Wilderness Therapy as Treatment for Teens with ADHD

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Credible wilderness therapy programs are proven to be extremely effective in helping teens with ADHD.Wilderness therapy programs like Vantage Point by Aspiro often utilize a novel environment, experiential therapy, adventure activities, and socialization to help individuals with ADHD break through boundaries and find success.

Wilderness Therapy: A Novel Setting for Teens with ADHD

Wilderness therapy provides teens with a new and novel environment that allows them to reset. In a new environment, teens are more easily able to let go of bad habits and behaviors and replace them with good ones. A novel environment also allows teens with ADHD to leave their stress and failures behind and gives them with a fresh start. Additionally, living in wilderness is a new experience for most individuals and can be a very therapeutic setting that provides individuals with a new resolve to succeed.

Wilderness Therapy: Consequences and Teens with ADHD

Living in a wilderness setting is not easy. It requires you to work hard as a means to live. This exposes teens with ADHD to natural consequences. For example, if one chooses not to make their shelter and it rains, they will get wet. For teens that display impulsive behavior without considering consequences, this is especially helpful. Experiencing the natural consequences of the wilderness help teens with ADHD better understand that a consequence is tied to their every action.

Wilderness Therapy: Adventure Activities and Teens with ADHD

A large aspect of wilderness therapy are adventure activities. Not only is regular exercise and being outside healthy for teens with ADHD, adventure activities teach far more than that. Adventure activities push teens with ADHD to try new things and push past their boundaries. Challenging adventure activities such as rock climbing, hiking, or repelling teach teens with ADHD that they can do hard things. By overcoming overwhelming experiences, teens feel a greater sense of self-efficacy as a result. The more a teen is able to participate in these adventure activities across multiple settings, the more likely they are to generalize these skills and the belief that they can do hard things.

Additionally, adventure activities focus on improving their coping skills and allows therapists to work with them in the moment as they face obstacles. This is called “in vivo” therapy and teaches teens with executive function deficits in a more hands-on and tangible way.

Wilderness Therapy Teaches Social Skills to Teens with ADHD

Many teens with ADHD have difficulties forming and maintaining friendships. The group setting of wilderness therapy is especially helpful for these individuals to practice and refine new social skills. Wilderness therapy provides teens with a safe environment to practice these skills among teens that are similar to them. This is not only beneficial for the teen in building their social skills but can also create a sense of belonging for these individuals.