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Triple Divide Lodge

Is wilderness treatment right for me

Is A Wilderness Treatment Center Right For Me?

Mental health issues are becoming increasingly prevalent in our society. Whether it is due to the increased stressors of modern life or better diagnostic tools used by trained professionals, it is obviously something that needs to be addressed more overall. There are many different types of therapy, exercises, and medications that can help improve or address mental health concerns. One of the more exciting ones that has become increasingly popular in recent years is wilderness therapy. You might be wondering “Is a wilderness treatment center right for me?” Wilderness treatment centers on using the natural world to enhance therapeutic techniques and takes place in natural environments, such as forests or mountains. It has been shown to be beneficial for a variety of health issues both by itself and in conjunction with other treatment modalities.

Is wilderness treatment right for me

How Effective is Wilderness Treatment?

A growing body of research suggests that wilderness therapy can be an effective treatment for a variety of mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, executive functioning deficits, and ADHD. One of the key benefits of wilderness therapy is that it provides a unique and distraction-free environment in which participants can focus on their own thoughts and emotions. This type of environment can be especially beneficial for those with anxiety or depression, as it allows them to take a step back from their everyday lives and focus on their own well-being.


Anxiety is one of the most common mental health issues, and it can be debilitating for those who suffer from it. A study published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that wilderness therapy was an effective treatment for anxiety. They found that 65% of participants showed improvement after eight weeks of therapy with some even able to taper medication or wean themselves off entirely. While it may not be able to fully eliminate anxiety for everyone, any reduction of impact on the individual’s life can make everyday functioning more manageable.


Depression is another common mental health issue, and it can be difficult to treat. A study published in the journal Addictive Behaviors found that wilderness therapy was an effective treatment for depression. The study participants who received wilderness therapy showed significant reductions in depression symptoms, and the improvements lasted for at least six months after the treatment ended. Depression being such a dark cloud over young adults, it is easy to see why research like this is so promising. 

Executive Functioning

Executive functioning is the ability to plan, organize, and achieve goals, and it is essential for success in life. Executive functioning skills are often impaired in people with ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, and learning disabilities. A study published in the journal Research on Social Work Practice found that wilderness therapy was an effective intervention for executive functioning skills. The study participants who received wilderness therapy showed significant improvements in executive functioning skills, and the improvements lasted for at least six months after the treatment ended.


In addition, wilderness therapy can help participants learn new skills and strategies for coping with their mental health issues. Learning in a traditional classroom setting can be quite challenging for teens with ADHD. But wilderness therapy may offer a different and more effective way for them to learn. In wilderness therapy, teens with ADHD can learn important coping strategies while spending time in nature. Those with ADHD may learn how to better focus their attention and control their impulses, while those with anxiety may learn relaxation techniques and stress-management skills. 

Residential Care Combined With Wilderness Treatment Center

Wilderness therapy is a safe and effective intervention for a variety of mental health issues. It provides opportunities for self-reflection and growth, and it allows people to connect with nature. The benefits of wilderness therapy are long-lasting, and they extend beyond the time that people spend in nature. Overall, it can be an effective treatment for a variety of mental health issues. It provides a safe and supportive environment in which participants can focus on themselves and learn new skills for managing their mental health. Finally, wilderness therapy can provide a sense of accomplishment and pride. For those who have been struggling with addiction or other mental health issues, completing a wilderness therapy program can be a very empowering experience. It can help individuals to feel like they are capable of overcoming their challenges and lead healthy, successful lives.


By utilizing wilderness later in the process, we are able to promote gains made earlier. By that time clients are experiencing therapeutic gains and are starting to see the benefits of recovery. Through the utilization of the wilderness, this new setting provides insight that allows clients to experience the propensity they still have for falling back into old coping skills. This backslide helps them connect to the chronic nature of their condition in a way that promotes a stronger investment in continuing care planning. 

Triple Divide Lodge Is Here To Help

Wilderness, mental health, and substance abuse are all interconnected. By understanding the ways in which wilderness and nature can affect mental healthcare treatment, we can better support those who are struggling with addiction or other mental health issues. If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Triple Divide Lodge is an innovative program that combines the benefits of a traditional wilderness treatment center with the expertise of the clinical staff of a residential treatment and substance abuse center. By combining treatments and therapeutic techniques and focusing on teens between the ages of 14-19 TDL has a great understanding of how to motivate and instill confidence in the young men’s abilities to leave the program in a better place mentally. 


Patrick Hawkins is a Licensed Addictions Counselor. Since 1995 he has been dedicated to working with adolescents and young adults. He began working in this type of model in 1996 and has become a nationally trusted name utilizing the outdoors as a part of substance abuse treatment. He has led over 50 expeditions, accumulated over 1,100 days in the backcountry treating clients, and helped hundreds of young men and their families work toward recovery. Patrick helped teens with substance use disorders during his time as the Clinical Director of a wilderness therapy program for young men with drug and alcohol addictions. An expert in the field of experiential therapy, Patrick has led hundreds of clients on wilderness expeditions and supported their sobriety. Contact him at (406) 296-5776


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