Role of Adventure Therapy in Sober Living

therapy and sober livingWhen some people think of therapy, they think of sitting in a room with a psychologist, lying on a couch, and spilling their innermost thoughts and feelings. While some therapy does look like that, adventure therapy is quite a bit different. This special type of therapy is active and focuses on putting the patient in new and often challenging situations.

While most types of adventure therapy take place in the great outdoors, the therapy can also happen inside. It typically focuses on camp-like activities and challenges, sometimes including but not limited to trust exercises, challenge courses and wilderness expeditions. While adventure therapy can sometimes seem like a hodgepodge of different things, it does have some unifying factors that typically exist from one program to the next. Most adventure therapy programs are designed to:

  • Increase the patient’s internal and external awareness – awareness of self and awareness of others
  • Increase the patient’s ability to adapt to new environments, challenges and situations
  • Increase and promote spirituality
  • Enable the patient to identify and alter negative attitudes, thoughts and behaviors
  • Increase independence and sense of personal responsibility
  • Lead to self-discovery and an increase in self-confidence
  • Promote exercise and an all-around healthy lifestyle

The History of Adventure Therapy

Adventure therapy has long been used as an alternative form of therapy to treat a wide range of conditions and issues. It is a particularly popular treatment for those with substance abuse issues and for troubled or seriously undisciplined teens who are heading down the wrong path. The therapy method has waxed and waned in terms of its popularity over the years, experiencing surges in popularity in both the 1960s and the mid-1990s. The therapy is almost always practiced in a group setting and has helped to produce wildly successful results for many individuals.

Not everyone, however, supports or believes in adventure therapy. Many researchers argue that not enough studies have been done on adventure therapy and its effectiveness, and still others argue that it has no clear, theoretical basis. Despite this, however, the therapy can be quite successful and has helped many people to reach their personal goals.

Adventure Therapy Programs

While not exactly rare, adventure therapy programs are less common than most other types of therapy. While there are some well-known names in adventure therapy, it is sometimes helpful to explore lesser-known options that may provide options and resources not otherwise available.

Sober Living and Adventure Therapy

While adventure therapy can prove very effective at treating some substance abuse issues, it usually has to be used in conjunction with another type of therapy or treatment. With that said, however, adventure therapy on its own is often incredibly beneficial to those trying to practice sober living after recovery from a substance abuse problem or addiction. This is because adventure therapy can help the recently sober to get better in tune with their bodies, to understand the body’s urges and to learn physical ways of dealing with cravings for the previously abused substances.

Furthermore, because adventure therapy targets the mind, body and spirit, it can make a person feel more complete, thus eliminating the need and desire to use the harmful substance. In addition to aftercare therapies, sober living homes provide safe, supportive environments for those new to sobriety. Some sober living homes offer therapy programs on site, while others work in conjunction with addiction treatment providers in their community. If you have any questions about how adventure therapy could augment your recovery, or the recovery of someone you love, or if you’d like help locating a sober living home in your area, please contact us.