Rocky Mountain Recovery: Wilderness Therapy Programs Colorado Locals Can Trust

In this article, we’ll describe the many benefits of wilderness therapy for recovery. Learn about the best wilderness therapy programs Colorado has.

Exploring Wilderness Therapy Programs Colorado Residents Can Rely On

Embark on a transformative journey amidst the awe-inspiring landscapes of the Colorado Rockies. This article takes a deep dive into the world of wilderness therapy programs Colorado residents and visitors alike can trust for recovery

This unique intervention uses nature to help treat the following:

  • Mental health issues
  • Addiction
  • Personal growth obstacles
wilderness therapy programs colorado

What to Expect From This Article

This comprehensive guide explores wilderness therapy’s potential benefits and success factors. We focus on Colorado programs. For example, specialized centers like Choice House leverage the wilderness to promote healing.

This article provides insights into the potential of Colorado wilderness therapy programs. This information can be helpful for a professional seeking fresh therapeutic approaches. It can also help families looking for support.

What is Wilderness Therapy?

This therapy uses expeditions into the wilderness to address mental health and addiction. The aim is to promote personal and social development.

Wilderness therapy can improve self-esteem and the following skills:

  • Communication
  • Problem-solving
  • Relationship-building

These programs are used to treat a wide range of issues. It’s also used to treat adolescents struggling with issues such as defiance and low self-esteem.

How Does Wilderness Therapy Work?

Participants leave their usual environments and enter nature. In these settings, they must learn to work as part of a team and develop survival skills.1

The natural environment can seem unfamiliar and challenging. This can help people confront personal issues and take responsibility for their actions. Participants can also develop their resilience.

What Happens in Wilderness Therapy?

Mental health professionals often lead wilderness therapy programs in Colorado. These programs also integrate traditional therapeutic practices like group and individual counseling. 

They also include a variety of activities, such as:

  • Hiking
  • Camping
  • Rock climbing
  • Canoeing

Wilderness therapy programs are not suitable for everyone. They should be undertaken with the guidance of a healthcare professional. 

It’s crucial to find an accredited program with qualified, experienced staff. This helps to ensure participant safety and treatment effectiveness.

What Do Wilderness Therapy Programs Colorado Involve?

Several elements contribute to wilderness therapy’s effectiveness. Some of the common elements of these programs include the following.2

Outdoor Living and Survival Skills

Participants will learn to survive and thrive in the wilderness. They may learn skills like:

  • Building a fire
  • Setting up camp
  • Cooking meals
  • Navigating 

By mastering these skills, individuals can gain a sense of achievement and responsibility.

Adventure and Physical Activity

The wilderness therapy programs Colorado offers often include outdoor adventure activities. These physical challenges not only foster better physical health but also help build the following skills:

  • Resilience
  • Teamwork
  • Problem-solving

Therapeutic Intervention

This is the core of the wilderness therapy programs Colorado offers. Treatment often includes:

Licensed mental health professionals conduct the therapy. The techniques used may range from cognitive-behavioral therapy to trauma-focused interventions. The types of interventions used depend on the individual’s needs.

Group Living and Teamwork

Participants often work as a team to do tasks and overcome challenges. This helps build social skills, empathy, and cooperation. Living in a community environment can also provide valuable support from peers. 

Personal Reflection and Journaling

Time for personal reflection is often an important part of the wilderness therapy programs Colorado provides. 

Participants are often encouraged to keep a journal of their experiences and thoughts. This can enhance self-awareness, self-expression, and personal growth.3

Experiential Learning

In experiential learning, people learn through experience and reflection.4 Participants gain skills and knowledge. 

This can include:

  • Local ecology
  • First aid
  • Academic subjects in a hands-on way

Family Involvement

Many wilderness therapy programs in Colorado offer family involvement. These are opportunities for family therapy sessions or family visits. 

Family involvement can help mend strained relationships. It can also ensure the individual’s progress continues once they return home.

Aftercare Planning

The end of the wilderness therapy programs Colorado offers is only the beginning of the journey toward health and wellness. 

