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May 29, 2012

Wilderness treatment programs for troubled teens are producing young adults
more in tune with who they are and how their behaviors are created and handled.
Wilderness therapy camps are not just residential programs for young people with
behavioral issues like truancy and lack of motivation alone. Some are designed to
handle teens using drugs, alcohol and other addictive mood-altering chemicals.

While there are reputable treatment centers for teens abusing drugs and alcohol,
those same centers can be a cold introduction to learning about oneself. Looking at
the two options: Wilderness Treatment Centers or Camps and Treatment Centers
the two have a few things in common, like their goal of sobering a chemical-
dependent teenager. But where the wilderness treatment center is hugely different
is in their carefully constructed program integrating the natural world as a vital tool
to healing.

Treatment centers have their place and they do help, but a wilderness treatment
center goes beyond just helping reverse a poor behavior, it aims at discovering what
in the life of a teen leads to such behaviors. This kind of serious look at the self,
the circumstances and the thinking of a troubled teen has been shown to be most
effective when the natural world is incorporated in the treatment plan.

Spending time in nature prompts reflection because it gets people out of themselves. There is always a voice in our head, always a commentary. Do you hear your commentary judging this person, wondering about that, thinking about a conversation, preparing a rebuttal to someone else? The inner-dialogue we all possess can get very loud. Nature helps quiet it. When a problem teen is given the opportunity to be in a natural space that helps quiet their inner-dialogue and real transformation can occur. There are fewer ways to struggle and resist in nature than in a sterile, clinical environment.

This is a very oversimplified way of comparing a wilderness treatment program for
problem youth and a clinical treatment center, but here is one basic way to observe
the difference:

–Clinical Treatment Programs tell you how & where you want to be.

–Wilderness Treatment Programs allow you to discover the place you want to be.

For specialized care, a wilderness therapy program may be just the place for your
teen. Whether they have behavior issues, drug addiction, alcohol abuse or teen
depression, wilderness therapy programs are available for all types of young adults
desperate to make sense of their changing world.

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