How Nature Can Enhance Addiction Treatment: Exploring the Great Outdoors in Recovery

The mental health benefits of spending time in nature are abundant. Green spaces and outdoor places have been shown to improve one’s entire perspective, including boosting cognitive abilities, diminishing stress, promoting a more positive mood, increasing a sense of empathy, and reducing the risk of struggling with mental health conditions. 

Nature can be incorporated into addiction treatment through experiential therapy outings guided by trained clinicians. During these outdoor therapeutic sessions, clients can explore, connect, and heal in unique ways. 

Nature and outdoor exploration can enhance addiction recovery by:
  • Opening clients up to new experiences: During a fishing outing, paddle-boarding session, rock-climbing adventure, or a different outdoor recreational activity, clients have the opportunity to practice courage, explore their strengths, and discover new ways to have fun.
  • Allowing for moments of introspection: Often evoking emotions of calm and relaxation, being in nature can distract a person from everyday anxieties and encourage them to turn their attention inward. Through self-reflection, clients can consider their past, present, and future in light of their recovery from substance abuse. 
  • Encouraging open communication: By getting outside of traditional talk therapy sessions whether for a hike, trail run, bike ride, or another nature excursion, individuals are free of any pressure to describe and process their mental and emotional state. Instead, while taking in their surroundings and moving their bodies, they’re able to express themselves whenever and however they feel inclined. 
  • Inspiring an appreciation of the interconnectedness of all things: In addition to moments of internal awareness, time in nature can convey a sense that a person is part of something bigger than oneself, eliciting feelings of awe, humility, and purpose.
  • Processing important healing moments in real-time: With all the chances for self-discovery that nature can present, clients often encounter stages of growth. Therapists are able to help process these instances for integral healing. 


At Wasatch Crest, we believe in the therapeutic benefit of nature experiences in the recovery process. In order to encourage their progress, enthusiasm, and resilience, our clients participate in multiple adventure therapy outings every week. With Utah’s majestic Wasatch Mountain Range as our backyard, the alpine adventure opportunities are endless. To learn more about our adventure-based experiential therapy programming, reach out

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