Hilo, HI (PRWEB) August 20, 2013
Pacific Quest outdoor therapeutic program for struggling teens and young adults, offers an alternative to traditional wilderness programs by utilizing Horticultural Therapy practices. Horticultural Therapy, a professional practice that integrates specific gardening activities with traditional counseling theory, is a powerful therapeutic tool that recognizes the benefits of placing the client in a care giving role. At Pacific Quest, the art of gardening and the art of living come together, offering growth-focused and goal-oriented treatment activities that research has shown to reduce stress, improve concentration, increase motivation, and overall life satisfaction (Haller & Kramer, 2006).
Unlike any other outdoor therapeutic program, students at Pacific Quest have an opportunity to develop a reciprocal relationship with nature by cultivating the food they eat, and testing practical skills in a garden that are transferable in a modern society. Growing and harvesting food from the land provides the most basic lesson in sustainability, which is to give before taking. Rather than hiking and surviving as emphasized in a traditional wilderness program, students at Pacific Quest interact in a community that internalizes the concepts of sustainability by applying them to the process of emotional and psychosocial development. This is the cornerstone of the Sustainable GrowthTM treatment model, offering young people the skills and unconditional support to express a profound sense of care that not only builds confidence, but also supports a healthier and more purposeful way of life.
Travis Slagle, Horticultural Therapy Director, comments, “For students at Pacific Quest, the process of change and growth that they witness in the garden provides an opportunity to look more closely at the change and growth taking root within themselves.”
The ideas that Pacific Quest are founded upon are very different than a traditional wilderness program. Rather than climbing mountains or mastering skills in a remote wilderness, adolescents at Pacific Quest develop new insight and practical skills by making a genuine contribution to a community, and restoring the beauty and mystery of an ancient agricultural society. Travis adds, “The garden is one of many areas in the program that students learn to practice the skills to live a more independent and productive life.” Whether by organizing a nursery, prioritizing crop rotations, planning a planting schedule, designing garden beds, charting compost temperatures, or experimenting with new and creative ways of increasing efficiency and sustainability in their community, students at Pacific Quest test new skills and insights in a uniquely experiential way on a daily basis. As students develop the courage and skills to care for a garden, they experience greater confidence in the ability to internalize care for themselves, applying new skills and insights to aspects of their lives that reach far beyond a therapeutic garden in Hawaii.
About Pacific Quest
Pacific Quest is an outdoor therapeutic program for struggling teens and young adults, located on the Big Island of Hawaii. Their wilderness programs offer a clinical, yet holistic approach to treatment, going beyond traditional wilderness therapy and teaching sustainable life skills. Pacific Quest’s proprietary therapeutic model is a groundbreaking approach that uses organic gardening to create concrete metaphors for its students as they cultivate their own health and happiness. Pacific Quest provides an environment that allows for a true discovery process for its students, a place that is safe, structured, experiential and natural. Owned and operated by a veteran team of professionals with hundreds of years of combined wilderness program experience, Pacific Quest offers a unique approach to treatment that is individualized for each student.