dynamic therapeutic learning experiences
Our Therapeutic Adventure Program (TAP) is a prevention, intervention, and maintenance program that creates a safe emotional space where clients feel empowered to push themselves past their perceived limits in order to achieve personal growth. Within the 6 programs that are housed under TAP, we provide over 7,800 participant service days each year to youth and adults.
TAP is the essence and manifestation of the Mountain Center’s Wilderness Experience Program (WEP) which was primarily active in the late 70s, 80s, and 90’s. WEP, as it was known, took groups into the backcountry for 20+ days, engaging in activities such as rafting, rock climbing, and backpacking. These elements of adventure are still embedded in our programs.
The Mountain Center group programs have elements of our Therapeutic Adventure approach, where we prescriptively design programs that meet the presenting needs of each client group. Our work engages participants through activities and experiential methods so they can experience challenge and success, and then transfer their learnings metaphorically into their lives.
Our referring agencies include treatment centers, juvenile justice programs, protective services, schools, tribal social services, shelters, and other wellness programs.
They report the following positive outcomes for participants:
- 93% credit our program with having a positive impact on participants’ sense of personal power, capabilities, and potential
- 91% agree that our methods helped participants improve their self-concept, self-esteem, and self-efficacy
- One referral agent shares this: “I think the most effective aspect of the program was that it allowed the students to participate in shared experiences where they were required to step out of their comfort zone, challenge themselves, and support each other.”
ADVENTURES IN RECOVERY
Our Adult Recovery programs follow our innovative Therapeutic Adventure Program model, which uses a strength-based, positive development approach to provide intervention, prevention and maintenance services to adults (18+) struggling with substance use. These services are available to residential treatment centers, outpatient treatment centers and community members in recovery.
The physical and psychological challenges are designed to:
- Stimulate social competencies and personal growth
- Deepen personal values
- Expand individual capabilities
- Provide awareness around identity development
- Develop self-confidence and insight
- Improve interpersonal skills and relationships
The Mountain Center’s response to a pressing social need in New Mexico regarding substance use is to provide ongoing support to those members of a community who are struggling with these issues. Programs include weekly or bi-monthly day programs with residential treatment centers and intensive outpatient programs on-site (at the facility) or in a wilderness setting and an open-enrollment program for adults in the maintenance phase of recovery (open to the community).
Adventure OUT! promotes adventure, health, wellness, and community among gay, bisexual, queer, transgender, and non-binary and MSM (men who have sex with men) individuals in New Mexico. We integrate HIV prevention with experiential education.
Since being founded in 1996, Adventure OUT! has given these individuals and their communities a way to come together in a substance-free setting, a space where they can talk about personal wellness and the wellness of their communities while building stronger connections to self, to nature and to others.
We’re also fun. And very engaging. And another big part of our work is outreach—reaching out to our communities. No organization in New Mexico is doing this type of prevention work—building community that comes from being out in nature. This brings people together in a way few other programs do, and helps folks learn about the different resources and access different organizations in different ways and talk about all these things.
Courage To Risk
Courage to Risk provides Therapeutic Adventure programs for groups of survivors of violence and trauma, including children and adults affected by domestic violence, child abuse, and sexual assault. We focus on trauma-sensitive, somatic modalities that cultivate awareness and connection to ourselves, each other, and Nature. Programs are a fun and engaging way for survivors to find support for healing and growth and help increase personal power as well as a sense of belonging and community.
Funding for the program is leveraged through the New Mexico Crime Victims Reparation Committee, the Children, Youth and Families Department, the Behavioral Health Department, and private and tribal money.
Our Youth Resiliency Program works with youth-at-risk involved in the Juvenile Justice System, treatment centers, drug court, and shelters. This program primarily works with intact groups to prescriptively design programming adjunctive to the partnering agency's goals for the clients. Like many TAP programs, we work to build a program with activities (ropes course, hiking, rock climbing rafting, etc...) that embed lessons such as the “stages of change model” and process the experience in a way that the client can apply the lessons learned back into their life.
In our Youth Resiliency Program, we travel all over the state of New Mexico providing Therapeutic Adventure Programs to youth and young adults from Las Cruces to Gallup to Albuquerque, to Santa Fe, to Farmington. We love to support the youth and agencies we work with in all of New Mexico’s beautiful communities.
Adventure Therapy is an alternative to talk therapy where the participants get 'off the couch' and engage in activities that are beneficial for growth and resiliency all while meeting treatment goals.
An often-used definition of Adventure Therapy (AT) is:
"AT is the prescriptive use of adventure experiences provided by mental health professionals, often conducted in natural settings, that kinesthetically engage clients on cognitive, affective, and behavioral levels." (Gass, Gillis, and Russell, 2012).
Adventure Therapy under our Therapeutic Adventure Program has licensed clinical counselors leading these programs which are largely funded through Medicaid. The foundation of these programs utilizes Experiential Adventure Education and Therapeutic Adventure Programming goals of building resiliency. In addition to these foundations, Adventure Therapists design group sessions based on client diagnoses and clinical needs.
You will find Adventure Therapy at the Mountain Center crosses over to other programs – such as our Counseling Services Program (done with Families or in individual sessions) or at our Transitional Living Program. Adventure Therapy under the Therapeutic Adventure Program (TAP) often works with existing TAP programs enhancing the therapeutic and clinical experiences provided by a licensed therapist. Clients in these programs are already in treatment where our clinical team works with the partner agency's clinical team to build meaningful programs that meet the clinical needs of the group.
Our Therapeutic Adventure Program is accredited by the Association of Experiential Education's