Phoenix Outdoor Wilderness Rehab for Teens Expands its Therapeutic Curriculum

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Therapeutic drumming, yoga and a new parent workbook are being added to the comprehensive therapeutic curriculum to enhance Phoenix Outdoor’s multifaceted substance abuse recovery program for teens.

Research shows that drumming is a complementary therapy for treating addiction. Its calming and focusing effect keeps teens in the present moment and offers an active form of meditation to connect mind, body and spirit.

At-risk youth can be difficult to reach using conventional treatment approaches. Wilderness therapy is an effective way to help teens stop using drugs and alcohol and work through any underlying emotional and behavioral issues. When wilderness therapy is combined with other creative approaches to treat adolescent substance abuse, the outcomes can be even more impressive.

In order to best serve teens and their families, Phoenix Outdoor wilderness rehab program recently made three new additions to its comprehensive therapeutic curriculum: therapeutic drumming, yoga and a parent workbook.

Therapeutic drumming is a creative way to promote self-expression, mindfulness, personal responsibility and a sense of belonging. Phoenix Outdoor recently purchased 15 African drums, or “djembas,” and hired a professional drummer to lead a drum circle with the students twice a week.

“Research shows that drumming is a complementary therapy for treating addiction,” said Lynn Wadsworth, MS, LPC, the program manager at Phoenix Outdoor. “Its calming and focusing effect keeps teens in the present moment and offers an active form of meditation to connect mind, body and spirit.”

A healthy activity that gets teens interested in something other than partying or using drugs, drumming has already sparked excitement in a number of students at Phoenix Outdoor. Some teens have even decided to take classes in drumming or another form of music when they return home.

As part of its holistic approach to substance abuse treatment, Phoenix Outdoor has also recruited a seasoned instructor to lead yoga classes. In addition to helping teens stay calm and centered, yoga is a healthy way to deal with drug cravings and triggers to use. It is also a tool students can use to resist those urges when they complete the program.

Therapeutic drumming and yoga are just two of the ways Phoenix Outdoor helps teens return to a healthier lifestyle. Living in the wilderness takes teens away from modern distractions such as television and video games and replaces the junk food and chemicals with a clean, healthy living environment, nutritious food, exercise and plenty of sleep.

During their stay at Phoenix Outdoor, teens work hard to change unhealthy thought patterns and behaviors, while their parents are at home working to achieve their own personal growth. Parents have always participated in workshops, weekly phone calls and educational webinars, but with the addition of a new parent workbook, they now participate more closely than ever in their child’s wilderness rehab experience.

The workbook gives parents assignments that parallel the lessons their child is learning in treatment, so that both parents and teens are speaking the same language and have a new set of skills when the adolescent returns home. Workbook topics include the effects of substance abuse, communication, enabling, rescuing, acceptance and other relevant issues.

“Even though they are physically apart, the parent workbook allows parents to go through the phases of the program together with their child,” said Wadsworth. “Most parents are hungry for more involvement, and the workbook is one way to keep the entire family connected.”

The new additions to the therapeutic curriculum at Phoenix Outdoor are designed to complement the other elements of the program. Through its base camp model, Phoenix Outdoor utilizes an ideal blend of wilderness experiences and base camp programming, which gives teens the best of traditional substance abuse treatment and wilderness therapy.

In the wilderness, teens learn primitive skills, such as building traps and making fire with a bow drill, and participate in journaling exercises and other therapeutic activities. These activities build self-esteem and motivation to change and help teens understand the impact drugs and alcohol have had on their lives. At base camp, teens participate in therapeutic processing groups, yoga, drumming, substance abuse education and 12-Step meetings.

All of these therapeutic elements combine to create a powerful experience for teens struggling with substance abuse.

“Our goal is to make Phoenix Outdoor the most clinically sophisticated substance abuse recovery program for teens,” said Wadsworth. “By continually expanding and fine-tuning our therapeutic curriculum, we discover new ways to help teens and their families heal from the devastating effects of substance abuse.”

About Phoenix Outdoor

Phoenix Outdoor is a therapeutic wilderness program for teens ages 13-17 who are struggling with substance abuse, as well co-occurring behavioral and mental health issues. Located in the stunning Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, Phoenix Outdoor blends clinical assessments, wilderness therapy, the 12 Step model, and traditional therapeutic interventions to help teens realize the extent of their substance abuse problem and commit to the process of change.

Phoenix Outdoor is part of Aspen Education Group, the nation’s leading provider of therapeutic education programs for struggling or underachieving young people. Aspen’s services range from short-term intervention programs to residential treatment, and include a variety of therapeutic settings, such as boarding schools, outdoor behavioral health programs and special needs summer camps. The broad scope of services offered by Aspen Education Group provides professionals and families with the opportunity to choose the best setting to meet a student’s unique academic and emotional needs.

Aspen Education Group is a member of CRC Health Group, the most comprehensive network of specialized behavioral care services in the nation. For over two decades, CRC Health has been achieving successful outcomes for individuals and families.

For more information, please call (866) 515-5202 or visit Phoenix Outdoor.


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Shawn Farrell
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