Wilderness therapy offers a highly therapeutic intervention for struggling individuals, primarily children, adolescents, and young adults. This type of therapy differs from the traditional in that the student is given a greater opportunity for continuous self-focus through more natural settings. In a classic therapeutic approach, one would meet with his/her therapist a few times a week and then be thrown back out into the world, not allowing him/her to apply the therapy to the fullest extent. Therapeutic wilderness programs deliver students the ability to apply the therapy sessions. Through the wilderness, students learn to apply concepts from therapy in the moment. The wilderness experience creates a fresh opportunity for families to gain a deeper perspective and understanding of components for a healthy relationship and how to apply them to their own unique family dynamic.
Wilderness therapy incorporates all elements of individual, group, and family therapy in a more simplified, focused environment. Removing the background noise of school drama, technology, and other distracting factors allows the student to focus on his/her personal challenges. Wilderness therapy provides the healthiest environment for students to learn new and effective coping strategies for emotional struggle. In the therapeutic wilderness experience, students work in groups, offering ample opportunities to improve communication skills, identify safe ways to express emotion, and build positive relationships with peers and adults. It utilizes the wilderness as a classroom in order to teach natural and logical consequences, communication skills, independence, and build a more positive self-image.