Peak Potential: Harnessing Adventure to Empower Teens in Crisis

Central to our approach is integrating adventure and outdoor recreation activities into the healing process. This has been proven to be highly effective in conjunction with traditional therapies. This innovative method provides valuable insights and plays a significant role in empowering teens to overcome difficult situations.


Outdoor Adventure and Recreation: Experiencing The Therapeutic Benefits

As you consider experiential therapy options for your teenager, outdoor adventure and recreation plays an important role in the treatment process. It can have a significant impact on a student’s confidence, ability to manage stress, problem-solving, and overall life satisfaction.

In this episode, therapist Tiffany Silva Herlin, LCSW, and David Mosse, Recreation Director at Discovery Ranch South, discuss:

  • What role does adventure and recreation play in therapy?
  • Understanding the healing power of nature.
  • Building a personal identity filled with grit and determination.
  • Creating a passion-centered life through recreation.
A teenage girl looks through a microscope while attending a residential anxiety treatment center | Discovery Ranch South - a residential treatment center for adolescent girls and teens assigned female at birth

If your child has gone through talk therapy and hit a wall, we have a solution. At Discovery Ranch South, we offer personalized mental health treatment that enables teenagers to live a life filled with meaning and self-reliance. Our therapeutic program helps in creating life-changing experiences and building strong relationships. Start healing today. To learn more about our services, call us at 855-667-9388.

Outdoor Adventure and Recreation Podcast Transcript

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    Tiffany: Welcome back to our podcast. Thanks again for joining us. My name is Tiffany Herlin. I'm a licensed clinical social worker. Today I'm interviewing from Discovery Ranch South residential program David Mosse, who is a Recreation Director. Today in this episode, we will be discussing adventure and outdoor recreation and how it can help a student gain deeper insight into their therapeutic journey.
    I am super excited about this topic. I'm excited to have you here. So let's start with telling us a little bit about yourself and your role at Discovery Ranch South.

    David: Yeah, so I've been working in the outdoor industry in general since about 2004, you know, just working at a small outfitter in college just making some money, getting by and I had originally started as a journalism major. I have an affinity for writing and I really enjoy it. But then I found out you get paid to play outside and that, yeah, so that shifted my journey substantially. And I worked in the private industry for about five and a half-ish years through undergraduate and then a little bit after. And then I went to graduate school mostly because I didn't know exactly what I wanted to do. I knew I didn't want to work in the private industry. Just cause it didn't feel like it was, you know, the whole picture, right? I felt like I was missing something.

    And then in grad school, I found out, really started to learn more about the idea of using adventure and outdoor experiences to provide growth.

    And then I found out about wilderness therapy, and I worked at a wilderness program throughout grad school. And then after graduate school, I worked at another wilderness program and it was a field guide for four and a half years and then, or four years, and then I was a field director for a little while after that.
    And then, yeah, found after a couple other adventures in the interim, made my way out here and yeah, now I'm running our adventure recreation program. That's awesome.

    Tiffany: Yeah. So you have a good amount of experience in adventure and outdoor recreation.

    David: Yeah.

    Tiffany: You're seasoned.

    David: Yeah.

    What is Adventure and Outdoor Recreation?

    Tiffany: Okay. How would you, for our listeners who have never even heard of this, how would you define outdoor and recreation? Excuse me, adventure and outdoor recreation.

    David: Well, broadly adventure and outdoor recreation, if we want to be more specific, I mean, there's entire classes on what recreation is, but...

    Tiffany: give us the reader's digest.

    David: I would say the best rundown of it is you know, a collection of activities that could be as accessible and common as going out for a hike during the day on your favorite trail outside of urban areas, you know, into the side country and backcountry, all the way to high adventure, which is what we do a lot of here being rock climbing, bouldering, canyoneering, backcountry backpacking trips, expeditions and such. And we also do a lot of skiing and that's, skiing is definitely a huge part of what I would describe as adventure recreation, I think. To differentiate, sorry, between adventure recreation and recreation, recreation could be something as simple and common as, you know, renting a paddleboard. That could be recreating. Whereas adventure, I think to really call it adventure recreation, you have to be exposing yourself to an accepted level of risk or risk in general with the chances of something happening that you weren't quite anticipating, but are able to manage. And so without the chance of something going sideways, or sorry, with the chance of something going sideways, I think that's kind of a determining part of what adventure recreation is. Otherwise, yeah, I would just, I would just say it'd be just outdoor recreation. So I think that's how I would describe the two, the different parts of that.

