True Self Recovery’s Adventure Therapy Program offers an alternative treatment approach for individuals with substance abuse and mental health disorders. While not intended to replace a primary treatment program for addiction recovery, it is a therapeutic modality that combines the benefits of adventure experiences and activities with those of more traditional substance abuse therapies.
According to the Therapeutic Adventure Professional Group of the Association for Experiential Education, the definition of Adventure Therapy is:
“The prescriptive use of adventure experiences provided by mental health professionals, often conducted in natural settings, that kinesthetically engage clients on cognitive, affective, and behavioral levels.”
Adventure Therapy is an experiential form of psychotherapy that is distinct from, and often used as a supplement to, traditional substance abuse treatment and other forms of group behavioral therapy. Adventure therapy takes the individual out of the treatment center environment and gives then dynamic challenges, helping them find purpose and empowerment so they can learn to engage with life and real-world situations on their road to recovery.
The concept of adventure therapy uses active experiences, as opposed to passive observation, as a therapeutic tool. Providing a safe environment while participating in activities that might be considered otherwise risky if performed without supervision, adventure recovery provides mentorship and coaching for those seeking support in recovery and adventure.
The fundatmental proposition of adventure therapy involves exposing a group of individuals to a novel setting in which they are challenged to negoiate a variety of tasks that involve real or perceived risk, and where the outcome of their efforts is directly affected by the choices that they make, both individually and as a group.
The settings of adventure therapy often involve the natual surroundings of the outdoor environment and entail adventurous activities inspired by such outdoor pursuits as kayaking, hiking, rock climbing, or wilderness survival. Confronted by the real or perceived risks – both physical and psychological – inherent in the challenges posed by these activities, clients experience reactions consistent with those they experience when confronted by difficult situations in their everyday lives. CLients have the opportunity to “catch themselves being themselves,” and learn to respond accordingly.
As they process these “aha” moments with other group members, by sharing their experiences, feelings and emotions, clients receive feedback from their peers, giving them the opportunity to gain insight about their choices and work through different outcomes and the consequences of their behavior.
The goal of adventure therapy is to assist clients to transfer what they learn from the unique and novel experiences of these adventures to their daily lives.
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