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Reflections: What Young Adult Wilderness Therapy Was Like For Me

This blog is part of a series in which All Kinds of Therapy interviews different young adults who have had treatment as a teen or young adults. This is unedited.   It is just a snippet of the process that this young adult has gone through in treatment and will be going through in his lifetime. The blog has an Interview filter that provides a teen’s reflection on treatment to a young adult engaging in their own process. The name has been changed for confidentiality.


Where were you a year ago?

A year ago I was living at home taking online classes, at home, at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. I was looking to finish my sophomore year of college but lost the motivation to finish classes I had started on campus.


What has been the largest change in your life, since you have been through wilderness treatment?

The largest change in my life has been the amount of confidence I have gained through this treatment program. Being able to find myself in the wilderness boosted that confidence by giving me challenges that I was able to work through.


What do you attribute that change to?

I attribute the experiences I had on weekends whether that being a Peak adventure weekend filled with activities like rock climbing, paddling, and mountain biking, or the expedition weekends filled with hiking and team-oriented activities. It really gave me the opportunity to grow with other students who all came here for a similar reason.


Where do you want to be in 5 years?

In five years, I want to be out of college, living independently, and hopefully working for some variation of a professional hockey team.


What has been the hardest part of your path to treatment?

The hardest part of my path to treatment was finding the motivation to keep pushing. There are a lot of activities here that may seem pointless to some, but there is a therapeutic aspect in everything you do here, you just need to find out what it means to you.


What do you wish someone had said to you about going to treatment?

I wish someone told me that it would take awhile. I was lied to about the “90 days and you’re done” but instead learned that this is a process. You get out of the program what you put in and that may take a while longer than people may tell you before you enter. Don’t rush yourself because everyone’s path is different. There is no shame in taking the extra weeks.


Describe your thoughts about your parents’ process? What was the experience with them like?

I understand that they were given clinical work that they had to do but the hardest part was being honest with them about a lot of things I was hiding from them. The transparency letters are definitely the hardest part that the parents are involved within the process because there is a lot of honesty coming from both parties.


About the Author

Joe Smith* is now graduating from a program located in Hendersonville, North Carolina. He turned 21 last year, which means that attending this program was his decision rather than his parents having as much as a say. He is from Connecticut and now lives in New York City and is working back towards college and an eventual career.

* Name changed for confidentiality.