    What makes adventure and outdoor recreation therapeutic?

    Tiffany: So, this leads me to my next question, what makes adventure and outdoor recreation therapeutic?

    David: I think it's exactly the differentiation in definition and in terms. When we expose ourselves to risk, when we, are embracing a world and an activity where we can be very competent and we can have skills or we can have a lot of support or we can have a guide that can manage a lot of the risk, we are still interacting with the unknown. And when you interact with the unknown, your ability to default to commonly used ways of managing stress and anxiety and emotion can very quickly deteriorate or become less effective.

    And so when you apply that to a therapeutic setting, we can use climbing as a really good example, when you're climbing, especially if you don't have a lot of experience doing it, you will likely find yourself in this feeling of being very vulnerable or being very exposed or realize that, oh, I'm very high off the ground and triggering that emotion. Well, if you're way to cope with difficult emotion is to play your favorite song, well, yeah, now you're 20 feet up on the side of a rock wall. You're that's not an option for you. So what you then are able to do is learn to find other ways of coping with that stress or anxiety, whatever the heart emotion is. And oftentimes where we start in adventure recreation is simply through grounding, very simple grounding activities, whether it be breathing or connecting to where you are in space are really effective ways to do that.

    So it really challenges our common way of interacting with stress and so you apply that to life in general, well, if you can manage your stress and anxiety while repelling off of 200 foot cliff and then you're walking down, you know, you're going throughout your day and something unforeseen happens, that one thing is likely going to be far less stressful or difficult to manage than repelling off that cliff because you have an experience that, you know, elicits a significant amount of anxiety or fear.

    So it's kind of using these experiences that are outside of the norm to challenge the way that we interact with our emotions and really cause us to be more effective.

    I've done quite a bit of research in the area of how adventure activities improve what we call life effectiveness. There was an evaluation tool that was made in, I want to say it's like 2007, 2006, somewhere around there, and the whole scale evaluated what they called life effectiveness, which was basically people's ability to manage stress and anxiety and fear and hard emotions. Which is just life, right?

    Yeah, exactly. And so what they did is they had this in the initial study where they use this tool, they had one group of people that, you know, they just weren't given, they're just doing their thing. And they were exposed to the same challenges and stressors and then they would take the survey and they would get a certain score. And they had people who had been through a six week long adventure course and had gotten some training and had been exposed to these adventure activities. Then they were put through the same set of challenges and they scored much differently than they flipped the two groups and they found the exact same results. And so it's very cool cause there's a significant body of research even above and beyond that, that kind of shows that adventure, it works, right. It has a profound impact on our ability to manage life.

    Tiffany: Well. I love it from a clinical standpoint because you're placing yourself or a client in a situation that is challenging, out of their comfort zone, there may be a perceived threat or risk involved, right? You know, again, we're providing an environment that's safe yet in their mind, like I'm scared of heights and I can go climbing indoors any day and be okay. I'll be a little bit shaky at the top. You put me on a mountain, on the cliff and I'm like, I know I'm safe. I know I'm in a harness, but I'm still like shaking at the top and, and I've had my own therapeutic experiences as a therapist climbing and hiking and in fact, I did Angels Landing in Zion's and I'm terrified of heights, but the fact that I did it, like, my brain had a party with all the neurotransmitters and neural pathways that were created in my brain after doing something like that and then processing it of like I can do hard things and that's the same for our clients, you know. I've talked in a couple of the other episodes that growth doesn't happen in comfort.

    David: No, no one of our therapists here has a very commonly repeated phrase, is comfort zones are beautiful places where nothing grows.

    Tiffany: Yeah, I might have to steal that one.

