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Wilderness Therapy and the Troubled Teen

             Light is creeping in through the dense forest as an aged and battered minivan snakes its way along the mountain pass, meeting the sun along its slow ascent. In the driver's seat, a tired middle-aged mother's hands are gripped tight around the wheel, knuckles blanched as she focuses on the curves of the pass that will take them the last five miles to the base lodge of the Second Nature Wilderness Program. In the backseat, a brooding, dark-eyed fifteen year-old sits head down, arms clenched across his chest. His mind races with anger, nerves, and frustration, thinking, "This is so stupid. I hate this, I hate bugs and leaves and dirt. I hate mom. I hate her. She is a bitch and I hate her for making me do this. What if I die? What if I go out here into the middle of nowhere, land, and die. I hope I do, that'll make her happy. She obviously hates me, hates that I'm her son and that I smoked pot and that-I can't help what happened. It wasn't my fault. I wasn't the only one who was high. But now she hates me. God, I don't want to do this. I want to scream at her about how f-ing stupid this is, spending two weeks in the woods. How is that supposed to change me? It won't, I won't let it. These stupid f-ing people with their backpacks and water bottles and granola, they.
             won't change me. Wilderness Therapy, what the hell?".
             The anxiety, anger, and fear coursing through this troubled teenager are likely mirrored in many young adults. Today, countless young adults deal with problems of drug use, depression, or conflicts with parents. Many parents find themselves scratching their heads in confusion and bewilderment as to how to solve the problems facing their teenagers. Many choose the path of punishment, or clinical counseling, while some choose to simply ignore the problem altogether. But another solution available for parent's of troubled teens hoping to reclaim the child they once knew is available in the form of Wilderness Therapy.

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