Frequently asked questions:
Who do you work with?
We work with children and adults alike in a range of programmes – some over a week, others a morning, a day or a short break. Our nationwide group and individual programmes are led by experienced counsellors and therapists who follow our code of ethics.
What do day or short breaks look like?
We can offer an hour to a half day depending on the needs of the client.
We work outside as much as possible. We work through whatever the weather offers us, the terrain, and we learn from our relationship to the places that we work in, and the people we work with. Often we will walk the same path, or explore new areas together. We sometimes make a fire and brew tea or hot chocolate, and chat there, or take on a project such as building a shelter to find other ways to express what is going on for the client, other than by simply talking.
We believe that nature is our co-therapist and we learn from all that the natural world offers us, often creating a mirror of what is going on inside ourselves.
What does a wilderness trail look like, versus the shorter programmes?
Trails are either trekking on foot or canoe based. We work out of our tried and tested wild places in Scotland, Wales, Devon, Slovakia and Menorca.
Our programmes are a minimum of five days and a maximum of ten day journeys. We are self sufficient, carrying all we need with us for most of the programme, and often make use of bunkhouses and accommodation at the beginning and the end of the programme.
Our style of working is integrative and person centred. We work with the weather, the issues coming up, and the needs of the individuals and group. Each day starts with group check in and ends with group check out. We cook, eat, travel, and journey together, both inwards and outwards.
Costs are all inclusive but do not include transport to the starting and pick up points. We cater for all diets and we wish to accommodate disabilities that can manage the nature of the wild terrain and activity.
What results can I expect to see?
By making the choice to join our outdoor therapy programmes you will have the opportunity to gain perspective and understanding of one’s own behaviours -what is not (and what is) working for the individual. We will support our clients so that they feel more able to cope with emotions and life, and develop skills and strategies to build your resilience and happiness. Our extended research evidences spending time in nature with a therapist able to support your journey, there can be a significant impact on your awareness of yourself, your self-esteem, hopefulness, mood, relationships with other people, yourself, and the wider world.
How many sessions would I need to sign up for?
We usually suggest a minimum of four sessions to really have the time to build a relationship with our therapy client and to support them in the change they are looking for. There is no maximum until both the client and therapist agree that their work together is done. We will create a personalised programme for each client, young and old.
We would first have a phone call following receipt of your referral, preferably an initial meeting, and then find common times to suit for our meetings.
What exactly is Wilderness Therapy?
Wilderness therapy has its roots in adventure-based therapy. Natural environment settings are used as a fundamental part of therapeutic intervention. A range of different types of wilderness therapy programs and models are now used depending on the levels of exposure and ‘emersion’ in the landscape. Notwithstanding, the overall aim is the same, which is to empower participants by raising their self-reliance and self-respect. Madolyn M. Liebing was the first clinical psychologist to integrate clinical therapy with wilderness programming.
Wilderness therapy is not intended to engineer behaviour change through various manipulations, contrived activities and psychological games. Rather it deploys principles and practices of no force confrontation, challenges to comfort zones, open communication and transparency, team-based coalition-building, symbolic and metaphorical introductions, and leadership skills. In wilderness therapy, the wild environment can be seen as as the co-facilitator of a change process, with the ‘therapist’ enabling, interpreting and supporting the process.
Whilst there is no standard model for wilderness therapy there are founding principles underpinning all programmes. These include a step-wise approach designed to navigate participants through increasingly challenging situations; developing both participatory and leadership skills through team work; supervision and leadership by a qualified psychiatrist, counsellor or therapist; and the use of a therapeutic process such as a reflection journal or self-evaluation.