Addressing Family Needs in Wilderness Therapy Programs For Young AdultsOctober 4, 2019
While young adults are moving towards independence, their families still play a large role in supporting them on their journey. Family relationships often become strained in young adulthood as parents struggle to determine what level of autonomy and dependence is appropriate for their child. While some young adults are rebellious and reject their parents’ support, others rely on it entirely and parents have a hard time holding boundaries. Wilderness therapy gives families the opportunity to take a step back and look at their relationships and teaches them more effective communication, how to identify their personal needs, and how to set appropriate expectations.
We believe therapy should be for the entire family, not just the young adult. Parents benefit from calls with therapists to talk about their own needs and how to better support their child. We work with students and their parents to help develop transparency, change interactions for the better, and build mutual trust and goals. While your child is growing, parents and siblings learn new skills that will help strengthen your relationship and support their success.
Family therapy includes:
- Weekly calls with therapist
- Family phone calls
- Transition planning
- Family workshops
Common struggles young adults and their families face include:
- Navigating independence is the foundation of our program, as we help young adults develop practical life skills and explore adventure activities.
- Setting boundaries is key to exploring what shifting parent roles are as their child grows up. This includes learning how to say no and learning how to be flexible.
- Avoiding rescuing. While parents want what is best for their child, it is important to recognize what their personal limitations are. In wilderness therapy, young adults learn to take responsibility for their own actions and create personal goals. As they learn how to advocate for their needs, they stop expecting their parents to have all the answers and to swoop in during crises.
- Projecting blame. Part of taking responsibility for their own actions is recognizing what they have control over. Instead of blaming external circumstances and other people, young adults begin to understand that their parents are doing the best they can and that their struggles are not their fault or their parents’ fault.
- Letting go of resentment. While many students are initially resistant to the therapeutic process, as they begin to grow and their perspective shifts, they recognize how toxic resentment can be in relationships.
- Paying attention to their individual needs. This goes for parents and young adults. Learning how to identify and communicate individual needs helps families prioritize their own self-care.
- Respecting each other as co-adults. Our goal is to help families recognize each other as individuals and develop healthy relationships based on shared interests, goals, and values rather than obligation. Emotional independence is key to breaking the cycle of anger, blame, and resentment in families.
Trails Momentum Can Help
Trails Momentum is an outdoor adventure-based therapy program for young adults ages 18-25 struggling to launch themselves into adulthood. Young adults are guided on a journey of self-discovery where they develop self-concept and are empowered to make the transition into independence. Adventure programming, clinical services, family involvement, college coursework, and social and life skills development are seamlessly interwoven to maximize the transference of important life skills and address clinical and behavioral challenges.
For more information about family programming, call (877) 296-8711.