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We are fortunate to live in a world that is full of wonders both man-made and natural, and to have the power of human consciousness to explore and understand their value. But psychological ills like trauma, depression, addiction or anxiety can rob you of your ability to appreciate life in this way. Perhaps fear or sadness keeps you indoors, substance abuse dulls your senses or compulsive reactions dominate your experiences. Whatever your struggle, poor mental health can make it difficult or impossible to enjoy in activities that excite or entertain, particularly those in which you need to be fully aware of and engaged with your surroundings. Adventure therapy addresses this problem, presenting participants with situations where they can find enjoyment in teamwork, physical challenges and the beauty of a natural setting.

Forms of adventure therapy have been used for centuries, with many ancient civilizations recognizing the benefits of nature and physical activity for holistic well-being. The use of adventure-like activities to treat modern psychological diagnoses gained popularity in the mid-1900s through camping programs for adolescents with behavioral problems. Today, adventure therapy is widely studied approach with nuanced goals beyond promoting health in a natural setting. Modern adventure therapy also emphasizes the importance of trust building, cooperation, problem solving and risk evaluation. Therapeutic activities are guided by a trained adventure therapist and can include outdoor games, wilderness exploration or team-based puzzles, focusing on encouraging participants to rely on others to accomplish a common goal.

Adventure Therapy for Trauma and Mental Health Disorders

Group-oriented therapies like adventure therapy are a key part of treatment plans for those who struggle to form or maintain healthy relationships. Difficulty with interpersonal skills like trust, communication and boundaries is a common occurrence after a traumatic experience or in the presence of a mental health disorder. Trauma, particularly abuse or violence, causes deep emotional pain that can prevent you from truly opening up to others. You can lose your ability to rely on others when you need help, which makes day-to-day life immensely challenging. The first step in overcoming your past is learning how to let others in and share your burdens. Adventure therapy teaches you to build healthy support systems through trust- and teamwork-based exercises that are also invigorating and enjoyable.

Mental health disorders like addiction, eating disorders, depression and anxiety affect your relationships in other ways. When you allow your mental illness to control you by giving in to self-defeating behaviors, you are giving up your role as a loving, responsible participant in your friendships, your workplace or your family. You put your cravings or compulsions before what is best for yourself and those around you, weakening your ability to empathize as well as others’ ability to trust you. In adventure therapy, you learn what it means to be accountable for your actions as you work as part of a team to win a game or accomplish exciting tasks. You can find renewed motivation to be an active member of your relationships and to welcome others willingly into your life.

Adventure Therapy at The Guest House

The treatment programs at The Guest House Ocala are created with the intention of letting our guests find their own pathway to recovery. We firmly believe that every person needs a plan to restore their health that is as unique as their story and experiences. We are proud to offer therapies that are engaging and exciting for our guests — therapies in which they want to participate, providing an internal motivation for recovery that is lost in programs that are too structured. Adventure therapy is an integral part of this mission because it allows participants to be active, to think creatively and to work together in naturally stimulating situations like obstacle courses or games.

Our private 52-acre estate offers plenty of opportunity for adventure therapy sessions without needing to leave the comfort and seclusion of our grounds. Our location in Silver Springs, Florida, on the outskirts of scenic Ocala also means that guided hiking trips or other off-campus adventure-based activities are all within arm’s reach. The highly-trained clinical staff at The Guest House includes therapists who are experienced moderators for adventure therapy and who will ensure that these activities are carried out safely and productively. Our guests are also free to experiment with our wide variety of interactive therapeutic modalities, also including:

  • Cinema therapy
  • Yoga/meditation
  • Equine therapy
  • Art therapy
  • Psychodrama

The Guest House Ocala proudly provides our signature comfort-focused amenities alongside our top-quality treatments, including an in-house chef, housekeeping services and full-time residential staff. We guarantee your sense of safety and health during your stay with us, and we ensure that you are treated with respect and open-mindedness by every member of our community.