Frequently Asked Questions About Wilderness Therapy And How It Can Help Me

Expressing yourself in various mediums releases your repressed thoughts, emotions, and feelings. Your creativity mirrors your identity. It shows your cognition, personality, and perception of yourself and the world around you.

Art makes this possible for everyone, and it doesn’t need to be extravagant. Through art, you can be vulnerable and open. 


Art can also be beneficial for your mental health. It helps in destressing and alleviating complex depressive symptoms. For instance, when the traditional method of managing these emotions, such as psychotherapy, is not possible, engaging the patient in the art can help them process their current situation.

Furthermore, it also lets the client explore the issues they are facing, which may reduce anxiety.

In case that art therapy sessions do not work, wilderness therapy can provide you with an alternative treatment strategy. It can help manage depressive symptoms.

Wilderness therapy involves outdoor experiences and environmental activities to engage a holistic approach to mental health. Wilderness therapy can address problems in behaviors by fostering the emotional growth of patients.

Historically, wilderness therapy started in the 1960s when a German educator, Kurt Hanh, founded Outward Bound. The facility focuses on the self-discovery and the personal growth of students.

It works towards its goal through conducting expeditions into the wilderness. In the 1970s, it became a substitute treatment strategy to address maladaptive behaviors of adolescents. 

Wilderness therapy offers improvement in mental, emotional, and behavioral health. Its main focus is to develop healthy coping strategies. The treatment aims to facilitate positive changes in relationships, academic performance, attitude, and behavior.

Moreover, it helps in developing self-identity and self-perception through educating about self-love and self-care.

If you are interested to know more about how wilderness therapy can help you through environmental exposure and holistic healing, we’ve listed a series of frequently asked questions below. 

How effective is wilderness therapy? 

Wilderness therapy programs are designed to build success-oriented identities useful for individuals. It aims to increase self-concept, self-confidence, the focus of control, hope, social skills, and improved interpersonal relationships.

It is an effective method for treating unsettled issues such as sexual behavior, substance abuse, child abuse and neglect, and emotional conflict. But it is vital to understand that wilderness programs have limitations.

Thus, not because it can effectively show positive results to certain people; it does not mean it can process everybody’s same results.

What does a wilderness therapist do? 

Wilderness therapy is a treatment strategy for mental health designed to help adolescents with maladaptive or dysfunctional behaviors. Wilderness programs work alongside therapy treatments, administered by a licensed professional therapist.

It aims to allow individuals to understand the challenging experiences in an outdoor wilderness environment to enhance adaptive and survival skills.

It progresses through kinetically engaging individuals that target best results on affective, cognitive, and behavioral levels.

How do you become a wilderness therapist? 

A wilderness Therapist is also an adventure Field Guide that leads and teaches groups of students in safe activities. These include rappelling or rock climbing, backpacking, biking, downhill skiing, and canyoneering.

But to become a wilderness therapist, it is best to earn a master’s degree in psychology. There should be a focus on recreational therapy to allow real-life learning skills to help students succeed.

Aspiring wilderness therapists should develop leadership skills to lead a group in a backcountry environment.

How effective are wilderness programs for juveniles? 

The wilderness Project program Adventures’ effectiveness for juveniles reveals amazing Results for teenage participants in the treatment group. These kids experienced significantly lower re-arrest rates compared to those who are not part of the program.

That is because wilderness programs target outdoor behavioral issues, which involve therapeutic wilderness experiences. It is less expensive and practical than other treatment forms to help teens with emotional, physical, and mental health issues.


 How much does a wilderness therapist make? 

A wilderness therapist uses an outdoor program treatment strategy to help adolescents with maladaptive or dysfunctional behaviors.

A licensed wilderness therapist usually makes $36,000 to $50,000 per year. This salary can include subsidized costs and benefits while in the backcountry.

Some wilderness therapists with enough wilderness leadership skills somehow make approximately $125 to $200 per day.

How much does the True North wilderness program cost? 

True North wilderness program strives to maintain competitive and fair tuition.

The wilderness therapy programs can be beneficial to teens as they roam on 500 acres of private land and another 12,500 acres of state forest. And a typical stay in their place runs about six to eight weeks, for $20,000 to $25,000.

