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Adventure Therapy for Addiction Recovery

Adventure Therapy for Addiction RecoveryAdventure therapy treats many psychological and behavioral issues, including substance abuse and addiction, through an active approach. The roots of adventure therapy go back at least to the early 20th century, but the method has gained popularity and become more prominent since the 1960s. Adventure therapy has been used extensively with youth and adolescents in programs such as Outward Bound, but is also used to treat adult patients. Adventure therapy is usually practiced in a group setting, but programs designed to treat individuals are becoming more common.

Some critics deride adventure therapy for a lack of a clear theoretical basis, but advocates are little concerned with this argument because of adventure therapy’s effectiveness in addressing psychological issues. Adventure therapy has consistently shown a high rate of success, so Des Moines drug addicts can recover if they use this method.

How Does Adventure Therapy Work?

Adventure therapy starts with standard cognitive-behavioral therapy and adds a physical, experiential element. In adventure therapy the counselor or therapist acts as a leader, directing activities designed to relate to the targeted treatment issue. Often the challenges involved serve as metaphors for the issues in question. For instance, climbing a mountain can serve as a metaphor for overcoming addiction. Practitioners of adventure therapy speak of using metaphoric activities to form isomorphic connections. An isomorphic connection occurs when learning gained from a specific activity or experience is then transferred to other life experiences. In other words, the self-confidence, cooperation and problem-solving skills gained during adventure therapy are applied to all aspects of life, including addiction recovery. Des Moines residents will learn to overcome obstacles and then how to apply that success to addiction recovery. Adventure therapy utilizes the following methods and activities:

  • Experience
  • Challenge
  • Action
  • Adventure
  • Perceived risk
  • Cooperation
  • Problem solving
  • Trust activities
  • Cooperative games
  • Obstacle courses
  • Wilderness expeditions
  • Hiking
  • Backpacking
  • Rock climbing and rappelling
  • Canoeing
  • Sailing
  • Dog sledding

If Des Moines drug addicts would rather use these methods than traditional rehab, they may succeed in adventure therapy.

Benefits of Adventure Therapy

Adventure therapy is not right for everyone, as personal interest, physical limitations or medical issues might preclude participation in adventure therapy. Des Moines residents who seek adventure therapy can expect the following benefits:

  • Improved self-concept and self-esteem
  • Improved problem-solving skills
  • Reduced depression
  • Improved attitude
  • Improved overall behavior
  • Reduction in inappropriate behavior
  • Improved interpersonal skills
  • Lower recidivism rates than traditional therapy
  • Stronger connection between participants and therapists due to shared experiences

Additionally, there is the intangible factor; Des Moines residents who may never experienced the wilderness can get to know themselves on a much deeper level and may find something within themselves that they never knew was there. The chance to challenge themselves, to be part of a team and to achieve a sense of accomplishment can be the critical turning point in a person’s life.

Help for Des Moines Residents Seeking Adventure Therapy

If you live in Des Moines and would like to know more about adventure therapy, call us now. Our staff is happy to discuss your case with you, determine if adventure therapy is right for you and help you find the best program for your needs. Our helpline is toll free and we are available 24 hours a day, so call us now.