Passages Alaska Creates “Fishing Therapy”
Passages Alaska has the advantage of being on the beautiful waters of Alaska and uses fishing to take down the defensive walls of therapy. The students fish as part of the curriculum, but there are more specific goals when they’re out for the day. Their days are spent on the water, so individual fishing can be as often that they want for enjoyment, to take space. It’s a chance for a sense of accomplishment when something is caught and a chance to learn how to accept things don’t pan out as you would like when you don’t.
One day a week all this is taken a step farther. Sean Tomkinson LCSW, Owner and Clinical Director, takes the participants out on a fishing boat for the day. It’s six hours of fishing on the open seas with their therapist. The topsy turvy piece is in the student’s eyes, he becomes “Captain Sean.” This allows the barriers of those who want to be resistant to their work, to come down. It allows Sean to reach them on a different level.
It also allows for the very important practicing social skills between peers and authority figures as they must work together in a small space. There are a lot of rules when on the boat that the students must agree to before heading out. They can then learn that following rules are for safety and lead to something fun. There are so many benefits and metaphors to be used in “fishing therapy” that happen naturally while out on the water.
About Passages Alaska
Passages Alaska is a unique wilderness program in Southeast Alaska serving adolescent males and young adults aged 18-28 in gender specific groups. As participants come into the Alaskan Wilderness the coastal waters offer a fresh perspective and a new path. Hands-on therapeutic interventions include paddling, whale watching, fishing, primitive skill building and service to others. Extensive therapy and coaching is built in for those with anxiety, depression, ADHD, and failure to thrive.
Skookum House is an adventure high school with educational support designed to keep students engaged, active, and progressing toward graduation. Skookum House is for high school boys who have not been able to thrive at home or in a virtual school environment. Students may choose to use their home high school platform or another virtual platform. While living at SH, students will benefit from a more normalized social life, participate in outdoor Alaskan adventures while learning unique, confidence-building skills, and gain a respect for serving others.