Adventure based Counseling (ABC) at Pacific Quest is part of our mission for cultivating change.
ABC is, essentially, a non-traditional therapy in which learning activities and events promote positive change. At Pacific Quest we are pioneers of innovation and have infused adventure based counseling into our programs. The challenges presented in ABC activities create an environment where the group members are encouraged to work together as a team to reach shared goals.
Our group members actively participate in challenges that are designed to stimulate immediate feelings that are similar to those experienced in real life situations. Pacific Quest is one of very few programs in the United States that incorporates the experience of the wilderness and adventure based counseling in modalities designed to heal our students and facilitate their personal exploration.
What is Adventure Based Counseling?
In the counseling field, there are many therapeutic models, techniques, and theories that address the subject of behavior change – adventure based counseling is an innovative and relatively new phenomenon.
The great thing about “Adventure Based Counseling” as a therapeutic tool that is leading the way in teen and young adult counseling is that it can be adapted to almost any setting and is a mixture of experiential learning, outdoor education, group counseling and intrapersonal exploration.
A key component of ABC is providing challenges that require our student’s cooperation to complete a team based challenge. The activities are designed to enhance the natural stages of group development, because the amount of cooperation required for completing the challenges naturally increases as group cohesion develops. As a result, students begin to learn to work cooperatively to accomplish the given task.
Situations occur where students experience natural consequences and these along with other required elements of ABC challenges foster student responsibility for their behaviors and their actions. Activities focus on each person’s strengths and how those strengths contribute to the overall success of the group. This element contributes to a sense of group cohesiveness and increases the collective self-esteem of the group.
At Pacific Quest, Horticultural Therapy is not only an intervention, it also an overarching philosophy, addressing the state of hyperarousal and dysregulation within the nervous system while nurturing a reciprocal relationship with the natural world. Sensory integration and somatic experiencing are some of the many interventions that are woven into the safety and predictability of working in our therapeutic garden.
Our clinicians and program guides are trained in a neurodevelopmental approach that stimulates the human capacity to self-regulate and problem solve, beginning with a physiological attunement with the sensory experiences in the body and the immediate environment.
Adventure based counseling at pacific Quest is not a boot camp, adventure camp, or any other kind of camp. In addition, those students experiencing psychosis, violence outside the home, or refusal to engage in the medical recommendations of treatment are not appropriate for Pacific Quest. Students with conduct disorder; high levels of aggression, who are going through detoxifying or who have a severe, un-medicated mental illness are also not appropriate candidates for admission.
Pacific Quest Uses Adventure Based Counseling For Wilderness Therapy
Adventure based counseling has been found to benefit the personal and social development of many diverse populations, including specifically adolescents. Adventure based counseling achieves different results than traditional therapy because of experiential education. Wilderness therapy and outdoor treatment promote rehabilitation, growth, development, and enhancement of an individual’s physical, social and psychological well being through the application of structured activities involving their direct, hands-on experience. These activities serve as experiential metaphors that demonstrate various learning objectives related to individual treatment goals.
At Pacific Quest we believe in taking a different approach than other therapy programs in that we create an open and receptive environment that makes teens and young adults want to move forward, to address their issues, and work toward a solution for real change.
Some of the personal and social benefits experienced by students in adventure-based counseling include:
- Increased self- esteem, self-concept and self-confidence
- Enhanced problem solving abilities
- Group cohesion
- Judgment and decision-making skills
- Communication skills
- Conflict resolution and pro-social peer affiliation
- Family/team building.
- Problem solving
- Behavioral and cognitive development,
- Decreases in depression/ decrease in conduct disordered behaviors
- Positive behavioral changes/improved attitude, and that adventure based therapy generates a sense of individual reward.
Our wilderness therapy program for struggling teens ages 13-17 and young adults ages 18-24 is located on the Big Island of Hawaii. In addition to traditional wilderness therapy, we incorporate sustainable life skills; students have an opportunity to view the working farm, organic gardening and sustainable agriculture as a mirror for life’s challenges and rewards. Owned and operated by a veteran team of professionals with years of wilderness therapy program experience, they offer a holistic, experiential, yet clinical approach to treatment that is individualized for each student.
The teen and young adult population at Pacific Quest includes some the following client profiles, issues and/or diagnoses:
- Mood Regulation Issues
- Substance Experimentation/Abuse
- Relationship Issues
- Internet Addiction
- Video Game Addiction
- Poor Social Skills
- School Issues
- Adjustment Problems
- Poor Self-Image
- Lack of Confidence
- Academic Underachievement
- Learning Differences
- Identity issues
- Grief and Loss
- Lack of Motivation
- Family Conflict/Discord
While families typically seek out Pacific Quest because of struggles their children are facing, we recognize that the entire family system is often under strain. To support sustainable and lasting familial growth, we fully utilize family participation in the therapeutic process. By involving the entire family in the healing process, we aim to enhance communication, increase empathy and develop usable conflict resolution skills, ultimately deepening each individual’s understanding and trust in the greater process.
Parents Connect With Adventure Based Counseling At Pacific Quest
At Pacific Quest, we create life-changing experiences for struggling adolescents. Located on the Big Island of Hawaii, Pacific Quest provides a unique and powerful backdrop for healing. Parents are doing the loving thing by getting their struggling teens or young adults a type of counseling that really connects them with what they need.
Pacific Quest’s Sustainable Growth model utilizes a team of highly experienced and dedicated clinicians, Horticultural Therapy, experiential education and natural metaphors to support real change. The Sustainable Growth model helps students gain a greater sense of awareness about themselves and the world as they begin to make better choices and gain the tools necessary to lead healthy, productive lives long after program completion.
Pacific Quest continues to pioneer a cutting-edge approach to wilderness therapy, providing multiple opportunities to address brain development and enhance social, cognitive, and physiological functioning necessary for the sustainable growth of our nations most valuable assets- our young people.