Research shows that wilderness therapy is effective. It benefits children and young people who suffer from mental health problems. It gives those struggling with behavioral health a sense of accomplishment. It can even help kids and teenagers who struggle with socialization. However, those unfamiliar with this type of therapy may wonder how spending time out in nature will help solve the issues outlined above. WinGate Wilderness specializes in wilderness therapy and offers insight into how and why it works so well.

Humans are hardwired to need a connection with nature, WinGate Wilderness staff point out. Spending time in nature is beneficial for both physical and mental health. Group activities in nature stimulate the senses, reduce depression, and help people bond with others. It also helps to boost a young person's self-esteem. A teen who learns new skills and makes new friends while spending time in nature will likely show improvements in mental health and behavior. Wilderness Therapy, also known as Nature-Based Therapy (NBT),  augments these benefits by using time in nature to teach coping mechanisms and decision-making skills.

Furthermore, wilderness therapy teaches adaptability. Students learn how to adapt to nature and adjust to meet an objective. They can then carry this valuable skill back into the real world, enabling them to deal with challenges and problems healthily and effectively.

Teens' progress in wilderness therapy is long-lasting, making a clear impact on their lives. Most young people transitioning from wilderness therapy to their homes and schools show significant improvement toward their future goals. They are happier and more present than before, have more self-confidence, can use therapeutic coping mechanisms wisely to avoid falling into addictions or unhealthy relationships, and have the communication skills to develop and maintain good relationships with parents and teachers.

Some parents are concerned about the possibility of injury. WinGate Wilderness acknowledges that, while it is possible for a young person attending a wilderness therapy program to get hurt, the odds are slim. One recent study found that the injury rate in outdoor behavioral health programs is 1.12 out of every 1,000 participants, with the majority of these being very minor injuries such as sprains or scrapes. If a child has a physical health ailment that would limit participation in certain activities, parents should discuss these limitations with the therapy provider before enrolling a child in the program. Admissions staff can help parents understand if their child is fit to participate in a wilderness program, and all participants must undergo health assessment checks before admission. 

Wilderness therapy is growing in popularity, and with the modern technology-driven world luring more teens inside, it's not hard to see why. Research shows that wilderness therapy is effective in improving physical and mental health. It gives young people the skills they need to lead a healthy life. It has long-term benefits which can help a child or teen retain the skills and progress they make in future endeavors. In short, wilderness therapy can be the key to success for parents struggling to help a child or teen battling emotional, social, and mental health issues.

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