The intersection of negative life events and negative thoughts bring about a sense of hopelessness. Many young adults who are going through major life transitions feel directionless and unmotivated, which holds them back from imagining realistic long-term goals. While many people consider sadness as the defining feature of depression, research suggests that hopelessness in young adults is the biggest warning sign of depression.
External Locus of Control Linked to Hopelessness
One way to measure feelings of hopelessness is to ask young adults what they feel is in their control. Many young adults, who are just beginning to take on more responsibilities in their lives, feel like their life’s path is dictated by external forces, such as their parents’ values, their teacher’s opinions, or the state of the economy. They struggle to see how their choices affect their mood and relationships and tend to blame their circumstances on factors greater than themselves. While sociopolitical factors do shape many aspects of a young adult’s experience, this way of thinking undermines the power that they do have to change external circumstances in their life and regain hope.
Restructuring Negative Thinking
Negative life events may be inevitable and the onset of these events are often out of a young adult’s control, but what they do have control over is whether they respond to these situations in a constructive way or react self-destructively. One of the most popular forms of psychotherapy for young adults with depression is called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. The root of this treatment approach is that our thoughts inform our belief systems, which then shape our actions. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is all about identifying these negative beliefs, checking their accuracy, and coming up with alternative beliefs that are more self-serving.
Reclaiming One’s Power Through Adventure Therapy
At blueFire PulsaR, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is just one element of our holistic therapy. We use principles of CBT while processing experiences during adventure activities to help young adults recognize how their negative thinking and sense of hopelessness can be a barrier to being fully present. Personal narratives like “I can’t do it” or “there’s no point in trying” are common responses to obstacles that one faces when trying an activity for the first time.
By continuing to participate in adventure activities, young adults collect evidence that these beliefs are not entirely accurate and learn to replace these negative thoughts with more positive beliefs. Instead of feeling stuck and directionless, young adults begin to gain greater self-awareness, confidence, and hopefulness for the future.
The lessons a young adult struggling with depression learns during these adventure activities are easily translatable to other areas of their life. By taking one step beyond traditional forms of therapy and applying these skills experientially, young adults are better able to transform their negative belief systems and learn healthier ways to manage depression.
blueFire PulsaR Can Help
blueFire PulsaR is a coeducational wilderness therapy program for young adults ages 18-28. This program addresses emotional, social, and behavioral problems in struggling young adults. Adventure therapy, wilderness ventures, equine therapy, academic opportunities and “family spark” are used to help students open up and look at their life. From there they are able to experience growth and adopt healthy self-management skills. This program is dedicated to helping students regain a better sense of the world around them while addressing their emotions and needs head on. We can help your family today.
Contact us at 208-269-7407.