At the same time, True North offers occasional financial assistance. However, it doesn’t have official offers for different types of scholarships yet.

What are wilderness programs for youth? 

The wilderness therapy program is a mental health treatment strategy that helps teens address their maladaptive behaviors.

It caters to combined therapy challenges and outdoor wilderness environment experiences that allow teenage participants to engage in all levels of activities targeting affective, cognitive, and behavioral aspects.

Wilderness therapy programs help improve emotional, mental, & behavioral health through intensive clinical intervention and assessment. It also helps teenagers develop healthy coping strategies and required skills to facilitate academic performance, interpersonal relationships, behavior, attitude, and self-identity.

What are the therapeutic programs? 

A therapeutic program is a rehabilitative treatment managed by a professional health care provider or licensed therapist that focuses on deliberate ideas, items, performances, and series of future events relating to the healing of people’s diseases or disorders.

It is a live-in health care facility that provides therapy for individuals experiencing substance abuse, social relationships, behavioral problems, or other mental illnesses.

A therapeutic program is structured throughout the day, so it works with different activities deliberately designed to boost individuals’ health and well-being.

What can you do for troubled youth? 

Before making any move, it is important to set limitations for yourself and your teen. Always put in mind that what works for others does not guarantee a beneficial result on your part.

To assist a troubled teen, you should be aware of your stress levels first. That way, your emotional and mental health will not affect you once boundaries, rules, and consequences are handed out. You must acknowledge your teen’s anger and understand what’s behind that particular emotion.

Expect rejection and be aware of the warning signs of an outburst. It is important that establish common ground so that you can show your teen that you will always be there for him or her no matter what.

What is an eco therapist? 

Ecotherapy or green therapy is a term for nature-based treatment that focuses on healing through outdoor activities. It depicts a regular and structured outdoor activity led by professionals and often therapists who embrace ecopsychology principles.

These professionals’ roles are to support you, help you improve physical and mental health, reconnect you to nature, and uncover new solutions to long-standing life problems.

What is a wilderness therapy guide? 

Wilderness therapy field guides are those professionals that are trained and well-knowledgeable about outdoor activities.

They are the ones that lead and safely teach groups of students and teenagers in activities that include biking, backpacking, hiking, canyoneering, mountain climbing, rappelling, and downhill skiing.

These professionals encourage teenagers to engage in different activities that support cognitive, affective, and behavioral development.

When did wilderness therapy start?

Wilderness therapy starts when Psychologist Scott Bandoroff, Ph.D., launched the field in 1990.

It was known then as “wilderness family therapy” because young teenagers began to encourage self-discovery and personal growth during their experience of challenging expeditions into the wilderness.

The wilderness therapy program allows the kids to return to their families with an addressed behavior, attitude, and personality that improves family dynamics.


Performing art or even engaging in traditional visual art can help you express yourself in various ways. Art is a place free from the judgment and opinion of other people. It is a medium where you can expose yourself to the different beauty of the world.


Even with depression, art can be a way of soothing your soul. It can mirror our identities and reveal our true passion.

Art may also show worries, fears, and even our repressed and traumatic thoughts. With that, art therapy can give a multi-dimensional medium to be vulnerable. It can help in alleviating your stress and reducing depressive symptoms. 

If you are not the type of person to express your creativity, you should consider wilderness therapy instead. Through engaging in outdoor activities and exposing yourself to nature, you can find a more holistic approach to healing and managing your mental health condition.

Wilderness therapy had been proven to help in addressing aggressive behaviors among adolescents. It can also help channel energy in physical programs.

This therapy is effective in cultivating cognition, affection, and behavior kinetically. It can also help develop a deeper and more meaningful sense of identity.

Understanding how your self-concept influences the control of your confidence, social skills, and interpersonal relationships are the main goals of wilderness therapy. You may also encounter dealing with adaptive and survival skills aside from improving your psychosocial abilities.

However, it is worth note-taking how wilderness therapy cannot produce the right results for everyone. Some may be unresponsive to this treatment. 

If you have second thoughts about wilderness therapy, consult a mental health professional. Seeking the best treatment option suitable for your mental health needs should always be your priority. The first step is to always ask for help.

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