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Adventure Therapy

How it helps in treatment:

Turnback’s adventure therapies will provide hands-on experiences that help program participants be present in their bodies in the moment and discover metaphors for challenges while gaining new perspectives. These therapies encourage feelings of accomplishment, trust and “natural highs” without needing harmful sexual behaviors. Research shows that experiential activities can improve self-esteem, decrease depression and anxiety and increase self-efficacy. While the activities are fun and challenging, they also serve as metaphors, helping clients learn about themselves and how they relate to others and the world around them. After each activity, clients are typically asked three questions: What happened? What can you learn from it? What are you going to do with that information? Attention is given and emphasis is placed on God’s creation that’s all around them as they go through these exercises, reminding them that the same God who created all of it loves them as individuals and wants fellowship with them.

Common themes in adventure therapy include:

Dealing with frustration

Adventure therapy teaches program participants to pause and create boundaries when frustration arises, always with the intention of returning to the cause of frustration when they’ve managed some of the anxiety and discomfort around it so they can rationally process their next steps.


Being comfortable with discomfort

Recovery can be uncomfortable because it’s unfamiliar and because it provides space for difficult emotions to surface. Certain adventure activities can teach program participants to handle discomfort in a healthy way, relax into it and navigate their way through it by using their voice and drawing on the support of their ‘battle buddies”.

Pushing through fear

Many adventure therapies require program participants to take a leap of faith; literally. People will understandably be apprehensive about activities like falling backwards off a platform or balancing on a high rope, but they learn to push through that fear, feel proud of themselves for doing so and take that courage back into everyday life, and into difficult and stressful situations in that life that would have normally, before their treatment, pushed them toward a relapse.

Leaning on others

People make mistakes, but a group of peers can provide the support and accountability they need to get back up when they fall. Adventure therapy provides a powerful community-based experience where program participants learn that they need other people. Participants work with others, communicate and trust their team members to accomplish a task. They also learn that their actions do indeed have a direct impact on other people around them.


Being consistent

Program participants learn that in order to be consistent, they must do something regularly. This is a valuable metaphor for the importance of attending support/recovery groups or taking part in other practices that support their recovery once they are back home after their time at The Ranch.


Types of adventure therapy planned for the TurnBack Ranch:

High and low ropes course

Pole/wall climbing



Platform trust fall

Deep nature hikes/camping

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