Equinox RTC Adds Rock Climbing to Summer Adventure Activities
At Equinox RTC, a residential treatment center for teen boys ages 14-18, students have begun rock climbing as part of their adventure programming activities. This summer, they will learn the basics of climbing and have opportunities to climb in local gyms and various outdoor settings.
Led by Director of Recreation Therapy Natalie Stark, students participate in indoor and outdoor rock climbing activities. Initially, students predominantly spend their time climbing indoors at local gyms. Beginning with indoor climbing helps students learn the fundamentals of climbing techniques and prepares them for the more challenging aspects of outdoor climbing and bouldering.
“A lot of people think just being outside is inherently therapeutic, but there have been many studies in the past few years that show that outdoor time combined with physical activity positively impacts mental health, and rock climbing specifically fills that niche,” said Natalie Stark, certified Recreational Therapist. “Climbing can be used to teach mindfulness, can help improve social skills, build community, and can be a healthy thrill-seeking alternative for those struggling with substance use.”
Climbing also stimulates cognitive functioning by providing opportunities for strategic thinking and reflection. It provides an experiential, hands-on opportunity to explore emotional regulation as staff help students identify their challenges and talk through their anxiety.
Staff are trained to encourage students to draw on the skills they’ve learned in their DBT group sessions while facing challenging climbing scenarios. For example, learning to regulate their emotions can help mentally and physically calm them and make it possible to determine the right next step. Equinox believes this allows for new neurological pathways to be formed and/or reinforced. Students with anxiety, depression, and executive functioning challenges benefit greatly from these concrete, hands-on experiences.
Rock climbing is part of the adventure programming opportunities students enjoy at Equinox. Depending on the time of year, students also participate in mountain biking, canoeing, skiing, and snowboarding. The adventure program strives to teach students how to utilize the skills they’re learning in therapy in real-life scenarios, preparing them for life after treatment.
Students will continue to work on their climbing skills and advance into bouldering outdoors in Western North Carolina as they increase their skill set. For more information about Equinox RTC, please visit equinoxrtc.com or call (877) 279-8925.
About Equinox RTC
Equinox RTC is a leading residential treatment center for boys ages 14-18. Equinox is unique in its focus on Trauma, Loss, and Attachment, providing clinically intensive treatment for boys struggling with anxiety, depression, OCD, ASD, learning disabilities, and other emotional and behavioral needs. Equinox offers a combination of clinically sophisticated support with a whole-person approach including adventure therapy, health and fitness program, and a whole foods diet. Equinox provides a fully accredited school, with broad course selections taught by licensed teachers in a college-preparatory environment.