Traditional psychotherapy, or talk therapy, is an integral part of the treatment for addiction and co-occurring disorders. However, a successful treatment program should be comprehensive, utilizing other approaches such as cognitive-behavioral, interpersonal, and experiential therapies, to name a few.
An integrated approach to treatment is essential to ensure that programs are flexible enough to be customized to meet each client’s unique needs. The adventure therapy program at Westwind Recovery® is an experiential therapy very popular with our clients. Adventure therapy is an evidence-based therapy proven to be highly effective in treating substance abuse and mental health disorders.
How Does Adventure Therapy Work?
As an experiential therapy, adventure therapy enhances talk therapy with hands-on activities. The goal of adventure therapy is to improve your psychological, spiritual, interpersonal, and physical health through group activities that take advantage of the healing powers of nature. While there is no end to the options for adventure therapy activities, the common denominator is an element of risk, whether perceived or actual. The risk factor pushes clients out of their comfort zones and forces them to trust themselves and others in the group. Most activities rely on group participation for success, fostering cooperation, which helps clients improve their interpersonal and communication skills.
Some of the activities offered in the Westwind Recovery® adventure therapy program include:
- Water sports
- Planetarium outings
Adventure therapy for addiction is designed to help clients challenge their perceived limitations and offer an outlet for thoughts and feelings that might not be easily verbalized. Outings are led by professionals who provide the encouragement and support to guide you through the experience. Following the activity, a discussion about the experience helps internalize thoughts and feelings and relate them to your treatment goals.
The Many Benefits of Adventure Therapy
Adventure therapy has shown to be beneficial for people of all ages, offering many opportunities for growth and healing. The sense of exhilaration from the activities helps clients relax, enabling them to more easily open up and express thoughts and feelings they might be hesitant to share in talk therapy alone. Finding success in adventure therapy activities teaches resilience, boosts self-confidence and reinforces the notion that you can overcome any challenges that comes your way.
As it pertains to addiction treatment, three of the most significant benefits of adventure therapy are:
- The development of problem-solving skills
- The encouragement and fostering of a sense of responsibility
- The enhancement of the ability to make meaningful connections with others
Substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health disorders frequently cause people to become withdrawn from reality. People suffering from these conditions often begin to feel that they have no control over their lives. They may lose sight of how their addiction impacts their relationships. Often, they convince themselves that they are the victim and that things are being done to them instead of taking responsibility for their actions. Feeling overwhelmed, they give up on trying to solve these problems. Adventure therapy is incredibly successful at bringing about the self-awareness needed to address these issues.
Learn More About the Adventure Therapy Progam at Westwind Recovery®
The adventure therapy program at Westwind Recovery® is one way we incorporate our deeply held belief that recovery should be a fun, exciting, and engaging process that ultimately brings a sense of joy, self-confidence, and accomplishment. To be successful in recovery, you have to commit to a lot of hard work on yourself, and it will be challenging at times, but the reward is a lifetime of well-being that you deserve.
Along with our adventure therapy program, we offer other experiential therapies, including:
Whether you are already an outdoor enthusiast or feel like it is something you would like to try, adventure therapy can offer you new and exciting ways to discover things you never knew about yourself as you travel down the road of recovery. Call us today to learn more. Your adventure awaits at Westwind Recovery®.
Dr. Deena is the Chief Clinical Officer of Westwind Recovery®, an award-winning outpatient treatment center in Los Angeles where she oversees the clinical and administrative program and treatment methods. Dr. Deena is a doctor of psychology and licensed clinical social worker since 1993. LCSW #20628. Originally from the East Coast, Dr. Deena has worked running treatment centers, worked as a therapist in psychiatric hospitals as well as school settings and currently has a thriving private practice in the LA area. Dr. Deena has appeared regularly on the Dr. Phil Show as an expert since 2003. She has also been featured on many other TV shows, podcasts and has contributed to written publications as well as podcasts.