Teens going on a backpacking trek

The Importance of Adventure Therapies in Recovery

In our weekly Adventure Therapy program, teens are guided through exhilarating, enriching outdoor adventures by a Master’s level licensed therapist. They build confidence, develop new skills and interests, and learn to take on challenging circumstances within a safe therapeutic environment. This is accomplished through carefully developed and facilitated challenges that young men need in order to develop resilience, self-esteem, and decision-making skills that include care for self and others.

Therapist DJ Laing on Counselor Magazine
Muir Wood therapist DJ Laing and Founder Scott Sowle appear in Counselor Magazine discussing adventure therapy for teens.

The all-day Sunday Adventure Outings integrate the best practices of psychotherapeutic treatment for addiction and the time-tested processes of initiation. This dynamic combination fosters the growth of teens into the role of being purposeful young men in an experiential weekly process of self-discovery. While having lots of exciting outdoor fun, each weekly outing provides teens the opportunity to: 

  • Set personal goals
  • Support others in achieving their goals
  • Contribute to the achievement of goals defined by the group
  • Deepen their practice of inquiry and reflection
  • Experiment with new skills
  • Monitor progress toward accomplishing personal goals

In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.

– John Muir

With the famed Muir Woods National Park and the spectacular Point Reyes Seashore and National Park nearby, along with numerous California state parks and open spaces surrounding our campus, the natural beauty that surrounds Muir Wood is unapparelled. We provide activities such as hiking, ropes courses, and mountain biking that provide the focal point, along with the spectacular natural setting, for every adventure outing. This integrative model accelerates personal growth with a sense of adventure.

During the Sunday Adventure Therapy Program, each teens’ therapeutic goals are incorporated into their immediate direct experience on the adventures. The therapist highlights the process, supporting reflection and discussion. This approach offers real-time feedback in a real-life experience to allow each teen to try new ways of solving challenges and exploring new approaches to managing stress. All outings provide a safe, yet exhilarating process, to grow competence and gain confidence.

The Sunday Adventure Therapy Program also facilitates growth that may have been negatively impacted by substance abuse, process addictions, and mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. The goal of Sunday is to challenge the teens to develop resilience, self-esteem, and decision-making skills that include care for self and others.

The Muir Wood Adventure Therapy Program facilitates growth in many areas including:

  • Self-Regulation
  • Self-care
  • Group responsibility
  • Creative problem solving
  • Communication
  • Leadership
  • Awareness
  • Orienting
  • Strategic planning
  • Active contribution/participation
  • Cooperation
  • Empathy
  • Consensus/group decision making
  • Sense of belonging
  • Recognition of interdependence and connection