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Sound research matters. I am a clinician who has practiced an evidence-based, intensive, in-home therapy model with teens and families for over a decade. So many parents struggle without the high level of support they need to parent kids who are hanging with troublesome peers and acting out. There is no easy fix. Changing deeply entrenched patterns takes collaboration, planning and deep commitment, but it pays off in the long run. Many of the parents I work with think boot camp/out-of-home placement will “fix” their kids and they’ll return home one day forever changed. We aim to help the family make the changes they desire in their own home, in their communities. Raising kids is tough, and I feel for parents whose experience is way more challenging than they expected. For some kids a wilderness camp may “work”, but without solid, independent studies it’s hard to know.
I guess the author doesn’t have Children. Certainly not those struggling. Maybe she considers funerals a cheaper and better option.
Wilderness “therapy” ruined my life. Five years later I’m still dealing with the trauma from it, and so is everyone else I know that ended up at various wilderness torture camps. 90% of these places are dangerously abusive and designed to break kids down for zombie-like compliance. It is not therapy, and it literally kills children.
I think the title of this article is somewhat unfortunate and misleading. The title of this article suggests that the authors are evaluating the impact of wilderness on wilderness therapy programs and I was excited to see what they found. Unfortunately, this article isn’t really about the impact of wilderness. This would be difficult to measure as there are so many variables conflated in these therapeutic programs, including: experiencing nature; primitive living skills and the collaborative social environment; forcing people to participate – in a potentially trauma inducing fashion; isolation from social media / electronic devices; an audience with significant behavioral and mental challenges; and many more.
As a former outdoor instructor who led wilderness programs for schools like the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) I know that immersion in WILDERNESS and SOCIAL WILDERNESS EXPERIENCES have a very positive impact on most people who participate. These are non-therapy programs that are populated by people who choose to participate. For my part, I will never doubt the powerful potential of well run and ethical wilderness therapy programs. And, they alone, will never be enough to support people in such deep and complex need.
Great article, balanced and fair. We chose wilderness therapy for our child, and it was life-saving, life-changing. Totally support this approach when nothing else works.
Bravo!!!! Great piece!!!