how wilderness therapy is used in addiction recovery


When most people think about addiction treatment, they probably picture a residential rehab facility, support groups and near-constant therapy sessions. These things are common (and important) in substance abuse recovery, but it turns out there’s a lot more to getting sober than sitting inside all day to talk about your feelings. Or at least, there should be.

While traditional talk therapies are helpful for most people, outdoor and wilderness therapies bring additional benefits to the addiction treatment process that other techniques can’t provide. Incorporating wilderness therapies helps break up the monotony of life in rehab and gives individuals a more engaging and stimulating way to maintain their sobriety.

At Choice House, we know that finding the right addiction treatment program is a critical step toward recovery. If you want a comprehensive, dynamic and effective approach to getting sober, wilderness and outdoor therapies may be just the solution you’ve been looking for.

what is wilderness therapy?

Wilderness therapy is a form of experiential therapy that involves spending time in nature. In treatment programs that incorporate wilderness therapy, you’ll engage in activities like hiking, camping, and rock climbing, all while receiving therapeutic support from trained professionals.

Other outdoor-based activities you might encounter at Choice House include:

  • Skiing and snowboarding
  • Kayaking, canoeing and paddle boarding
  • Rock climbing
  • Backpacking and hiking
  • Mountain biking
  • Fishing
  • Wilderness excursions

Wilderness therapy differs from traditional talk therapy because it takes you out of your usual environment and into a natural setting. The experiences and activities you’ll engage in are specifically designed to help you build positive coping skills, identify negative patterns and reach your treatment goals. This type of therapy has been shown to be effective in treating a variety of mental health concerns, including substance abuse and addiction.

how does wilderness therapy work?

Wilderness therapy works by providing a break from the stresses of everyday life, allowing you to get outside and reconnect with nature. The challenges of hiking, camping and other outdoor activities will build confidence, self-esteem and a lasting sense of accomplishment that helps you stay sober. In addition, the peacefulness of nature can help you gain clarity and perspective on your life and your struggles with drinking or drug use.

At Choice House, we’ve designed our wilderness and outdoor therapy programs to combine traditional, evidence-based techniques with the healing power of nature. You’ll partake in a variety of outdoor activities that may push you out of your comfort zone, but they’re always safe and supervised by a trained team of professionals who have your back.

In addition to the activities themselves, you’ll also participate in group therapy sessions, one-on-one counseling and other types of support. We encourage our clients to share their experiences and feelings with others in the group, because it helps build connections and bonds that can last a lifetime and develop an important sense of community.

benefits of wilderness therapy

One of the primary benefits of wilderness therapy for addiction treatment is that it provides a unique, effective and fun way to engage individuals in the recovery process. Traditional forms of therapy can feel sterile and clinical, but wilderness and outdoor therapies allow you to explore your feelings and emotions in a natural, non-judgmental setting.

Other benefits of wilderness-based therapies include:

  • Builds self-esteem and self-awareness
  • Develops a sense of connection with others and nature
  • Enhances problem-solving and decision-making skills
  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Increases physical fitness and overall health

outdoor & wilderness therapy at choice house

At Choice House, we believe that you can heal what’s inside by getting outside. Our wilderness and outdoor therapies are led by trained professionals who are dedicated to helping individuals build meaningful connections with themselves and others to achieve lasting recovery. By providing a more holistic and dynamic approach to addiction treatment, we can help our clients live a successful and fulfilling sober lifestyle.

Our wilderness therapy program is designed to help you develop a range of skills and coping mechanisms that will help you navigate the challenges of addiction recovery. Some of the key features and components of our outdoor-based treatments include:

experiential learning

We use experiential learning techniques to help clients gain insight into their addiction issues. By engaging in outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, and rock climbing, you’ll develop a sense of self-awareness and build valuable life skills.

group therapy

Group therapy is a critical component of our wilderness and outdoor therapies. By working together with your peers, you’ll form strong bonds and develop a sense of community, support and camaraderie that can be invaluable during the recovery process.

long-term treatment plans

We’ve created a 90-day standard of care that gives our clients more time to work on their issues and build a strong foundation for lasting recovery. In fact, long-term treatment has been proven to reduce the risk of relapse and help people not just get sober, but stay sober. We step down the level of care individuals receive at a pace that makes sense for them, so our long-term approach evolves with you throughout the recovery process.

evidence-based therapeutic techniques

At Choice House, we incorporate a range of evidence-based therapeutic techniques into our treatment programs, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), family therapy, trauma work and more. These techniques are proven to be effective in treating addiction and other mental health issues.

beautiful location

Choice House is located in Boulder, Colorado, providing plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities. And with the Rocky Mountains right in our backyard, you’ll be surrounded by nature and able to escape the stresses of everyday life to focus on your recovery.

At Choice House, wilderness therapy is an innovative and effective way to aid in addiction treatment. It provides individuals with a unique opportunity to reconnect with nature, develop important life skills and build a sense of community and support. If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, we encourage you to consider wilderness therapy as a part of your treatment plan. To learn more, reach out today by calling 303-578-4978 to speak to our admissions team. You can also click here or email us at

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Choice House is your comprehensive guide to lasting sobriety and wellness. Reach out to us today to see how we can support you on your journey toward sustainable well-being.