Adventure-based therapy helps struggling young adults rediscover their passions and improve their physical and emotional well-beings. As young adults transition into adulthood, it is normal to feel overwhelmed by responsibilities and discouraged about one’s ability to succeed. Social bonding is often replaced by unstructured activities that contribute to higher rates of substance use, risky behaviors, and weaker future orientations. While many wilderness programs focus on hiking, camping, and outdoor skills, blueFire PulsaR offers a variety of outdoor adventure activities in Southern Idaho from the Sawtooth Mountains to the Sage Desert to the Snake River.
Fostering Connection with Nature
As our world is becoming increasingly urbanized, accessibility to nature and time spent outdoors is critical to restoring balance to our nervous system. For 99.9% of history, humans have lived in natural environments, whether they were nomadic cultures, and have spent their time interacting with the terrain. As we have moved indoors, time spent in nature is considered a hobby, rather than necessary to our personal growth and development.
A recent study by researchers at Stanford University found that “people who walked for 90 minutes in a natural area, as opposed to participants who walked in a high-traffic urban setting, showed decreased activity in a region of the brain associated with a key factor in depression, lower blood pressure, lower pulse rates, and lower cortisol levels, a marker of reduced stress.” People with more leisure time or energy aren’t the only people who can benefit from time outside. Your physiology changes when you spend more time outside, that allows you to feel more comfortable, energetic, and renewed in your everyday life.
Types of Adventure Therapy
Adventure based therapy combines physical and mental challenges in the natural environment. Lessons learned while participating in adventure activities are symbolic for the way we show up in our lives and in our relationships. These activities push students out of their comfort zones and help them to accomplish things that they did not think they could achieve. Students explore their fears, passions, and dreams and how these appear when they are faced with physical challenges. Evidence-based outdoor activities that have been proven to lower levels of stress and build self-esteem include:
- Rock climbing
- Mountain biking
- White-water rafting
- Equine therapy
- Primitive skills-building
- Cross country skiing
- Snow shoeing
Therapeutic Benefits of Adventure-Based Therapy
While adventure-based therapy is experiential and recreational, students can learn a lot about themselves by how they participate in activities. Students not only discover what activities they like and improve their skills in these areas that they can use as an outlet back home, they face challenges related to problem-solving, teamwork, trust, and self-esteem. Wilderness therapy focuses on transfer of learning and how to apply therapeutic skills used in experiential activities to emotional regulation and social relationships in one’s personal life. Skills gained that prepare students for future success include:
- Increased confidence
- Decreased anxiety
- More self-awareness
- Increased independence and self-efficacy
- Better emotional regulation and distress tolerance
- Improved problem-solving skills
- Improved concentration
- Ability to take responsibility for actions
- Stronger mind-body connection
- Physical Health
- More positive social relationships
- Leadership and Teamwork skills
blueFire PulsaR offers co-ed adventure-based wilderness therapy for young adults 18-28. Our students struggle with emotional and behavioral challenges, including anxiety, depression, motivation, trauma, and substance abuse that have affected their ability to achieve success in school and in other areas of their life. At blueFire PulsaR, we strive to help each student discover their inner spark that fuels their personal growth and sense of adventure. We focus on independent living skills that help students find what direction they want to take next.