    David: Yeah, you definitely should. I take it all the time. You know, I, I like what you were saying. I think there's a lot, just the different, the differentiation that you made between indoor and outdoor, right? Another component of all this is perceived risk, right? When we're talking about adventure therapy, we want to be able to have our perception of risk to be, you know, as high as makes sense, as high as our population or a group can tolerate but then the actual risk being quite low, right? Yeah, and that creates that window of growth that you're talking about. Yeah, so that definitely resonates for sure.

    Clinical Perspective on Adventure and Outdoor Recreation

    Tiffany: Yeah. So yeah, from a clinical standpoint, it's incredibly therapeutic. And like you said, there's research behind it. A couple things I wrote down is that Yeah, you have self-efficacy, you've got growth, you get grit that you're allowing them develop, you know, confidence, identity development. I mean, there's so much that can come from this from a clinical perspective.

    David: For sure. One of the things that we talk about a lot, especially in our advanced programming, which is, I guess, just kind of briefly, we have two different parts of our recreation program and our foundations program is really focused more on developing base communication skills and kind of interacting with new ways of managing our distress in a more controlled environment and then having some experiences, which could be considered to be peak experiences or experiences where we're having to work through hard emotions in new ways, kind of, we already talked about, but then our adventure, or sorry, our advanced recreation program is a whole nother animal.

    Tiffany: Set me up for that.

    David: Yeah. So it is, and so in our adventure, our advanced recreation program, our primary focus. Well, our primary means really is skill development, like developing a really solid set. of hard skills, of technical skills. I mean, they're building their own climbing anchors. They're setting up rappels on their own with knowledge that they have. And one of the things that we talk about repeatedly in our Advanced Rec program is we can do hard things, and we can suffer better than anyone else. And that speaks to this idea of grit, growth, and identity development. It's like, I'm not just is smart. I'm not just funny. I'm not just pretty. I'm not just the, you know, daughter or child of someone who is X, Y, or Z.

    Emphasis on Grit and Identity Development

    David: I am a strong person. I can do hard things. And in that kind of development of this self concept, they do some really hard stuff. Like one of our trips we did this last year, it was three days, 14 and a half miles, not super far, but these kids were hiking with their fully loaded bags, roughly 40 ish pounds and on the way out, they're gaining 2100 feet in elevation in a mile. So it goes from on the way, in that they do that over six and a half, well, seven miles by the way out, they do that over the course of a mile and change. And so that is something that really is hard and it's... we do that trip intentionally at the start of the year to set this standard and this understanding of this is probably the hardest thing you're going to do with us all year and you just did it an amazing job of it.

    So everything else that you interact with now, they have that positive touchpoint with discomfort. I find that all the time, not even just with the kids that we work with, but with adults, friends of mine, family, where the idea of doing something that is physically unpleasant is unbearable and that's a skillset that we've lost so much of in our day-to-day lives, 'cause we live very comfortable lives and that's great. And when we bring that into a therapeutic environment, now that physical discomfort, that emotional distress, like, oh my gosh, I am so tired. I can't believe I have this. Now, when they're going into that deeper trauma work or that attachment work, well, they have something to draw from like, yes, this is hard, but that was hard too, and I hear that a lot from our advanced rec kids when it's like, yeah, you know, I've learned a lot about what I can push through, even though it's very different. They have that knowledge that, yeah, this is hard in a different way. And that hike was also very hard in a different way, but I did it and I was fine and I'm stronger for it. And so, we're talking about grit and identity development, that's huge, you know, and our advanced rec program puts a huge emphasis on that.

    It's also, you know, written into our core values for our advanced rec program. One of the primary tenants of our advanced rec group is no excuses, only solutions. So there is no excuse, right? And if we focus on the excuses and things that we can't do, we're not going to grow and make progress. So we're always solution focused, even if my solution is admitting, yeah, I don't know how to do this. I need your help, right. And so that's, I think, an essential mindset to have in life, but especially in, you know, in a clinical setting. So.

    Tiffany: Well, you're creating not only different mindset and not giving them different knowledge, but you're also creating new neuropathways in their brain.

    David: 100%, yeah.

