A Elements Behavioral Health Guide to Drug Rehab
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Experiential Drug Rehab Programs

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Experiential Drug Rehab Programs

An experiential drug rehab is one that emphasizes experiences such as wilderness treks, white water rafting, horseback riding, or other outdoor activities while going through the therapeutic process. Some experiential drug rehabs may have a base camp experience as well, but others will conduct the 30-day program in a natural, experiential setting. Young adults tend to be most attracted to the experiential model of treatment because they feel confined and restless in a more clinical environment.

Experiential Drug Rehab

Young adults often prefer a wilderness setting for rehab

Experiential Rehab Programs with the Active Therapy Approach

The idea behind experiential drug rehabs is that some people respond better to therapy when they are active and experiencing something that requires physical effort and mental concentration. For example, while they are taking care of horses, preparing them for a ride, riding them, cleaning them after the ride, and cleaning the stables they are also experiencing feelings and emotions.  A horse may be stubborn and refuse to move on the trail – the equine therapist will help them understand how to work through the frustration and find a solution, and clients often intuitively begin to understand how this experience relates to other issues and events in their lives.

Experiential Rehab Programs with the Wilderness Therapy Approach

In the wilderness experiential rehab programs, the belief is that by removing the distractions of modern life and making each day about securing a place to sleep, making meals, and then trekking to the next place the mind can quiet and you can begin to be more introspective and reflective. You are essentially stripping down life to the barest essentials: food, shelter, water.  The client begins to feel part of a natural rhythm and does not get distracted by phones, TV, and the competing demands of family and jobs. The trek becomes a metaphor for a life journey, and the obstacles metaphors for those things that we stumble upon in life that can put us on the wrong path.

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