How Can I Connect With Nature While in an Outpatient Program?

How Can I Connect With Nature While in an Outpatient Program?

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Clients who are navigating an outpatient program have the same accessibility to services as those in inpatient programs. However, some clients may feel out of the loop or have difficulties navigating outpatient treatment, especially at the beginning of the program. While many clinical treatments and therapies are often identical to those in an inpatient program, clients may not feel as though they are receiving the full experience with holistic services. That’s why having self-direction while in an outpatient program is key, especially regarding holistic services. One of these holistic options is learning how to connect with nature on one’s own.

At First Steps Recovery, the staff works with clients to develop a personalized treatment plan regardless of the program route they take. With these treatment plans, the staff works to understand the client, their home environment, and what holistic healing options may be accessible while in an outpatient program.

Self-Direction in an Outpatient Program

Outpatient programs are under the umbrella of ambulatory services, which also include intensive outpatient programs (IOPs). In outpatient programs, clients are guided to develop and maintain coping mechanisms that support a sober lifestyle. Individual, group, and family therapies are available to clients in these programs as well as assessments and treatment planning. Through IOPs, clients are provided with several hours of counseling per day for a set number of weeks.

With these programs, clients need to develop a sense of self-direction in recovery. While clients are still guided and supported by the facility, they are not under 24-hour supervision as they would be in an inpatient program. Though clinical treatments and therapies are still structured, clients must develop a healthy rhythm in their day-to-day lives without this supervision. Developing healthy lifestyle habits is crucial to successful, long-term recovery and sobriety.

Holistic Healing at First Steps Recovery

Holistic care options at First Steps Recovery promote whole-person healing and healthy lifestyle habits. The services offered at First Steps include trips and outings, recreation, art therapy, yoga therapy, horseback riding, music therapy, and wilderness experiences. Through holistic healing services, clients connect with their inner selves on a deeper level. This connection promotes a clearer understanding of one’s addiction and contributes to one’s ability to self-advocate.

Holistic Services to Connect With Nature

The nature-based holistic services, specifically, are trips and outings, horseback riding, and wilderness experiences. In the trips and outings service, clients attend events in a group such as hiking, swimming, and barbecues. Clients learn to communicate with each other, develop stronger bonds, and learn how to socialize without alcohol or substances.

Horseback riding at First Steps Recovery is also known as animal or equine therapy. In this program, clients develop companionship with animals. With the help of a therapist, clients use equine therapy to build trust, awareness, confidence, and leadership skills. Clients also learn how to alter their behaviors to produce happier responses from the animal, creating a soothing and calming bond with another living creature. This program is offered to help clients work through their struggles with building interpersonal relationships, strengthening social skills, building greater self-esteem, and strengthening impulse control.

The wilderness therapy program places clients in groups outdoors. This program is meant to promote adventure, exploration, self-growth, and self-discovery. Clients connect with the outdoors, embracing the calm natural scene and bringing that directly into their recovery. Wilderness therapy addresses poor self-esteem, a sense of helplessness, poor communication, anger, anxiety, depression, and an inability to hold oneself responsible.

The Importance of Connecting With Nature in Recovery

It is important to connect with nature in the recovery process, either on one’s own or through a guided service. By connecting with nature in this way, clients learn how to ground themselves in the present. Rather than focusing on cravings or barriers in recovery, clients learn to step back, feel a sense of peace, and enjoy the present natural world without distraction. Likewise, when clients connect with nature, this eases anxieties and other overwhelming or difficult feelings.

The Whole-Person Approach to Connect With Nature at Home

Integrating a whole-person approach at home is a trial-and-error process. There are many factors that are involved with whole-person healing, including physical, nutritional, and psychological (mental-emotional health). A journey of healing that involves all of these factors produces the best recovery results. Rather than focusing on “fixing” symptoms or “issues,” whole-person approaches help heal the inner self. This approach allows clients to reap the full benefits of treatment similarly to those in an inpatient program.

For nature-based holistic care, clients in outpatient programs can make a strong effort to connect with nature. With a therapist’s guidance, clients can learn how to integrate nature-based healing into their program while at home. This can be done through hikes, walks, or outdoor activities that promote inner reflection, calmness, and groundedness.

When clients learn how to connect with nature, they can gain a stronger sense of the present moment and a greater appreciation of the world around them. This helps with one’s recovery as it provides clients with a clearer insight into the world around them. Nature allows clients to reflect on themselves in a peaceful, calming environment. These activities also give clients healthy outlets to turn to in difficult situations in recovery.

How One’s External Support Group Can Help You Connect With Nature

In outpatient treatment, clients are more physically connected to their external support groups such as their families and friends. This type of support group can be involved in one’s recovery journey by joining in with these holistic approaches. Involving the support group in these activities helps clients build deeper connections within themselves and with those around them.

Engaging in nature-based activities consistently can be challenging. With an external support system, clients can be held more accountable. As others join in on nature-based activities such as hikes, walks, or outside meditation sessions, recovery becomes a more enjoyable and engaging process.

Here at First Steps Recovery, we encourage clients in outpatient treatment to embark on their own holistic journeys. Holistic healing is a vital element in recovery as the activities teach clients how to engage with themselves in a more meaningful and deeper way. These services also offer clients healthy coping mechanisms and outlets to turn to even after treatment. Those in outpatient care who cannot join holistic care services at the facility can practice the same activities on their own. Connecting with nature is a primary healing option as it helps clients ground themselves and become aware of the present moment more fully. To learn more about outpatient whole-person approaches, please call us at (844) 489-0836.

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