Is Wilderness Therapy Right For You?

Evoke Therapy Programs serve a wide range of clients struggling with mental health challenges, addiction/substance abuse, and common stage-of-life challenges. Most of our clients, students, and families will attest that everyone would benefit from some time in the wilderness with some therapy and support.

A great advantage at Evoke is our ability to make a placement in a group that is intentionally designed to treat the challenges of each client. Groups specialize in a specific category of challenges that allow the treatment team of Wilderness Field Guides, therapists, and psychiatrists to focus on each participant’s needs.

Benefits of Wilderness Therapy

Evoke’s Wilderness Therapy is a clinically sophisticated approach administered by highly trained therapists and psychologists to treat mental health and addiction issues. Evoke’s Wilderness Therapy program provides the level of intermediate care needed when a client doesn’t require hospitalization but is not healthy enough at home. Evidence-based therapeutic approaches are added to an experiential milieu of small-group, wilderness living. Unplugged from our often digitally drenched world, participants internalize change.

The addition of the nature-based experiential approach deepens the effect of those traditional models because the therapy gets beneath the conscious defenses and past our verbal limitations. Trauma and pain are often stored in the non-verbal or pre-verbal areas of the brain and an approach that utilizes mostly talk-therapy may not access the deeper regions where the healing must occur.

Challenges We Treat

Choose from the following list to read about the common challenges we treat:

Exclusionary Criteria

While Wilderness Therapy is often a powerful and dynamic treatment for adolescents and young adults, there are some exclusionary criteria to assure that your child receives the most effective treatment without compromising health and safety:

  • Acute suicidality marked by active attempts
  • Psychosis or current psychotic symptomology
  • Significant violent episodes or behaviors outside of the home
  • Active eating disorders that require a hospital-care level of observation

Medical conditions that may likely require emergency services during routine wilderness therapy activities:

  • Insulin-Dependent Diabetes
  • History of anaphylactic shock as a result of an allergic response to something that may be present in the wilderness setting
  • Obesity or other limiting physical feature that would create an unsafe situation in routine wilderness activities
  • Cardiac conditions, or other health issue that may lead to emergency care. 

Please contact our admissions team at 866.411.6600 to discuss any issues related to the criteria above. Each individual will be evaluated with consideration to the client's capacities and willingness, doctor recommendations, and the physical or mental history related to the above conditions.

Interested in Learning More?


Reference: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fourth Edition. Virginia: American Psychiatric Association, 2000.

Evoke has brilliant therapists and compassionate counselors. Our teenager benefited greatly from self-reflection and exploration of unhealthy patterns. The work includes family counseling which was invaluable to ours. The decision to have our teen attend is one we will never regret.

— Evoke Parent