Journal of Counseling & Development Features Evoke Therapy Programs’ Outcome Study

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Study findings suggest that wilderness therapy can be an effective intervention to improve young adults’ psychosocial well-being and reduce interpersonal difficulties, with long-lasting results

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Wilderness therapy could be especially effective for individuals with a high level of distress who do not respond as well to more traditional outpatient therapy.

The January 2017 issue of the Journal of Counseling & Development (available online now) features a three-year outcome study on how outdoor behavioral healthcare (OBH) – also known as wilderness therapy – helped a group of young adults reduce their symptoms of distress and interpersonal difficulties while experiencing an increased sense of purpose both during and after treatment.

The study was published with the title “Outdoor Behavioral Health Care: A Longitudinal Assessment of Young Adult Outcomes,” and was facilitated by Sean D. Roberts, Daniel Stroud, Evoke Therapy Clinical Director and therapist Matthew J. Hoag and Evoke Therapy Research Director Katie E. Massey.

The study included 186 participants, ages 18 to 25, who took part in Evoke Therapy Programs’ wilderness therapy program. Participants completed a questionnaire six times from week one to 18-month post-discharge.

The outcomes research found that wilderness therapy can be an effective intervention to improve young adults’ psychosocial well-being and reduce their interpersonal difficulties—and that these significant in-treatment gains can be maintained by clients after their return to the community.

The paper notes that “Results indicated that clinically and statistically significant change occurred in wilderness treatment. Rates of change varied, and post-treatment scores remained stable, thus demonstrating that in-treatment gains were maintained.”

Study author Dr. Matthew Hoag states, “One of the most interesting findings was that the greater the level of impairment, the greater the change made in treatment, which may suggest that wilderness therapy could be especially effective for individuals with a high level of distress who do not respond as well to more traditional outpatient therapy.”

Evoke Therapy Programs provide personalized therapeutic care with a focus on whole-health. Evoke’s programs include wilderness therapy for adolescents and young adults, individual and family therapy intensives, and adventure pursuit programs. Evoke’s whole-health treatment considers all aspects of a client’s health, focusing on their emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical wellbeing. Evoke Therapy Programs uses the inherent human connection to the outdoors to facilitate lasting change. To learn more about Evoke Therapy Programs visit http://www.evoketherapy.com.

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