If you’re like me, when you’re finished reading Noah Davis’s interview with “wilderness therapist” Brad Reedy, you’re going to be thinking “yeah, I could use a month or two of that.”
Wilderness therapy involves taking kids out into nature. Which, some studies suggest, is not only beneficial for children with difficulties like ADHD, but might actually be necessary for most of us to remain productive and functional human beings.
I started working with adolescent boys and girls, treating mood disorders, oppositional disorders, drug addiction. The movement that I saw them experience in a period of six or seven weeks was more profound than I saw in any of the out-patient treatment centers that I’d worked at or even any of the residential treatment centers that I had worked at.
Reed says the secret isn’t just all that fresh air and sunshine.
A lot of what I attribute the success to is what we call primitive living. We provide them supplies. We provide them food and all the gear that they need, but they have to do everything themselves every day. They have to build their own shelter. They have to cook their own food. They make fire every day to cook on and stay warm by. They do it in small groups of eight to 10 students. Every lesson you want to impart to them is implicit in daily living.
Which makes me wonder: If wilderness therapy is so good for a troubled psyche, isn’t that kind of a profound indictment of our modern, always-on way of life?
How They Got There: A Conversation With Wilderness Therapist Brad Reedy, The Awl.