UNPLUGGED at Outback Therapeutic Expeditions provides comprehensive video games therapy, internet addiction therapy and electronic additions treatment through our wilderness therapy model. Our expert designed, informed and facilitated program was recently featured on 20/20 focusing on the effects of electronic addiction. The piece followed a student’s journey of video game addiction and his time spent in wilderness therapy with therapist and clinical director, Greg Burnham, MS, LMFT.
Outback’s Unplugged program acknowledges that technology addiction can become an as serious issue as substance abuse. This gives space for our students to recognize the gravity of their patterns of technology use and provides a platform for them to talk openly. The typical therapeutic approach for technology addiction often focuses solely on the underlying contributors to their addictive patterns, such as depression, anxiety and autism. However, at Outback, the Unplugged program thoroughly treats the contributing factors and then goes deeper by diving into gaming mechanics, diagnostic factors and systemic contributors. Because we treat this issue directly, the student then treats their issue directly, which results in better outcomes due to increased personal engagement.
Our Unplugged program involves the sum of 4 key components:
- DETOX – The opportunity for our students to experience time away from the screen, helps to reset neurotransmitters that contribute to addiction. With the setting of the wilderness combined with the various activities the students engage in, our students begin to experience the same surge of serotonin through healthier outlets and accomplishments. This time away sets the stage for quality treatment.
- ASSESSMENT – Digital addiction does not begin as a primary issue. There is often one or more other factors that contribute to the overuse of technology. Underlying diagnoses such as depression, anxiety, and autism are highly correlated. In order to treat the electronic addiction, we must also treat the underlying contributors.
- FAMILY – Having the child go through detox from electronics and gain the necessary tools on how to prevent future overuse is only part of the equation. Families also require the support and training to make their child’s transition back into life successful. Our parents are asked to participate in thinking critically and analyzing potential factors that they may have contributed to their child’s tech addiction. This personal insight allows for the family to improve ways of addressing this specific addiction. While this process can bring about some challenges, it can be the key to unlocking a healthy family system.
- TREATMENT – The treatment for digital addiction requires students to acknowledge the issue, identify their triggers, foster motivation to change, and acquire various tools in developing healthier ways in which they navigate a world built around technology. Because technology is so interwoven in our society, we cannot simply avoid it. Identifying and learning how to have a healthy relationship with technology is critical in sustaining continued success.
If you feel your teenager has an electronic addiction, please contact us for more information on our Unplugged program and how we can help your teen unplug.
Outback Therapeutic Expeditions