Staff will often help plan aftercare resources, such as:

  • Further therapy
  • Schooling
  • Support groups
  • Other supportive resources in the participant’s home community

The details of the wilderness therapy programs Colorado provides can vary. This depends on the specific program and the individuals it serves. At Choice House, we ensure our program has qualified staff and fits your needs.

Benefits of Wilderness Therapy Programs Colorado

Wilderness therapy can be a great part of an addiction or mental health treatment plan.5 

Exact benefits can vary from person to person. Still, there are several ways wilderness therapy programs in Colorado can be helpful.

Providing a Change in Environment

Being in a different environment can be therapeutic in itself. It can break old patterns of behavior and provide a fresh perspective. People can focus on their healing without distractions and triggers.

Promoting Physical Health

Physical activity is a big part of wilderness therapy.  Physical activity helps to promote mental health.6

Physical activity has the following benefits:

  • Reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety
  • Improved mood
  • Increased self-esteem

Building Resilience and Self-Efficacy

Facing and overcoming the challenges of wilderness survival can be very powerful. It helps build resilience and a sense of self-efficacy. 

These are crucial for individuals who are battling addiction and mental health issues. They might struggle with feelings of helplessness and lack of control.

Fostering Mindfulness and Self-Awareness

Wilderness therapy often includes mindfulness practices like meditation or yoga. Being in nature can also encourage a more mindful state. These practices can increase self-awareness and help individuals manage their emotions effectively.7

Encouraging Cooperation and Social Skills

Living and working as a group in wilderness therapy can foster cooperation. People can develop their communication skills and provide social support for one another. These skills are helpful for those struggling with interpersonal relationships.

Enhancing Problem-Solving Skills

The challenges encountered in wilderness environments involve problem-solving and critical thinking. Developing these skills can help deal with real-life challenges.

Providing Therapeutic Support

Trained mental health professionals often oversee the wilderness therapy programs. These professionals can provide individual and group therapy. This helps individuals process their experiences. Then, they can apply what they’ve learned to their everyday lives.

Creating Opportunities for Reflection and Personal Growth

Wilderness therapy programs in Colorado provide ample time for reflection. This has many therapeutic benefits. Combining physical activity and personal challenge can often lead to profound personal growth.

Wilderness therapy programs can be powerful tools for recovery. However, they should be part of a comprehensive approach to addiction and mental health treatment. Choice House combines traditional therapeutic practices with wilderness programs.

How Wilderness Therapy Programs Colorado Contributes to Success

The Colorado Rockies offer majestic peaks, expansive forests, and rushing rivers. The surroundings can contribute to the effectiveness of wilderness therapy programs. Here’s how the environment can help. 

Physical Challenges

The Colorado Rockies present a range of physical challenges. This includes steep mountain hikes to crossing rapid rivers. These challenges can help individuals build strength and endurance.

Natural Beauty

The Colorado Rockies’ natural beauty can promote a sense of peace. Nature can provide an immersive, healing environment. A growing body of research suggests that spending time in nature can improve mental health.8


The wilderness therapy programs Colorado provides offer a variety of adventure activities. These activities promote physical fitness and help individuals build self-esteem and self-efficacy.

Changing Seasons

The Colorado Rockies experience significant seasonal changes. This allows participants to learn to adapt to changing circumstances. This is a crucial skill for personal growth and recovery.

Learning Opportunities

The diverse ecology of the Colorado Rockies offers rich opportunities for experiential learning. Participants can learn about local flora and fauna and environmental conservation.

Healthy Environment

The clean air and pure water of the Colorado Rockies contribute to a healthier physical environment. This helps complement the mental and emotional healing process.

The Colorado Rockies offer unique advantages. Still, the success of any wilderness therapy program depends on the quality of the program itself. This includes the program’s therapy offerings, staff expertise, and safety procedures.