    Tiffany: And you're helping them re-write their narrative in their head, which is I can't do it versus I can and I can do hard things versus I'm not good enough or I'm not capable, right? You're just doing, I mean, so much for them in developing who they are and developing, like I said, new neural pathways in their brains. And as we know, the brain is, has neuroplasticity and it can change and they don't have to stay stuck and feel like they're victims and unable.

    David: Yeah.

    Tiffany: Unempowered is a word I'm looking for, helpless.

    David: Yeah. Yeah. And I think another component of that too is this idea of, you know, not only maybe can I not do something hard, maybe they think they can, but they don't see that I have something to gain from like, Oh, that's really hard. That's not worth it. Oh, it's a hundred percent it's worth it. You know, people always ask me, it's like, well, what's the point of climbing a mountain? Well, there is no real point. But you know, to quote Conrad Anker, he's a famous mountaineer, just kind of a, I mean, he's the man I won't go off on that tangent but in terms of mountaineering in that world, there is nobody that even comes close. And he was asked, he's like, it's all about the view. And if we take that as a metaphor too, it's like, what's the point of doing all this hard work? Because your view, the view of your life, this hard thing is going to benefit you so greatly. Why climb a mountain? Because you're going to get to the top and your view and your sight and your, what you can take in and learn becomes expanded, you know, and it's incredible.

    Tiffany: Let me go back for our listeners who don't know what Angels Landing is.

    David: Oh yeah.

    Tiffany: Real quick, and if you've never been to Zion's, go to Zion's. Book a trip there next time for your family trip and get the courage and practice, you know, get yourself up for angels landing.
    I fell out of actually a two story window when I was two or three, I think. It was like one of my first memories. Nothing happened. I was actually miraculously okay. But ever since then, I've had this giant fear of heights, which was clinically speaking totally valid, right?

    But I decided in my twenties that I was going to do Angels Landing. And if any of you go look up a picture, it's at one point when you get to the very end, it's just sheer drop on each side and there's chains.

    David: Right.

    Tiffany: And I want you to know I climbed on my hands and knees to the top of that and in my brain, I was like, I don't know if this is worth it. I don't know. And I was like on the verge of tears and I wanted to do it so bad. And when I got to the top, like, actually, I feel emotional just talking about it. But like, I cried and I would look at the view and I looked where I came from and doing that and having that kind of stress, like we think stress is bad in our lives and yes, chronic stress over time if not managed well can be very unhealthy for us. Yet, there is a healthy amount of stress that we need in our lives to help us gain grit, to help us gain, you know this growth mindset and identity that I can do heart things.

    And I tell you what, like, that was a turning point for me in my life in my 20s where I was like, I did that then I can do this other hard thing that maybe isn't physical, but emotional. You know, like, if I can get through that, and it also translated to like other hard trials in my life. And once I got through those, I was like, it was the same thing, like, I can do hard things. My script was different.

    David: So many people I talk to when they learn what I do, if they, if that comes up. You know, they're like, oh man, I had this experience and it was so scary and they're talking about something, they're talking about their fear, but they're talking about in such an animated and excited way. You can just watch their eyes dilate.

    Tiffany: I'm pretty sure I got intense when I was telling you.

    David: Yeah, and that's what kind of made me think about this is like It's such a common thing and there's this odd dichotomy in our culture of like, you know, it's, you know, do things that are predictable, you know, follow a certain path, you know, don't take unnecessary risk.

    Yet the people that engage in risk on a regular basis, healthy risk, right? I mean, this is like very different than high risk behaviors. You know, people that engage in healthy levels of risk, their mental health just seems so much more positive or they can access these memories and the experiences that bring joy that isn't based on having or not having attaining or not attaining, right. It stays with you, even though, you know, it could have been 10, 15, 20 years ago.

    Tiffany: Well, let's shift to that. That's exactly what you want to do with the students here at Discovery Ranch South. A lot of them are coming and taking high risk behaviors that are not healthy, that are putting them in situations that are so unsafe and their families unsafe and others unsafe and causing so many people to worry about their future.

    And the interesting thing, I talked to parents that I've worked with in treatment centers as a therapist, is your child is trying to just cope and they found these maladaptive coping skills and if we just go and take them all away, they're not gonna know what to do to cope anymore and they're gonna find other ones.

