1. Engages All Your Senses for Optimum and Lasting Impact
I have long been trying to tell people that the more senses you engage in any setting the more impact any experience will have. As it turns out, research backs this up.
A study of outdoor experiential therapy (OET) showed that family functioning was positively impacted after two months from the point of treatment, and furthermore, a twelve month assessment revealed that the positive outcomes were still being maintained. Another similar study marked outdoor healthcare as improving family communication. Another states that it is beneficial to help one attain self-confidence and self-esteem. How could this not be true? After all, it is experiences that leave a lasting impact on the brain and heart!
2. Creates an Environment that Naturally Puts People at Ease
An important advantage that outdoor experiential therapy has is that it provides an environment that naturally puts people at ease. The Journal of Mental Health Counseling published an article relating to this very point. It stated, “Wilderness therapy, a specialized approach within adventure-based counseling (experiential therapy), provides an alternative treatment modality that maximizes the client’s tendency to spontaneously self-disclose in environments outside the counseling office.” (29(4), 338-349) Therefore, any issues you have to work out will be more easily brought out in an outdoor setting than in a counseling office.
3. Get More Accomplished with Less Time and Money
The Nordic Journal of Psychiatry, 60(4), 275-281, claims that with wilderness therapy (OET) or experiential therapy more patients can be treated in a shorter timeframe with almost the same outcome. Thus, it is very cost-effective!
4. What the Experts Are Saying…
“Adventure counseling initiatives promote therapeutic gains due to the real-world nature of exposing clients to potential conflicts and problem solving tasks.” (Gillen) Therefore, we see that great benefits are attained just by getting out and taking part in the experience!
“In particular, the group process utilized in many outdoor experiential therapy programs facilitates socially favorable circumstances for group cooperation, team building, group contributions, and leadership. Two additional benefits associated with outdoor experiential therapy in a social context are group decision-making and effective communication. During outdoor experiential or group challenge activities, participants are compelled to learn the art of listening to others (emphasis added). They come to understand that they can offer their own opinion toward resolution of the group’s problems, but they must also accept that others in the group have convictions to which they must listen and evaluate, as well (Schoel, Prouty, & Radcliff, 1988).”
“In sum, it can be seen that given the structure and components usually present in outdoor experiential therapy programs, the benefits gleaned by involvement in these activities transcend a broad spectrum of physical, social, and psychological-based outcomes. Learning to express opinions and propose compromises are parts of a developmental process that plays a pivotal role in effective communication and decision-making within any group situation (emphasis added). Other studies have indicated increased levels of self-actualization and increased perceptions of personal change as a result of participation in an outdoor adventure program (Vogel, 1988/89).” (emphasis added)
This the just the beginning of the benefits to experiential therapy. So why don’t you see for yourself. Come and experience the difference!