All Kinds of News for December 06, 2017
Dragonfly Transitions began as a wilderness therapy program in June of 2000 and has since evolved into a young adult transition program. Dragonfly remains committed to the philosophy hands-on learning and trying new things. Change and growth occur within the context of exploring new areas, having new experiences, and the community that is created through shared experience. Each year Dragonfly Transitions engages in a variety of adventures whether it’s travel to Cambodia, floating the Rogue River, or a trip to Portland or San Francisco. The research demonstrates that Dragonfly’s philosophy of hands on learning allows students to reflect on and practice new skills and embrace ways in which to interact in the world beyond treatment.
One alum recently shared the therapeutic benefit of new experiences and challenging themselves to step outside their comfort zone:
The overarching theme of just new experiences, any sort of new things I did with Dragonfly, whether it was the rafting trips that I went on with them or skiing, even horseback riding, which I hadn’t really done. Those were all exciting and overcoming the little challenges that I found helpful, especially with OCD. I’ve had a lot of fear with trying new things or leaving the comfort zone, which I’m sure a lot of the students do, so those new things were good.
In December, Dragonfly students will participate in an annual trip to Portland, Oregon. The trip focuses on service work to those in need, as well as highlights the unique cultural activities that Portland has to offer. This trip presents students with an opportunity to get to know the city, take part in cultural experiences, and broaden their horizons. Many of the Dragonfly students come from cities and miss the lifestyle that accompanies it. Old memories and triggers can present themselves; these can be old behaviors, substances, or technology. The Portland trip allows for a safe environment to work through these obstacles and prepares students for upcoming home visits. Many students can also take the opportunity to tour Portland State University.
Reflecting on this trip specifically, another alum offered: “Going to Portland was a good experience after a lifetime of depression and anxiety.”
The Dragonfly adventure trips, led by therapists and mentors, contribute to the overall treatment alliance between program staff and participants. New and challenging experiences in treatment can create opportunities to develop significant levels of trust. In addition, shared experience combined with challenge, fun, and camaraderie, support the therapeutic alliance. These experiences can enhance interpersonal growth through building positive social interactions, stretching personal limits, and strengthening group cohesion. The interpersonal connections and community created through this process is a catalyst for change. It compels a more active participation in one’s own treatment and increases responsibility for change while engaging the participants’ internal motivation. Additionally, these adventures and new challenges engage students on physical, cognitive, and affective levels while at the same time it can be viewed as fun.
About Dragonfly Transitions
Dragonfly Transitions serves young adults 18 -30 in three locations in Southern Oregon – Klamath Falls, Ashland, and the Homestead (for men, just south of Klamath). Students learn life skills and work to transition into a healthy young adult life with independence, autonomy, integrity and sustainability. Dragonfly provides opportunities for real world experience in a stable, supportive environment where students can flourish.