Wilderness and Adventure Therapy

“It is only in adventure that some people succeed in knowing themselves.”

– Andre Gide

Most wilderness therapy programs are designed to occur over several weeks or months in  remote wilderness environment with little to no interaction with family and local communities.  While this approach may be beneficial for some, we believe that lasting results of wilderness therapy are much more likely to occur when youth remain connected with their families, support systems, schools, and social environments. The growth and transformation that occurs in the wilderness is often exponentially greater than “talk therapy” alone. However, the key to this really making a positive difference in your family is how the changes are brought back into the home and community environment. We offer a unique and fresh approach to adventure and wilderness interventions that creates positive change in the moment and lasting change far beyond the experience itself.

Our wilderness therapy experiences are purposefully shorter in length and scheduled with a frequency that supports the treatment goals of therapy. Weekend or multi-day programs are specifically developed to address your child’s therapeutic needs in an outdoor and adventure-based environment. We choose unique venues for purposefully rigorous yet exciting interventions that have been proven to simultaneously challenge and engage your child. Each adolescent, young adult or family have opportunities for action-based learning and challenging experiences to practice concepts (relationship skills, new belief systems, coping skills ) that complement what is being learned in Individual or Family Therapy.  Activities might include rock climbing, rafting, hiking, biking, art and pottery studios, as well as visits to local parks and reservoirs for specific skill-based activities. Our skilled wilderness interventionist design adventure programming that creates a purposeful balance of fun, healthy anxiety, treatment-specific interventions, and safe conditions as your child and/or family enjoys the outdoor playground of Colorado’s urban and mountain regions.

Family Engagement – Our unique approach in how to utilize Wilderness Therapy offers multiple opportunities to incorporate family involvement.  Whether it is a planned family intervention that complements Family Therapy or the final wilderness intensive of your child’s Intensive Treatment Program, we thoughtfully design an experience that involves everyone.  This becomes a prime opportunity to practice what has been learned outside of the home, successfully navigate the challenges of the outdoors, and engage in a way that promotes fun, teamwork, and problem solving as a family.  To learn more about specific programming in Family Adventure Therapy, please feel free to contact us or our main office at 303-861-1916.

Bringing the Wilderness Therapy experience home

It’s worth working through the discomfort and pain to get to the sweet stuff.
– 17-year-old client’s insight after hiking uphill to ski the fresh powder while on a Therapeutic Wilderness Intensive

Youth that are away for four weeks to three months can speak to their successes— learning many new skills from the wilderness program, finding a sense of self-confidence, and trusting their ability to count on peers and leaders. However, to successfully bring a child back into the home and school environment, families need guidance and support to ensure a successful transition process. Often this is overlooked, under-planned, or just not adequate to bring the significant learning that occurred in the wilderness back to everyday relationships and interactions.  With our unique approach to wilderness therapy, the transitions are less disruptive, include your significant family members, and are part of a well planned and purposeful treatment process.  You will receive expert coaching on how to generalize learning from the intensive to real-life situations.

Because Equinox offers Wilderness Therapy as a supportive versus the sole element of the therapeutic process, we recommend this intervention at very specific junctures of your child’s treatment versus taking a “one experience fits all” approach. While some programs try to fit a square peg in a round hole, we are truly client centered. We choose the adventure activities and wilderness settings based on the unique needs of each adolescent or teenanger.  In situations where several clients would benefit from similar experiences or a shared experience with peers, we provide tailored group adventures.  So whether it is rock climbing, cross country skiing, rafting trips, or trekking through the Colorado Rockies, you can be assured the Wilderness and Adventure Therapy experience will be meaningful to your treatment needs, create opportunity for growth and learning, and provide a balance of challenge and fun.