    David: Right.

    Tiffany: So you can't just say you can't do that stuff anymore. You can't cut. You can't, you know, do drugs. You can't, whatever the other behaviors are. We have to teach them new skills and it's natural teenage development for their brains to seek out risky behaviors.

    David: Right.

    Tiffany: So to give them something that is healthy, that is a healthy risk, that is a healthy perceived threat, that is a healthy, safe environment to try new things and develop new neuropathways and new scripts in their brains that says, okay, I'm struggling with this really difficult emotion. What's something I can do other than going and doing drugs? Or other than feeling suicidal or wanting to cut, right? I can get, I can get those same needs met in a much healthier way. And we're going to give you this opportunity to try it in a safe environment here.

    David: Yeah, a hundred percent, you know, and that's, you know, kind of going again back to our advanced recreation program, you know, so we're, we're developing these hard skills, these actual like technically competent skills. But the reason why isn't... it really has nothing to do with DRS. It has nothing to do with our Advanced Rec Program. It has everything to do with life after, right?

    Finding Passion Through Knowledge

    David: One thing I tell parents all the time is that, you know, when we get into our Advanced Program, if, you know, if your child decides to pick Advanced Recreation versus Advanced Performing Arts, our focus shifts, right, to life afterwards and you know, in my mind, it's almost a formula. Our end goal is to help them find something they're passionate about. I'll circle back to that in a second. And I think that the surest way to find that passion is you start with knowledge. Give them a heap of knowledge. Give them all the information they need about climbing, about backpacking, about skiing, canyoneering, whatever it might be. With knowledge comes appreciation, right, and gratitude. In and of itself, those emotions are very positive and very beneficial, right?

    Like, a good example, I know a lot about quilting, by the way. My mother...

    Tiffany: Surprise.

    David: Yeah, right. My mother, I bet you did not know we were going to talk about quilting today. So my mother-in-law has imparted to me a load of knowledge about quilting. I really don't have any interest in quilting. But I look at a quilt, it's like, why is that $1,200? Well, let me tell you. I can I appreciate the knowledge, I appreciate the skill and the commitment that it took, right, but I don't have that. I don't have a passion for quilting.

    The Power of Passion-Centered Life

    David: Well, when you take knowledge, and then you can gain some appreciation and then help them really connect to it, now you have passion, right? And when I'm talking about passion, I'm talking about that thing that even the thought of it has a physiological response. You can feel your body waking up, right? If I close my eyes and think about skiing, which I won't because I'll get way off topic, I can feel it in my chest, I can feel it in my hands, I can feel my legs burning, I can feel the snow giving way, I can hear it, I can, you know, I can, it just comes right back to me.

    That is passion. That is our duty, to impart a passion onto our students before they leave. Because if you have something that you're passionate about and you have the skills and the knowledge and the ability to continue to pursue it, which we also give them, well after treatment, right, and they have this natural tendency to seek risk and to seek that adrenaline rush and that big dopamine hit from those experiences. Well now they have this in their passion about, let's just say it's climbing. Well to climb you need some friends and they have to climb too. So now you have your friend group is being built out and surrounded around this passion, this very healthy passion that fills this need that you have. And now you have a passion-centered life and that, to maintain that you have to eat well, you have to sleep well, you have to be doing well in school, you have to have relationships, you have to be true to who you are and you are doing that repeatedly by engaging in that passion.

    So now when we live a passion centered life, our lives are so fulfilling because it's not a thing. It's a need, right? I need to be outdoors that fulfills me in a way that nothing else does, right. And so really when we're talking about advanced rec, when you're talking, you were talking about this, like, almost this like need to engage in this thing to feel alive or to feel that adrenaline or, you know, whatever it might be, or replacing that with something that is so holistically healthy and like edifying to their entire being and so we really are focusing on this passion, right? And that, if we had to end right now, that would be where I'd want to stop because that's why, that's why.

    Tiffany: That's why you do this.

    David: Right. And if we can't do that, then we need to move on. But I think we do that quite well, you know.

    Tiffany: And when you're installing that passion led life, you're installing goals and healthy goals and connection and healing. I mean, just so much, clinically speaking.

