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Unraveling the Truth about Wilderness Therapy Wilderness therapy as a form of cognitive behavioral treatment aims to bolster personal development, positive change, and bringing about self esteem using an outdoor setting. While there are many individual wilderness therapy programs as there as many practitioners, they all have this common thread about nature as some powerful force of balance and change in helping people who are struggling to overcome life’s challenges. The traditional approach of counseling is revised to be more applicable in an outdoor ambiance, whether it is doing horticultural tasks or exploring the wilderness either on foot or through horseback riding. The together of the person with other people and the bigger world is strengthened in these situations while at the same time encouraging self-reflection without the disruptions of contemporary living like cell phones or TV. In effect, wilderness therapy is a practical course of treatment alongside more traditional treatment practices for anxiety, depression, addiction, and other compulsive behavior.
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On the other hand, a good number of wilderness therapy programs are more geared toward young adults and teenagers who seem unable to face up to the demands of growing up. Peer pressure, family issues, drugs, the need to outdo others in school, and many other issues can be too much for a young adult to adult who is already anxious of the changes that naturally comes with growing up itself.
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A wilderness therapy center is not similar to a boot camp that families used as intervention for vulnerable teenagers or young adults that are showing uncontrollable behavior in efforts to regain authority over the child. Boot camps are more similar to military training camps that impose strict discipline and use a far more aggressive approach of behavior modification. Some of these boot camps are operated by the government in their efforts to rehabilitate criminals to prevent them from going back to their previous way of living which was why they got into trouble to begin with. Private boot camps that are focused on helping teenagers follow a parallel model and in an atmosphere of rigidly enforced discipline, unlike the method of wilderness treatment centers which is more passive. The similarities of wilderness therapy and boot camps are superficial, contrary to what some people believe. Boot camps, although it may be found in a similar rugged environment, tend to adopt some uniform approach in the way they encourage self-respect and self-discipline. Wilderness therapy, however, usually takes a more personal and customized approach and teaches people on how to alter their manner of thinking about demanding situations to effect more positive decision choices.