Transitioning Back To Reality: How To Reintegrate Post Wilderness Therapy Programs

Transitioning Back To Reality: How To Reintegrate Post Wilderness Therapy Programs

For many young adults exiting rehabilitation, treatment, or wilderness therapy programs, one of the biggest challenges they face is reintegrating back into their daily lives. Implementing the changes and progresses that they have made isn’t easy when former environments and relationships still present obstacles. In addition, proving to those affected by their former behavior that this is a lasting transformation takes time and preparation. But it doesn’t rest solely on the young adult returning home to succeed. Parents also play a significant role in the reintegration process.

Preparing To Reintegrate: Things To Know And Do

For young adults who have been on a path of destruction for a long time prior to entering a treatment program, reintegrating back into family and community life is going to be difficult. Despite making huge changes in a treatment program, young adults still face the pressures returning home and proving that the changes they claim to have made are real. Reintegration is going to be a different process for everybody, but there are a few general things everyone can do:

Understand that it’s going to take time and energy. Convincing others that positive changes are permanent won’t happen overnight. Most likely, there are some burned bridges that need to be repaired. The only way to demonstrate that one has made a real change is to put in the work and to be consistent.

Practice Role-Playing. For someone with a chemical dependency, role-playing is a helpful tool in preparing for reintegration. Knowing how to react to a situation before it happens helps to ensure that when the time comes, a young adult knows how to make the right choices.

Define friendship and establish boundaries. In most cases, the young adult returning home is going to need to cut ties with former friends. There is no place in a healthy lifestyle for negative peer groups. Understanding what a true friend is and being prepared to eliminate negative influences is crucial to successful reintegration.

Create support networks. Therapy shouldn’t end when a young adult returns home. In fact, this is a time when they need support the most. Parents should work to ensure open lines of communication and the family should reach out to community support systems to aid with the reintegration process.

Avoid old environments. To stay resilient, sometimes the best strategy is to start fresh in a positive environment. Moving to a new town, starting college, or going in a new direction can make it easier to implement the changes that a person has made in treatment.

Hit the ground running. Make changes immediately. The more opportunity a person has to slip back into a familiar environment, the more likely they are to relapse.

Supporting Reintegration

Whether a person is returning from a wilderness therapy program or rehabilitation, he or she has worked hard to reshape and realign their belief system. One of the challenges of returning home is that they now have to reshape the belief systems of friends and family. When friends and family have suffered greatly from a person’s destructive behaviors, it can be an overwhelming challenge to prove that he or she has changed for the better.

But parents also have to prove that they too won’t slip back into their unhealthy ways.

This means that former dynamics cannot continue, and this requires the parents to make personal changes. It’s most likely that the dynamics that existed prior to treatment need realigning. With the help of a therapist, a parent can be making the adjustments that they need to make while their child is away, which can make for a much more successful reintegration when they return home.

Most teens return from rehabilitation, treatment or wilderness therapy with a new perspective on life and the attitude that they are ready to take on the world. The challenge is to integrate this newfound perspective into life in a lasting way. With the right support and plan in place, a young adult can return home and begin living the life of a responsible and self-reliant young adult.

To learn more about our wilderness therapy programs, and get started today, contact Rites of Passage at (800)794-0980.