, however, usually takes a more personal and customized approach and teaches people on how to alter their manner of thinking about demanding situations to effect more positive decision choices.