Outdoor Focused Experiential Therapy
Getting Out, Getting Active, Having Fun – With a Purpose
Therapeutic Activities With a Purpose
Getting Out, Getting Active, Having Fun – With a Purpose
Experiential groups are designed so that the community of boys must use cooperation and teamwork to gain success. Through planning, experiencing, and finally achieving success the boys learn by “doing”. Participating in and processing these experiences allow the students to learn about the necessity of trust, responsibility, teamwork, and improved self-concept. The goal is to challenge each student and have them experience incremental success and to build personal insight and self-confidence.
Endurance, Patience, Problem Solving, Confidence
Never a solo sport, it truly requires not only teamwork, but a lot of trust, patience and confidence in yourself and others. The first thing you learn is how to belay another climber which is a technique of holding another climber safely by the rope from the ground in case they fall suddenly. If the climber slips, the “fall” is never more than a few inches because the belayer on the ground has his back. As a belayer, you also learn how to bring the climber back to the ground safely. The combination of the climber stretching his confidence and abilities while the belayer on the ground keeps him safe provides both boys the opportunity to learn to trust and to be trusted.
Problem solving is also a huge benefit of rock climbing. Every step of the way, every handhold, foot placement and every inch of elevation gained requires the climber to think and evaluate the pros and cons of each decision or option. Its also a safe way to “fail” when over confidence or shortcuts prove to be a less wise choice. Losing all of the hard won ground in a moment from a poor choice and having to start over again from “rock bottom” is always a lesson the instructor therapist can use to process the activity with the boys.
The wins too are celebrated as the boys learn how with the proper mix of confidence, patience, planning, and endurance he can achieve things he once thought were impossible.
Our therapists insist on absolute safety, and as trained instructors, they ensure the safety and well being of the boys every step of the way on every climb. This is truly a sport that builds young men in every way possible.
Reduces Stress, Increases Stamina, and Just Plain Fun!
Mountain biking is a favorite of the boys and something just about every boy can jump into – even if he hasn’t ridden for a while, or been off road. As part of our expeirential therapy activities, we find it also an outstanding activity not only for the health benefits and the fun, but also as a valuable therapeutic activity.
Biking off road requires a set of new skills much different than traditional biking. As the boys begin tackling more and more demanding trails, they learn the value of understanding the limits and advantages of their equipment. In the beginning, the boys don’t want to bother learning the seemingly complex combinations of gears which would make it much easier to take on a steep hill – and try to brute force it up the hill, not using the tools they have literally under their feet.
After watching the others go slowly, but easily up the hill with the proper gears, while they are exhausted from brute force in the wrong gear, is one of those wonderful moments the therapist looks forward to when he can explain how that relates to their personal lives. We often want the victory now, or want the “shortcut” and ignore the resources and tools we already possess that would get us what we want if we used them. Welcome to experiential therapy!
An Adventure of a Lifetime in the Grand Canyon
River rafting is a thrilling adventure that requires a lot of hard work and teamwork. It is enjoying miles of stunning scenery, history, wildlife, and geology sprinkled with a few crazy moments of white water rapids that require everyone’s attention and quick reaction to the river guide’s commands.
After a lot of preparation, instruction and planning, our group sets into the water to begin the long journey down the Colorado River. Just floating along deep in the millennia old canyon is awe inspiring and causes us to feel a little insignificant in the world compared to our often chaotic lives in the “real world” at home.
A long period of floating, rowing, and fun conversations and bonding, the sound of the roaring rapids come from downstream – then into view as our guide shouts his commands to check equipment, stow your stuff, and get ready to row.
The next two minutes seem like an eternity as we work together to position the raft to the left of the huge rapid we’re just about to go down. In minutes its all over and we look back up stream to what we just accomplished. We all feel alive, powerful, and insignificant at the same time. What a rush. At the end of the long journey and a welcomed meal on the sandy beach as the sun goes down, there’s nothing like the feeling of knowing what we’ve accomplished and the bonding we’ve felt among the whole group. Our therapists walk through the days events with the boys and relate the journeys lessons to our lives at home, our relationships, and our individual potential. This is what experiential therapy is all about.
A Uniquely Fun, Exhilarating, and Bonding Weekend for Parents, Family & Alumni
Everything we do has a therapeutic purpose through Experiential Therapy
In addition to experiential groups our boys frequently engage in off-campus recreational activities. Our excursions give the boys a chance to draw closer to the beauty of nature, allowing time to meditate in the great outdoors. At different stages students may also participate in off-campus hikes, mountain biking, and adventures trips as well.
These recreational activities are strategically used to help our boys experience healthy life choices that replace the previously negative activities they engaged in before treatment. Our goal is also help them find new things to do long after they graduate from our program.