Family Involvement in Wilderness Therapy Programs

Family Involvement in Wilderness Therapy Programs

Family Involvement in Wilderness Therapy Programs

When you think of family, how does it make you feel? It may bring back joyful memories that put a smile on your face, or maybe you feel a wave of regret because you don’t have the family relationships you hoped for. For many of us, our feelings towards family are extremely different. Regardless of how we may feel, our family built the foundation of our self-identity. The values we embody, interests we pursue, and relationships we build are all influenced by our family experiences. Children going through wilderness therapy programs are no different.

Our family is our foundation, it is the core of our support system, wellbeing, and self-identity. Which is why family interaction is so important for troubled youth.

Through family interaction we learn:
  • Communication
  • Understanding
  • Empathy
  • Self-awareness
  • Team work.

An Emphasis on Family Involvement

While a wilderness therapy option may seem to isolate teens from family, many actually do the opposite. Most wilderness therapy programs put a strong emphasis on including the whole family. Wilderness therapy programs believe that it is an important part of a teen’s journey to share the experience with their family. Their goal is to create a partnership between the teen, family, and wilderness therapy team. Most programs have a structured communication plan that includes individual and family therapy.

To ensure that the whole family is included, wilderness therapy programs provide multiple ways for teens to stay connected. Most wilderness therapy programs include weekly communication with teen’s therapist, letter writing between teen’s and family members, video journaling, video conferencing for family therapy sessions, phone call therapy sessions with teens and family, and also a parent program where family spends time in-person.

Wilderness therapy programs strive to provide youth with the skills needed to maintain communication skills after the end of the program. As teens develop through the wilderness therapy programs, they gradually need less assistant with maintaining constructive and open communication with family. By the end of the program, both youth and family have created a new, solid relationship.

This blog was originally posted on BlueFire Wilderness Therapy’s website. Click here to view the post.  


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