Wilderness Therapy Programs Less Risky to Teens than Daily Life

Wilderness Therapy Programs Less Risky to Teens than Daily Life

Apr 08, 2013

Michael Gass, professor of outdoor education in the kinesiology department, and Stephen Javorski, a UNH doctoral student have found there is actually less risk to participants on wilderness therapy programs, when they are conducted correctly, than to adolescents in their normal everyday activities.

Adventure therapy, described as the prescriptive use of wilderness adventure experiences to improve the mental health of clients, primarily serves adolescents and is often seen as a treatment of “last resort” for these youth, who typically present with three or more dysfunctional behaviors such as depression, substance abuse, and suicidal ideologies. Gass, a leading expert in the field, estimates that there are more than 200 such programs nationwide ranging from multimillion dollar programs to individual counselors who might informally take a group or class into the woods.

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