near the water with two young men in the backgroundAt Calusa Recovery, we believe in the power of adventure therapy. Also known as “experiential therapy,” this treatment includes activities that range from camping to kite boarding, allowing men who are working to break free of addiction to spend time in nature and with each other in healthy, positive ways that build them up physically, mentally and emotionally. Contact us today to learn more about our experiential therapy activities, or read on to find out more about this methodology.

What Is Adventure Therapy?

Adventure therapy is a treatment that uses a variety of recreational activities to recreate emotionally charged situations that, with counseling, will equip participants to deal positively with their feelings. This model has been around since the 1960s and is used in addiction recovery programs and counseling programs for families, youth and those dealing with mental health disorders. Spending time in nature is a key component — often in the wilderness during activities such as camping or hiking. Therapists may engage participants in specific group activities, including high rope courses or survival situations, or groups might take part in boating or outdoor games.

This method has proven effective in treating many issues, including addiction, anxiety, trauma, depression and eating disorders. It’s especially beneficial for younger individuals, though anyone with the physical capability needed to take part may benefit. A program’s director may also offer customized options that accommodate any physical disabilities or mobility issues that an individual may have.

A few common, adventure-based counseling activities include caving, boating, swimming, rafting, kayaking, hiking or sailing. Location, weather, and traveling distance affect the specific activities of an experiential program.

Why Is Adventure-Based Therapy Effective?

Simply getting out in nature can be good for the mind, body and soul, but this physically active approach to treatment goes much further by incorporating challenges that build important social skills, like cooperation and trust. Individuals pit themselves against elements, obstacles and challenges of various types, requiring them to work with others to overcome the hurdles they face. As a direct result, the positive outcomes bolster their self-esteem and self-concept. Some reasons this therapeutic method can be so effective in helping to treat substance abuse disorders include:

  • Adventure therapy activities help a person break out of their typical ‘mold’ and experience new things. This can help the brain continue to develop new habits and thought processes as a person works through recovery. Experiential therapy gives users a jump-start in learning new, healthy ways to deal with life’s conflicts and challenges.
  • The situations involved in these programs require a person to explore their limitations and capabilities. This self-discovery is fundamental to the healing process and long-term recovery success.
  • Going through this process with others encourages communication and openness, teaching vulnerability in front of others. This ability to forge ahead with a difficult task while also asking for and relying on support from those around them can be another critical success factor in long-term sobriety.
  • When pitted against stressful situations, practitioners coach individuals to deal with them in healthy, positive ways. This opens new doors to healthier coping mechanisms that can apply to all aspects of life, including drug rehab and long-term recovery.

If adventure-based counseling sounds like an option you’d like to consider, contact us today for more information. Our outpatient treatment programs are geared toward active men who are ready to change their lives and do the work to break free of addiction.

For more information on Calusa Recovery’s programs and services, contact us at or call 844.254.9664.