All Kinds of News for September 11, 2019
Neal Christensen, PhD, joined forces with Dr. Jonathan Hoffman of the Neurobehavioral Institute (NBI) to demystify diagnosis and treatment for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in a wilderness therapy setting. Neal and Jon used the platform of the 2019 Wilderness Therapy Symposium to engage the clinicians, field staff, and other treatment practitioners in attendance about some of the myths and misperceptions surrounding a disorder that many have believed to be contraindicated to treatment in the outdoors.
“I believe that OCD is misunderstood and very likely underdiagnosed among our population,” said Dr. Christensen, co-owner and Clinical Director at Elements Wilderness Program. “What’s fascinating about OCD is that once you understand what you’re seeing, you can truly dive in and start working with your client to address a debilitating condition. The foundational elements of wilderness living, paired with Elements curriculum dovetails very well to treat OCD. At its most basic form, Jon and I are both asking our clients to face their anxiety of uncertainty to increase their capacity to deal with their identified stressors. This is done by approaching and confronting their obsessions while working through what lies underneath these obsessions.”
Neal has always advocated for more robust training and involvement of direct care staff, presenting at past Wilderness Symposia on various subjects, such as working with neuro-atypical clients in programming designed for neurotypical clients. Neal and his business partner Lynn Smith have made a defining feature of Elements Wilderness Program the depth of training for direct care staff in subjects ranging from substance abuse counseling and motivational interviewing (MI) to Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) skills development. Neal and the entire Elements Clinical team are forerunners in the involvement of Elements’ direct care staff into truly individualized treatment for OCD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Substance Use Disorder, and other presenting conditions.
Since 2008, Elements Wilderness has been providing a specialized therapeutic intervention for adolescent boys aged 13-17. We at Elements envision a world in which everyone has the skills and support necessary to live a full and healthy life. Through innovative therapeutic and psychiatric intervention, a comprehensive outdoor living experience complete with expeditionary backpacking and adventure programming, a robust family program involving the family at every step, and evidence-based substance abuse treatment, we strive to provide our clients with intervention, treatment, and assessment. www.elementswilderness.com