The Impact of Outdoor Experiential Therapy in Addiction Treatment

Dilworth Center Experiential Therapy Outdoor Cup Mug Fire


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Exploring Nature’s Role in Healing and Recovery at Dilworth Center

Dilworth Center started offering a distinct therapeutic approach two years ago through its outdoor experiential therapy program. Every two weeks, a different treatment group goes into a peaceful nature preserve as part of the intensive outpatient program. The outdoor program is available for our adolescent, young adult, adult, family, and professionals programs. This innovative therapy offers invaluable perspectives to those dealing with substance use disorders.

Healing Experientially

“Going to the woods is one of my favorite parts of treatment,” says counselor Cori Trotman. Cori explains that he observes profound transformations as the men in his groups, initially strangers, evolve into a close-knit brotherhood. Their journey through nature involves engaging in survival tasks and group activities, culminating in insightful campfire discussions. These moments allow patients to uncover personal strengths and develop crucial recovery skills as they share laughter and vulnerabilities in a raw, untouched setting.

A New Perspective on Sobriety 

One patient shared a new perspective gained from participating in the outdoor group. He recounted an emotional moment when he heard about the impact of his addiction on his children. He found it easier to discuss his feelings of guilt and shame in the therapeutic setting of the “woods,” as he focused on the campfire. This transformed his traditional recovery experience into an engaging and enlightening one.

Beyond Conventional Rehab Therapy

Outdoor experiential therapy at Dilworth Center goes beyond traditional substance use and mental health treatment methods. Conducting therapy in a peaceful outdoor environment encourages emotional well-being, mindfulness, and a feeling of community among participants. These experiences are crucial for promoting long-term recovery and demonstrate the Center’s dedication to innovative and holistic treatment options.

Embracing Nature’s Healing Power

“As one of Dilworth Center’s experiential treatment modalities, outdoor experiential therapy continues to receive praise for its effectiveness in supporting recovery,” says Peter Hirsch, Research Coordinator. Patients, families, and counselors affirm the profound impact of integrating nature into the recovery process, underscoring its role in rebuilding lives and restoring hope for patients recovering from addiction.

Enhancing Recovery Through Community Support from the ABC Board

Thanks to the generous support from the ABC board, our outdoor experiential program has become a reality, profoundly impacting the recovery journey of many individuals. The ABC board’s grant has not only facilitated numerous therapeutic sessions in the serene environment of GreatWoods Nature Preserve, but also underscored their commitment to supporting the recovery community. This partnership highlights the importance of community involvement in addressing substance use disorders, providing us with the essential resources to offer these life-changing experiences. The dedication of the ABC board to fostering healing and wellness mirrors our mission at Dilworth Center, creating a stronger support network for those in need.