The Types of Wilderness Therapy Programs Colorado Offers

There are several types of wilderness therapy programs Colorado offers. Each has its own unique approach, methods, and target demographics. Here are a few types:

Adolescent Wilderness Programs

These programs cater to teenagers who are struggling with the following:

  • Behavioral issues
  • Academic difficulties
  • Low self-esteem
  • Substance abuse
  • Mental health issues like depression and anxiety

Such programs provide therapeutic intervention alongside a structured routine. They often also include an educational component to ensure participants keep up with their academic work.

Young Adult Wilderness Programs

These programs cater to young adults. They can help young adults struggling with addiction or mental health disorders. 

They can also help young adults struggling with life transitions. Transitions could include relationship problems or moving from school to the workforce. These programs often have a strong focus on building independence and life skills.

Family Wilderness Programs

Some wilderness therapy programs in Colorado involve the entire family. These are designed to help mend strained relationships and improve communication in the family. 

Family members take part in therapy sessions and wilderness activities together. This allows them to work through conflicts and build stronger bonds.

Substance Use Disorder Wilderness Programs

These programs are designed to treat substance use disorders and addiction. They provide a fresh, distraction-free environment away from triggers and access to substances. 

Therapeutic interventions in these programs are focused on the following:

  • Addressing the root causes of addiction
  • Developing coping mechanisms to maintain sobriety

Therapeutic Boarding Schools with Wilderness Programs

These long-term programs combine traditional schooling with therapeutic interventions and wilderness experiences.9 The environment is structured and catered to adolescents.

Individuals in these programs often struggle with behavioral and emotional issues. They may have not succeeded in traditional schooling environments.

Veteran Wilderness Programs

Some programs cater to veterans.10 These individuals may deal with the following:
  • PTSD
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Post-deployment readjustment difficulties

Outdoor activities combined with therapeutic support can benefit veterans navigating these challenges.

Wilderness therapy programs combine therapeutic wilderness experiences with professional mental health support. They focus on helping participants overcome their specific challenges.

The Success of Wilderness Therapy Programs Colorado Provides

The effectiveness of wilderness therapy can vary. Success can depend on the following factors:

  • Specific program characteristics
  • Staff qualifications and expertise
  • Individual participants and their specific issues


Studies suggest that wilderness therapy can help people with a variety of mental health and behavioral issues. For example, adolescents who participated in wilderness therapy showed significant improvements in mood, behavior, and self-esteem.11

Wilderness Therapy vs. Traditional Therapy

Comparing wilderness therapy to more traditional forms of therapy can be complex. This is because these treatments can be very different. Treatment may be more or less effective depending on the individual and their needs. 

Some people respond well to the structured environment of a wilderness program. Other people respond better to a traditional outpatient therapy setting.

Wilderness therapy should be viewed as one component of treatment. Most individuals need ongoing treatment and support after the wilderness therapy program ends. 

wilderness therapy programs colorado

Wilderness Therapy at Choice House

If you’re searching for wilderness therapy programs Colorado offers, look no further. Choice House offers a specialized wilderness therapy program for men ages 18 to 35. 

Our program offers a unique approach to treating mental health and substance abuse. 

Our Program

Choice House is based in Colorado’s scenic landscapes. We combine nature’s healing power with evidence-based therapeutic interventions. 

This ensures the most comprehensive treatment. Step out of your routine and immerse yourself in a supportive, structured wilderness environment. 

In our program, you can:

  • Gain essential life skills
  • Develop resilience
  • Learn to manage your mental health and addiction issues

Our Team

Staffed with experienced professionals, Choice House aims to deliver impactful change. Our professionals are some of the most well-respected in their field. 

We help men foster personal growth and the ability to cultivate a healthier, more fulfilling life. 

Contact Us

Whether you’re battling addiction or dealing with emotional challenges, Choice House is ready to guide you. 

Together, we can help you achieve recovery, growth, and wellness. Contact us today at (303) 578-4982 or on our website.

Participants leave their usual environments and enter nature. In these settings, they must learn to work as part of a team and develop survival skills.1

ready to choose a life worth living?

Don’t let addiction or co-occurring mental health conditions keep you from leading the happy, healthy, and empowered life you deserve. Contact Choice House today and embrace recovery.

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