All Kinds of News for July 11, 2018
Trails Carolina, a wilderness therapy program for teens ages 10-17, proudly supports Family Clinical Director Jason McKeown MS, LMFT, CPE, DCC in his research exploring the healing aspects of objects and the use of objects to maintain health.
McKeown has spent over a decade working in wilderness therapy settings. During this time, he has observed the power of objects within a wilderness therapy milieu. Over the past three years, he has been part of an interdisciplinary team building a body of research that explores the theory and application of healing through the use of objects.
With the support of Trails Carolina and research grants, this research has been carried out over numerous projects, publications, and soon it will be turned into a book.
For the past two weeks, McKeown was in Derby, UK to engage in research at the Derby Museum.
“At an innovative museum in Derby, UK, there is an exhibit called ‘Objects of Love’,” comments McKeown. “What makes this exhibit captivating is that they invite the community to come and be photographed with their object of love. That photo is then featured in a digital gallery for anyone to see. These objects have such rich stories of sadness, perseverance, significance, and healing for everyone that participates. The engagement and hands on involvement that people in the community have with the museum is inspiring — it is evidence that museums as a form of outreach have an opportunity to help individuals and communities heal and maintain health through the use of objects and the stories held therein.”
At this exhibit, the research team performed in-depth interviews with 34 individuals which included individual interviews and focus groups. The individual interviews centered on the personal relationships the subjects had with objects that they hold dear, while the focus groups centered around observations of visitor engagement with objects in the collections and direct audience experiences with the collection.
Through their research at the Derby Museum’s exhibit, McKeown and his fellow researchers found that people have a deeper relationship with objects than they realize. Additionally, they found that objects of healing and wellness help people learn, discover, grasp, and share the personal journeys they are going through every day.
Each participant in the study seemed to have their life enriched by the object they chose and seemed to have a deeper understanding of the meaning and purpose of the object in their life and a clearer understanding of the meaning or purpose of their life. They may also have felt a that the object was reminding them of the ways in which they were fulfilling their life’s purpose.
“Students at Trails will usually have, find, make, or connect with objects in the wilderness that will allow them to feel a similar connection to objects as those individuals in the Derby study,” says McKeown, “whether that be a bowdrill serving as a reminder of their perseverance, a nature sculpture resembling their family, or a piece of art they made in therapy. These objects allow them to tell their story to others or to themselves in a way that allows for insight and change within their life. I remember a former student saying after a natural sculpture activity that it ‘helped make the intangible, tangible.’”
About Trails Carolina
Trails Carolina is a wilderness therapy program based just outside of Asheville, North Carolina that offers a multi-dimensional wilderness therapy model to troubled adolescents, ages 10-17. Trails capitalizes upon the profound effects of a student’s wilderness experience, and then combines that experience with strong clinical assessments and therapy. For additional information about Trails Carolina, please call 800-975-7303.