Anticipated Challenges to Wilderness Therapy, and How to Overcome Them

Written by: Woodcreek Academy

If you’re the parent of a troubled teen, it can feel hopeless at times. Many parents complain that they’ve tried everything that they can think of, when really the issue has to do more with the environment. We like to believe we can flip a switch on kids and make them into the kinds of people we want them to be, but reality throws us a curve ball. That’s why there’s been an explosion of programs for troubled teens in the United States. However, that increase in schools and programs comes with some challenges parents need to be aware of before they enroll a child.

The “Short Stay”

There are some reports within the industry that parents are pressured into re-enrolling kids for longer programs under threat of relapse. Here are the facts:

A boot camp for teenagers is only a part of the solution. Parents should understand this going into the program, and be prepared to make significant changes at home. Re-enrolling can be helpful for those unable to make these changes, but a re-lapse threat should never be considered a guarantee. These kids have learned how to rely on themselves, and on one another. Only time will tell how that knowledge has benefitted them long term.

Physical Conditioning

A walk in the woods is arduous. Before kids come to behavior modification schools, they should be aware of what’s expected of them. They will be expected to test their bodies, and they will need to endure conditions they don’t see in the city. They’ll have to cook their own food, ration water, and carefully consider how they use their energy over the course of the trip. Most kids do find this experience unpleasant, but it’s part of the healing process. Therapy is designed such that physical weakness (fatigue) helps to break down mental and emotional barriers.