    It doesn't matter, I think, what someone's passionate about but, you know, it could be performing arts. It could be horses. It could be, you know, singing and dancing. It could be a number of things, outdoor, you know, recreation. It could be, I personally have gained a love for hiking the last couple years when I was going through a challenging time of my life and it's just whenever I'm having a hard time, I'm like, get me to the mountains, get me on a hike, you know.

    And there's, I don't have the research in front of me, but I know there's research out there about how things like that, getting outside in nature can be just so grounding and calming to our nervous systems. I mean, ultimately, whatever the passion may be, our goal is to help install that into the clients we work with, and helping them find that.

    And really, I think the other thing I wanted to say, sorry, I was just, is that as a therapist, like my biggest goal is to help teach people how to recognize when they're triggered and to regulate their nervous system. And finding these passions is what helps.

    The Healing Power of Nature

    David: A hundred percent. A hundred percent. Yeah cause it's distinct, there's a distinct difference between being triggered by, you know, a really scary event and being confronted with, you know, some sort of like fear stimulus that might trigger that same thing, but when it's connected, when it's in a place of peace, and an objective indifference, I think that's where we can really heal. I think, you know, nature is indifferent to our existence. It doesn't know we're there. It doesn't necessarily mind that we're there. It is about as judgment free and quiet as possible. You know, one of the things that we always talk about, I'm sure you're familiar with this, is when someone's struggling, the best thing you can do oftentimes is just to be with them. Be in that space.

    Tiffany: Oh yeah. Hold space. Yeah, be a witness.

    David: Don't talk. You don't need to like you let your anxiety run wild. Just be with them. Right? And I think...

    Tiffany: You don't have to fix it.

    David: No. Yeah, and because we all know we can't, right? That's their journey. And that's what I love about the outdoors, about the wild places that we have left. It is the surefire consistent companion that is always there with you and it's always quiet and ready to listen and to be, and I think that indifference and that objective interaction that we have with nature is one of those things that's really hard to put words to but what draws us in, right? Like, you know, like you were saying, when you're going through something hard, you're having a rough day, get me out to the mountains.

    Well, why? Why? Because if it's just the exercise, go run around a track, but it's not just that, right?. There is something unspoken and difficult and maybe even unknown about being in these wild places that allows us to be with ourselves in silence, but not feel alone and just like have that place of growth and healing where we can get out and we can look at this world around us that's so much bigger than we are. The mountain is a million times larger than we are. It's there for you, and you can be there with it. And that's something that doesn't happen in other places.

    Tiffany: Yeah, and it doesn't matter if it's the mountain. I mean, just exploring nature. I remember as a teenager, I was a runner, and when I was having pretty emotionally triggering days. I would put on my shoes and run to the beach and just go sit and listen to the waves. And you take me back to the beach and it's just like instantly hits me, put my feet in the sand, the calming sounds, I mean, there's so much therapeutic-ness to that and so healing for people.

    Success Stories in Adventure Therapy

    Tiffany: I think we've touched on so many amazing things of, why adventure in outdoor rec therapy? What are the goals? I mean, you've touched on so many. I think it'd be best to end with, for our listeners, share some stories, some success stories you've seen in this field.

    David: Yeah That's a big question. One of my favorite examples, mostly because it just really speaks to the, you know, power of what we're doing, in our advanced rec program especially, there's a student that we worked with probably five years ago now, roughly, maybe six. She'd grown up, you know, classically trained ballet dancer, was kind of supposed to be kind of one of the next big things. But with that world came a lot of struggles with body image, a lot of bullying, and it just kind of, it really hurt her, really damaged her. And not to say that that's, you know, the case with every you know, aspect of that world. But for her, that was her experience.

    And when she got involved, engaged with our advanced rec program, she fell in love with climbing. Climbing was like her thing. And she found this incredible release. Like sometimes she'd be climbing and she'd just start screaming, not because she was challenged by the climb or that she was afraid, but she just was able to just let out this incredible amount of anger and fear and whatever else was going on with her. She'd get to the top and she'd just scream at the top of her lungs and she would just come down with a big ol smile on her face and someday she'd come down just solemn, not sad, but just like, at peace, really.

