Opinion & Essays
- Oct, 1996 Issue #42
An Intimate Guided Journey Into Self Discovery
by: Doug Sabo,
Adventure Based Counselor,
I would like to thank those of you who participated in the wilderness survey
last winter (Woodbury Reports, Feb. 96, #38). The results are available on the world wide web at www.woodbury.com
and are published in this edition. Some of the comments consistently reported were the need for follow up or transition work with
children once they have completed a program.
I would like to share with you an experience I had with a teenager following
his 26 day wilderness assessment program. It was a unique one on one experience. Last spring, a teenager from New Jersey and I began
a 10 day back country ski trek into the rocky mountains of Montana. The days were filled with both silent and verbal reflection of
his past 26 days and his home life. He was able to see how he entered a program “stuck” and chose to stay “stuck”. Like most teenagers,
he had a difficult time focusing on himself in a group. It was more important to him to gain acceptance from his peers. He realized
he had not taken a serious look at himself.
This young man needed more intervention. A one on one experience is what
helped him see clearly his situation for the first time. I asked him to share with me some of his memories as a child. “Go back as
far as you can remember,” I said. As he spoke, he discovered some things about his past that were limiting him. After a few days on
the trail with no image to uphold and nothing to prove to his peers, this young man began to unfold some of his pain. There was no
peer pressure: no mask to hide behind. He began to unveil an understanding of the effects of negative peer influences in his life.
More importantly, he was able to make the connection between his thinking, his feelings and his behaviors, and how the choices he
made affected him and his family.
The young man’s mother and father arrived after flying 3000 miles to attend
a family session. They had not seen their son for over 40 days. This emotional reunion was a time of sharing new insights and a plan
for a new direction. After the teenager enrolled in a transition program and the family readjusted, I received the following message
in a letter from his parents.
“Thank you for the gift of yourself, your support and your insight which
you so readily shared with (our son).... My mind is still boggled when I think that you were a man who came into my son’s life for
ten days, made a profound impression on his life, helped him to share his innermost thoughts.... Our son is doing well.... I will
continue to think of you, of how you let our son come into your life, and how you helped him find his heart again.”
This one on one intervention provided this teenager with an opportunity to
take an intimate look at himself without the distractions and influences of peer pressure. This journey into self discovery helped
empower this teenager to make healthy choices and to reconnect with his family. As a professional adventure based counselor, my services
are offered to a variety of programs. I work directly with children and their families, providing interventions which foster healthy
change. For more information about SOLTREKS or comments on this article, please contact me by either phone or e-mail.
Copyright © 1996, Woodbury Reports, Inc. (This article may be reproduced
without prior approval if the copyright notice and proper publication and author attribution accompanies the copy.)