Actively Engaging the Healing Process
Adventure and wilderness therapy inherently engages young people in an environment where they must adapt to living outside of their comfort zone. This constant exposure to the “growth zone” provides a setting where proven clinical interventions can provoke lasting change in the lives of pre-teens and teens. It’s no secret that immersion in nature and outdoor activities facilitates improvement in mood, mental outlook, and physical health. However, it is an intentional and effective therapeutic process that introduces our students to integrated adventure activities focused on increasing self-confidence, a sense of group and personal accomplishment, awareness of one’s place in a greater ecosystem, while always surrounded by adults focused on emotional and physical safety. Through empathy and understanding, the staff at First Light Wilderness Therapy provides an adventure experience that contains risk but is controlled with proper safety measures that build trust, cooperation, communication, and joy.
Adventure Therapy Activities
Our adventure activities provide healthy challenges on many levels. Physical challenges help build relationships, encourage communication, create friendships, and develop trust among students. The program also challenges distorted thinking patterns and dysfunctional behaviors through these adventures by rewarding positive thoughts, motivation for success and healthy behaviors. Students participate directly in their therapeutic own process and are motivated by an increased sense of self-efficacy, and their own involvement, sense of ownership and personal responsibility in their daily activities. Part of learning is experiencing failure and understanding the reward that comes from success, and reflecting on daily successes and challenges is an intentional component of the therapeutic process. Students gain this experience through:
- Group Initiatives
- Harnessed Tree Climbing
- Kayaking / Canoeing
- Mountain Biking
Wilderness Therapy Changes Lives
During their time at First Light Wilderness, students learn that the process of change has present and future relevance for themselves, and for their relationships with family members and friends. Our clinical and field teams are constantly reviewing the impact of treatment plans and interventions in order to get to the root of the issues and create lasting change. Our goal is to create a true path to healing. The positive outcomes students will achieve at First Light can be categorized as:
These include stabilization of mood, reduction of dysfunctional behaviors, and re-establishment of healthy communication with family members. Addictive behaviors can be acknowledged and addressed. The goal is to improve emotional responses, create trusting relationships, develop healthy coping strategies, and rediscover an integrated sense of self.
We believe that healthy young people can build resilience, rediscover self-confidence, a sense of respect, trust, compassion for self and others, empathy, and independence, and we work with each student to achieve these goals.
Life skills are a critical aspect of development. Students learn the value of commitment, goal setting, decision making, responsibility, communication, nature awareness, commitment to learning and growth, leadership, and distress tolerance. The treatment journey creates endless opportunities for students to develop the tools they need to take these skills with them beyond the wilderness.
Outdoor adventure provides a space for challenging self-concept, as well as for expanding opportunities to consider healthy risk-taking. Our students invariably experience the ups and downs of the emotional journey, while also having fun and experiencing the reward of accomplishing hard things. Students will experience joy and satisfaction, learn about and respect diversity, and use creativity and self-expression in positive ways.
Begin Your Healing Journey
If you’re interested in learning how First Light Wilderness Therapy can help your family or loved one create meaningful and lasting change, contact us HERE. Adventure and healing await in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of northern Georgia.