The Structure of Wilderness-Based Therapy Programs
Though individual treatment facilities may differ in terms of daily scheduling, a typical wilderness therapy program such as that of the Aspen Achievement Academy includes these elements:
• Individual/team chores and responsibilities. Program participants complete assigned daily tasks such as preparing equipment for hikes, cooking meals, and cleaning the shelter and camp sites.
• Hiking and other physical activities. Outdoor excursions such as scheduled hikes and cooperative games allow teenagers to bond with one another and receive mentoring from staff members in a natural setting.
• Individual and group therapy sessions. Scheduled sessions with licensed therapists are also an element of this program. Therapists spend time reviewing treatment plans with staff members and talking to patients individually and as a group.
• Academic lessons. Adolescents in wilderness programs receive schooling in science, life skills, and health while completing hikes and observing nature.
• Personal time. Program participants have opportunities to write letters to family members, building campfires with peers, engaging in conversation, and playing games.