How Wilderness Works
Wilderness Therapy is modeled to mimic the challenges and pressures found within family and social structures but in an atmosphere free from negative influences. In addition, Wilderness and Adventure Therapy provides our clients with an opportunity to overcome internal and personal issues in a safe, supportive environment.
During these out-of-the-box activities, our clients delve into parts of themselves they never thought they would use--or even knew they had. Our clients realize through these activities that they have the power to turn "I can't" into "I can”. They can climb that mountain. They can build a fire from scratch. Our clients learn that they can accomplish much more than they ever dreamed they could, improving their confidence in the process.
By removing young adults from the distractions found in everyday life, adventure and wilderness therapy allows clients to focus on improving their behavior and overall mental health. Gone are the negative influences that may be affecting behaviors. Instead, you have experiential learning and mental healing through exciting activities like mountaineering, bouldering, and canoeing. Take a step outside your comfort zone and build translatable skills such as leadership, teamwork, and accountability. In nature, you have the time to mull over past actions and make goals for a successful future.
Experiential learning is an engaged learning process whereby students “learn by doing” and by reflecting on the experience. We at PulsaR incorporate this into everything we do. One could ask how you could possibly learn something from an activity such as rock climbing. In order to rock climb you need to do pre-planning, making sure you have the right equipment and that it is safe, and that you have a good support system to watch your back and help you out. How is that so different than project management? Or a specialist's ability to make sure equipment is usable and safe? Once on the rocks you have to plan out your every move and if something doesn’t work the way it should you need to change your plan and execute a new direction. This is a huge soft skill that is a trigger for many people, getting thrown into a state of unsurity and having to make on the spot decisions, and many will panic and experience a block. But with practice comes experience, students of PulsaR are helped through this block and with more experience are able to make these transitions on their own and can take that sense of self-assurance into all aspects of their lives.
- Utilizes active (kinesthetic) experiential methodology to engage clients and establish an identical or parallel process between the client’s life experience and the client’s therapeutic experience and enhances the transfer of learning from the therapeutic context to the client’s life.
- Focuses on therapeutic goals, possibly including the cognitive, behavioral, affective, physical and spiritual facets of the person. This differentiates adventure therapy from uses of adventure for recreational, education, or physical health purposes.
- Involves a dynamic therapist-client relationship enhanced through the shared experience and the active involvement of the client in the creation and maintenance of an effective therapeutic environment, such as goal setting, personal decision-making, and achieving outcomes. The therapist is intentional in facilitation of process, the selection and design of the intervention, and about the role of the environment. This process may, but does not always, include real or perceived, physical or psychological stress or discomfort.
- Have the constant support of trained staff members who make sure all activities are performed safely and properly. They are also all trained in first aid and wilderness certified.
- Incorporates a dynamic use of the environment and often the role of nature. This may include exposure to unique environments or environments with adaptive dissonance for the client.
Our program is not always on the move, we do have a base camp where we start each week. Days at our Base Camp are filled with group therapy sessions, individual therapy, yoga, mindfulness practices, and general camp maintenance. Clients typically wake up at 8 AM, and wrap up the day between 8 or 9 PM. The various activities are spread throughout the day depending on the needs of the group or an individual. We provide yurts or geodesic domes as a home base for our clients where there are cots and cooking centers.
While at Base Camp our emerging adults get to participate in our Equine Assisted Therapy programming weekly, as well as professionally led yoga instruction, and various group initiatives.
Laundry, showers, food re-rationing, and preparation for the weekend’s activities also happen during the time at our Base Camp, all in preparation for another exciting adventure.