Mother nature is a powerful teacher and motivator. Leading a troubled teen into the wilderness takes them out of their comfort zone and puts them into a position where nothing can be taken for granted. By itself, the removal from everyday life and the introduction of the discomfort of living in the wilderness can have a profound effect. When coupled with positive guidance and an emphasis on his or her strengths, it can put a troubled teen on the track for a happier life.
Outback wilderness therapists go far beyond the typical “talk therapy” approach used in office settings. We constantly strive to find kinesthetic ways to engage each student in their therapy. Effective wilderness therapy centers on the right combination of powerful experiences to help a kid let go of anger, hurt, and fear, and then move forward into healing, growth, and change. Our half-day workshops are designed to give teens a strong foundation upon which to build. In order to achieve this goal, we focus on four foundational pillars:
Traditionally, therapy programs have used a carrot/stick method of external rewards and punishments to motivate students to modify their behavior. While this approach may be temporarily effective, we feel that it treats the symptom, not the root of the problem. Our approach is to focus on the good in each of our students, and invite more goodness to show through. Rather than presenting ourselves as authority figures, we prefer our students to view us as mentors.
The choice is theirs, not ours. When a struggling teen is fighting for autonomy and then decides to make the choice to change, it is a lasting internal change rather than just temporary external compliance.
The family system plays a vital part in the student’s success after Outback. If a child is removed from a marginally functioning family system, taught new skills, then placed back into that same marginally functioning family system, then the child is more likely to lose their new skills and return to their previous behaviors. However, if the family is engaged in a parallel process with their child, they will grow together. That’s why Outback engages the parents in readings and assignments that parallel their son or daughter’s development. Outback also holds weekly webinars based on the core clinical concepts. These tailored assignments help the parent better understand their child’s reasoning for their poor behaviors and also their own parental contributions to the family dynamics.