At Sørlandet hospital in Norway, the therapists have replaced the notepad with a backpack. Wilderness therapy for young people with mental health challenges has become an international phenomenon. We're proud to be onboard.
Would you like to empower yourself and get better contact with your own feelings? Maybe get a new sense of achievement? Then you should notice the new buzzword “Wilderness therapy.”
Research shows that nature makes you happier, healthier, more creative. As these are well-known facts by now, nature and outdoor pursuits as an actual form of treatment are still quite unknown.
- Much of the noise we are surrounded by daily, that being social media, big workloads, and a continuous high pace is removed when we are out in the wilderness, says the project leader of Wilderness therapy and psychologist Leiv Einar Gabrielsen.
What exactly is wilderness therapy?
- Well, we are writing a book about the topic right now, in order to explain this properly. But shortly summarized we put together small groups of people with a multidisciplinary therapist team out in nature. We have both day trips and overnight trips that last up to a week. Along the way, we have both individual conversations and group discussions. The goal for the participants is to become better acquainted with themselves - also through the other people in the group. As these tours provide - and they almost always do - a new sense of achievement, we then work to ensure transfer value into everyday life.
This can prevent mental problems?
-Yes. I think there are very few who would disagree with that. In fact, many say that physical activity in nature is the single most health-promoting thing we can do.
The psychologist believes there are four main factors in Wilderness therapy that lead to change:
1.Nature is a restoring element in itself. For instance, your concentration becomes better after being in the wilderness.
2.Relaxing surroundings allow for more self-esteem and contact with our own feelings. It provides an important sense of achievement.
3.Participants receive tasks that must be solved through planning, collaboration, and creativity.
4.Participants receive individual treatment and follow-up both before and after and during weekend trips into the wild. In addition, group therapy and group discussions are conducted.
We can’t change ourselves without being in touch with ourselves. In an urban and digital life, we simply don’t get time to know how we really are doing. By getting outdoors and removing the "everyday noise we’re able to meet ourselves in new ways
So is Wilderness Therapy a quick fix?
No - it's too easy to say that it's a quick fix. But the vast majority of people actually reduce stress and negative thoughts by being in an outdoor setting they feel like they master. We regret much of what we do in life, but when did you last hear anyone regret taking a trip out in nature?
← Leiv Einar