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Adventure Therapy: Helping Veterans Who've Seen It All

Updated: Apr 29

Oh, the great outdoors! That vast expanse of land teeming with more mosquitoes than there are stars in the sky. The place where you can smell the fresh scent of bear poo (if that's your thing) and take selfies with squirrels (not recommended). But you know who can benefit from all this "natural beauty"? Veterans! Yes, those heroes who've seen it all could use a little adventure therapy, and here's why. Battling PTSD with a Backpack: You might be asking, "what's adventure therapy?" and we're glad you asked. It's the cutting-edge, scientifically proven method of strapping on a backpack, lacing up your boots, and battling PTSD with nothing but sheer determination and a compass that probably doesn't work. It's like throwing them back into the trenches, but with more trees and a touch of tranquility. And let's face it, it's probably better than being cooped up in a therapist's office with a box of tissues and a potted plant that's seen better days. The Great Outdoors, AKA Boot Camp 2.0: So, what exactly do these "adventure therapy" sessions entail? You know, the usual: hiking, kayaking, rock climbing, rappelling, and the occasional screaming contest with the local wildlife. It's just like being back in boot camp, but with less shouting from drill sergeants and more bonding with Mother Nature. What could be more therapeutic than navigating a treacherous mountain trail or paddling through class-five rapids? We hear it's like an adrenaline shot straight to the funny bone. Teamwork Makes the PTSD Work: Nothing screams therapy like being stuck in a tent with someone who snores like a freight train while you try to zip up a sleeping bag that's more like a straightjacket. But here's the twist: it's actually great for bonding with fellow veterans! They'll share stories, laugh at each other's misery, and navigate the trials and tribulations of the wilderness as one cohesive unit. And if that doesn't sound therapeutic, we don't know what does. Rediscovering Inner Peace (and Mosquitoes): Sure, adventure therapy might be all about embracing the chaos of the great outdoors, but it's also about finding that inner peace that's been MIA since basic training. Between the roaring campfires and the less-than-ideal sleeping conditions, there's something to be said for staring up at the night sky and reflecting on life. It's a chance for veterans to find solace in the quiet moments between the mosquito bites and the surprise rain showers. Nature: The Ultimate Drill Sergeant: Who needs a drill sergeant barking orders when you've got Mother Nature herself leading the charge? Nature will push you to your limits and then some. Getting lost, battling the elements, and facing unexpected challenges will teach our veterans a thing or two about adaptability, resilience, and the power of a good laugh. The wilderness is the ultimate playground for Uncle Sam's finest – and the ultimate therapist, too. The Art of Camouflaging Emotions (and Tents): While our veterans are masters of the art of camouflage, blending in with their surroundings in the great outdoors, they're also learning how to unmask their emotions. Adventure therapy provides a unique opportunity for veterans to open up about their experiences and feelings in a more relaxed and open environment. And what better backdrop for emotional breakthroughs than a forest teeming with raccoons, deer, and the occasional angry squirrel? Survival Skills 101: Coping with PTSD and Poison Ivy: Outdoor adventure therapy isn't just about finding inner peace; it's also about learning essential life skills. Veterans are challenged to step out of their comfort zones and engage in a variety of activities that foster personal growth, build confidence, and help them cope with their PTSD. And, as an added bonus, they'll also learn how to avoid poison ivy and tell the difference between edible berries and the ones that'll have them hugging a tree all night. Creature Comforts and Uncomfortable Creatures: Sleeping under the stars might sound romantic, but when you're sharing your campsite with a family of skunks, things can get a little… pungent. Outdoor adventure therapy is all about letting go of creature comforts and embracing the uncomfortable creatures that call the wilderness home. Veterans are encouraged to face their fears head-on, whether that means conquering a challenging rock climb or sharing their deepest emotions with a therapy raccoon (not an actual therapy animal, but it could be). Conclusion: Adventure Therapy, Because Uncle Sam Says So: So, there you have it! Adventure therapy: the perfect blend of adrenaline, camaraderie, and therapeutic mosquitoes. For veterans seeking a break from the mundane, it's the ideal opportunity to rediscover their love for the great outdoors and maybe, just maybe, find some peace in the process. And hey, if it's good enough for Uncle Sam's heroes, it's good enough for us.

Image Provided by Adobe Stock (April 2023).

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