    And she really threw herself at climbing and when she left, she ended up moving out to Yosemite. Her parents support her in her dream to buy a van and just kind of live out of her van and climb. And she ended up going from, you know, being, you know, kind of more of a city kid to a full on dirt bag climbing guide. And she's been out in Yosemite now for, yeah, five-ish years, I think roughly somewhere around there. And she guides and she's been out in, in Yosemite for a while now and she's climbed with some amazing climbers, including Alex Honnold. So, it's pretty cool. So that's one of those stories where she found a passion that transformed not just her emotional state, but her entire life. And she found something that she was able to really commit to.

    Tiffany: She found her passion.

    David: She found her passion. On a less, you know, that's kind of an extreme, right, and that's kind of uncommon. But another, and this is so common, like heartbreakingly so, is as a student just this last year, grew up skiing her whole life with her family, some things happened, her life went pear shaped, started going downhill, pushed her family away, didn't want anything to do with skiing. Came to our program, got involved with our advanced rec department. In the wintertime, we ski and snowboard every Saturday is what we do. That's our, really our only focus in our advanced program. And she kind of rediscovered her passion and what she also figured out was, before it was just, it wasn't skiing that was her passion, it was her family that was her passion. She rediscovered that she had actually really loved skiing and that was something that she needed in her life and that helped her bridge the gap in that had formed between her and her parents. And, you know, I just got a picture like a week ago of them skiing at a resort out west. And so it's, you know, it can be everything from these extreme life transformations to, you know, this story of healing and kind of bringing a family back together in the shared experience...

    Tiffany: Which is an extreme transformation in it's own way.

    David: It is, in a completely different way, right. Yeah. And that is a very common story. Is there something about skiing that just seems to consistently bring families together? I mean, both my kids ski, and it's one of those things that, like, no matter what, we always are looking forward to our weekends, you know, our Sundays skiing as a family. And so that's a story that I really like. Those are two stories I really like to tell of like how the shared passion has brought families back together and how it's also completely changed the way that people live their lives..

    Tiffany: I love those stories. Thank you so much for sharing them with me. I don't know. I just want to share just a brief little vulnerable story myself with skiing. I'm divorced. I have two kids and we actually go skiing a couple times a year as a family with their dad cause my current husband doesn't ski. He has a busy season and he's a totally fine with it, but my kids look forward to it and see that we're a unified family no matter what. And it's something that we share together that's, like you said, brings families together. It's really beautiful.

    So, I mean, again, the point is that these type of experiential therapy activities, adventure, outdoor recreation, it's so powerful. As a therapist, it can take what you're talking about in therapy to a whole new level. It can help clients gain further insight, like you said, further healing, connection.

    David: For anyone that is, you know, hearing this and it really connects to, the, if this conversation seems inaccessible or beyond your reach, it, it's probably a lot closer than you think. You don't have to be on the top of the mountain. You don't have to be on this epic adventure. You don't have to be a seasoned guide or whatever. But getting outside by yourself and with the people in your life is probably the most surefire way to find connection and coming into it with, with no expectation so that you can really experience, you know, kind of the wonderful indifference of the outdoors. It's it's, it's there. And so, yeah.


    Tiffany: David, thank you so much for coming on this episode and sharing with us your passion. I can definitely tell you're passionate about this topic. It makes me excited. Just to get outside and outdoors and do more things like this. I didn't always grow up with a family that was very outdoorsy, but as I've gotten older, I've learned the value and enjoyed taking some of these risks and putting myself out there, that's uncomfortable and challenging myself. And I can say that it's been so beneficial in my own life. So like you said to our listeners, it's it's closer than you think. So there's ways to find it in your life, if you're missing it.
    And for our listeners, most likely you're looking for avenues to help your, your teenager or someone you care about who is not benefiting from talk therapy and they need more in their lives. They need that next step. This may be an avenue for them. So thank you so much.

    David: Absolutely.

    Tiffany: In our next episode, please stay tuned, we're going to be talking about performance art therapy and how it can also be beneficial and continue our episodes on learning more about experiential therapy. So thank you so much for joining us.