Coming Down the Mountain: Transitioning From Wilderness Therapy

Home Uncategorized Coming Down the Mountain: Transitioning From Wilderness Therapy

Leaving any residential treatment program can be a difficult step-down, but transitioning from wilderness therapy is a full-on culture shock. Many young adults can’t wait to return to the luxuries of a mattress, hot water, and wifi and forget how overwhelming it can be to live in the modern world. Wilderness teaches students how to live simply, be present, and to survive by trusting your instinct and your peers. It is easier to use these skills without the distractions of technology, substances, peer pressure, and responsibilities. Transitional living programs are a good option for some young adults transitioning from wilderness programs as they teach students how to apply survival skills they have learned as independent living skills.

A Long and Winding Road

Thru-hikers have coined the term “post-trail depression” to describe the experience they had re-integrating into society after an extended period of time in the wilderness: they felt like they couldn’t fit into society at home; they had a hard time finding motivation, spending hours reflecting on their trail experience; and they felt like they were moving in a fog. The identity they’d cultivated over the last few months as self-sufficient, self-aware backpackers felt like just a memory. For young adults struggling with mental health issues, returning to the stressors of their home environment can trigger these existential moments where they question the skills they have learned and are worried about returning to old habits. Where do I go next? How can I find balance between the two worlds? Will I always feel this on the edge?

Leads You To Our Door

Stepping down to a transitional living program helps young adults continue to develop the skills they’ve learned in wilderness and apply them to the real world. Many students aren’t ready to live on their own and need more guidance around setting goals, maintaining a routine, and being productive. At Foundations Asheville, we believe aftercare can sometimes be necessary for a successful transition and offer a variety of services to help students stay on the right track:

Identifying environmental stressors that affect mood and impulsivity. Being in a new environment brings up transition anxiety. Students are encouraged to work or go to school, however we help with time management and balancing self-care with responsibilities.

Relapse Prevention. We offer resources in the community and support for students who have struggled with substance abuse and help keep them accountable.

Healthy Hobbies and Recreation. We encourage outdoor activities and getting involved in the community through art, music, and community service.

Mentoring. Our mentors facilitate fun activities, check-ins, and help with future-planning.

Setting goals. Students are encouraged to take it easy after leaving wilderness and not jump into things too fast, but we encourage them to consider how their values align with what they want for themselves and to make short-term goals that will help them get to where they want to be.

Independent Living skills, including cooking, cleaning, and budgeting.  

Foundations Asheville can help

Foundations Asheville is a transitional living program for young men ages 18-24 who may need additional support transitioning from wilderness therapy. Our students struggle with depression, anxiety, tech addiction, relationships and communication skills, and difficulties transitioning into adulthood. Foundations focuses on teaching students how to apply skills learned in the outdoors as functional skills that help them live productive and fulfilling lives. Students learn healthy coping and management skills to prepare them to handle life’s demands effectively. They are encouraged to find a job, take classes, or volunteer while working with a therapist and mentor on long-term goals. Foundations influences a positive change in the lives of young men. We can help your family today!

Contact us at (877) 318 –7273.

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