Wilderness Treatment Center vs. Wilderness Programs

Raising teenagers could be a challenging job for any parent. However, there are certain times when teenagers may need more help than others. For parents who are looking for alternative intervention programs that could help them deal with struggling teens, wilderness treatment centers and wilderness programs may come up as viable options.

However, getting to know these two similar but essentially different programs is important if you want to be able to give your teen the right kind of help that he/she needs. Both wilderness treatment centers and wilderness programs use some form of outdoor therapy to help participants, and operate on some key similarities. However, there are important differences that you should be familiar with before you consider them as options.

What is a Wilderness Treatment Center?

A wilderness treatment center essentially deals with teens who have a substance abuse problems. Most teens who join these centers need a different kind of structure and therapy program. Teens who have a substance dependency problem affect the people around them in a big way. It could be a very challenging road to recovery because addiction can be considered a progressive disease and most of the time, dealing with the problem without professional help can yield only temporary results that come and go.

In wilderness treatment centers, therapy that’s designed for the recovery of substance abusers are integrated into a wilderness approach. The rugged environment, healthy physical activity, healthy diet, and interacting with other members of the group sets the groundwork for the substance abuse therapy. Taking the teen away from the complexities of dealing with his/her usual societal group, coupled with the activities of living in a wilderness setting are very instrumental in helping your teen achieve self-acceptance and develop a healthier self-esteem. All of which are very important in tackling the root issue of substance abuse.

What are Wilderness Programs?

Wilderness programs, on the other hand, also use outdoor therapy principles to help struggling teens. The main difference is that they help teens who are mostly struggling with different issues. for example, the Turning Winds Academic Institute has wilderness programs that specialize with teens who have issues like sexually acting out, those with ADD/ADHD, hyperactivity, depression, learning disabilities, and such. Turning Winds also handles teens with some level of substance abuse, like other wilderness programs, although the admissions process will determine whether the teen will be a good fit with the other teens admitted in the program.

The main concern of parents with children who are struggling with some behavioral and attitude issues is that they don’t want their children mixed in with other teens who have serious drug and alcohol dependency issues. This is the purpose of having a good admissions process in place. Also, parents who have children who have problems like having issues concentrating and socializing in school may not be comfortable with putting their children with other teens who have severe dependencies on alcohol and/or drugs.

The question of whether your teen will be better off in a wilderness treatment center or a wilderness program depends on what your teen needs. Asking the right questions when visiting these facilities can help you further identify if your child fits in to their programs or not.