First Steps Recovery's Five C's: How Does Wilderness Therapy Encourage Collaboration?

First Steps Recovery’s Five C’s: How Does Wilderness Therapy Encourage Collaboration?

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

First Steps Recovery’s mission is shaped around the five C’s, or core values. These five C’s include compassion, connection, collaboration, community, and clinical excellence. One of the C’s, collaboration, is a key aspect of recovery. First Steps Recovery works to prioritize collaboration through a variety of clinical and holistic services. Group settings facilitate collaboration, which can be incorporated into recovery through group talk therapy and group-based holistic care options. Wilderness therapy is one of these holistic services that encourages clients to come together in a group.

Engaging in these collaborative therapies allows clients to develop and strengthen their social skills. This is helpful because addiction can often cause people to self-isolate and feel very alone. Group therapies help people break these habits and see their world in a new light.

The Importance of Collaboration in Recovery

Collaboration is important for creating quality conversations and relationships. In a spirit of collaboration, everyone actively participates. Collaboration helps clients improve their social cues, listening skills, ability to take others seriously, and overall attitude toward others. 

Sometimes in group settings, the balance of power is skewed or people have competing beliefs. Collaboration, however, requires that clients put these differences aside and unite to achieve a goal. This goal can be as simple as having all members of the group become vulnerable with each other or having everyone work together during an activity.

Learning to build community is the key to maintaining a strong support system. Having a solid group focused on recovering together can be essential, as everyone can benefit from hearing about other members’ experiences. Rather than feeling alone or isolated, group settings and collaboration in recovery help clients realize they can open up to others and be understood on a deeper level.

What Is Wilderness Therapy at First Steps Recovery?

Wilderness therapy is a holistic service offered at First Steps Recovery that fosters collaboration. This service is a therapeutic intervention that uses nature, adventure, and exploration as tools for growth and self-discovery. First Steps Recovery uses the backdrop of the Sierra Nevada mountains for this holistic therapy. 

Wilderness therapy is part of the First Steps whole-person approach to recovery. Rather than focus on just drug or alcohol addiction, wilderness therapy helps clients address underlying issues or challenges that correlate to the addiction at hand. Addiction is very complex, so having services that provide one with tools and coping mechanisms that address different elements of addiction is important.

Improving Basic Skills

Likewise, wilderness therapy helps clients improve their basic skills. These can include social skills, like listening and openly communicating (verbally or nonverbally). Other basic skills that can be improved are the ability to work in a group or face challenges head-on rather than avoid them. A lack of basic life-management and self-management skills can lead to a relapse; therefore, it’s important to work on them.

Improving Group Problem Solving

In wilderness therapy, clients are exposed to new, sometimes uncomfortable environments where they must problem-solve, cooperate, and make decisions. In wilderness therapy, clients are put into this setting with a group leader from the facility. Clients may ride a boat on a lake, sit underneath pine trees, or take hikes. Regardless of the activity, clients explore more about who they are, who they were, and where they want to go in the future. Surrounded by a beautiful environment, clients can improve their spirits by connecting with nature as well as each other. 

How Does Wilderness Therapy Encourage Collaboration?

Wilderness therapy has many components. These components are group work, creating a safe space with mutual trust, overcoming challenges, and having interventions when exposed to wilderness and nature. During wilderness therapy, clients may face challenges that require them to collaborate with others. For instance, while boating, clients must work together to succeed. This collaborative exercise reveals to clients how they can better overcome challenges through support and collaboration. Clients realize that working together yields the best results.

The Benefits of Wilderness Therapy for Those Coping With Substance Abuse

Clients often come into treatment with low self-esteem, learned helplessness, poor communication skills, difficulty with taking responsibility, anger, anxiety, depression, and a lack of leadership abilities. Wilderness therapy helps clients improve in all of those areas. This is because clients are put into an environment where they engage in conflict resolution, develop assertiveness and patience, and improve their impulse control.

Wilderness therapy uses hands-on learning to accomplish personal goals. Clients learn about themselves and their recovery journeys through “doing.” They reflect on themselves, grow in knowledge, and contribute to a community. 

Through holistic services like wilderness therapy, recovery becomes less about stopping drug use and more about bringing joy and fulfillment into one’s life. Losing a sense of self in the world is a common effect of substance abuse. Through wilderness therapy, clients recover their true selves. 

Here at First Steps Recovery, we value collaboration as an important part of recovery. Collaboration reveals to clients that big challenges can be overcome with the help of a group. Clients learn that their experiences in recovery and with addiction are often shared with others. Collaboration can be done in both clinical and holistic therapies. Here, we offer wilderness therapy as a holistic service that encourages collaboration. Overcoming challenges together in nature helps clients realize that they function best when surrounded by support and camaraderie. Support, community, and collaboration are key elements of addiction recovery. To learn more about wilderness therapy and collaboration at our facility, please call us at (844) 489-0836.

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