Kids learn about how to get a reaction from a very early age. We’ve all seen a toddler screaming about not getting a treat or a toy they’ve seen. They throw a temper tantrum and then hopefully get their way. Well this form of behavior is not restricted to little children. Teenagers are perfectly capable of carrying on in this manner as well. And when that teenager has troubles, problems which can be quite serious, then you have a teen in need.
Wilderness camps are so-called because they are located in the wilderness. They are set up for teens in trouble and the therapy programs hopefully give the teens a chance to work through their angst and turn their lives around. But one policy in some wilderness camps is to use the no-resistance tactic.
Many troubled teens have a lot of anger and frustration inside. It doesn’t matter where they go, their troubles go with them. And even if the setting of the wilderness camp is beautiful and peaceful, the troubled teen is still ready to fight. So the staff uses the no-resistance tactic. They don’t fight back. A teen shouts abuse at a camp leader who responds by ignoring the belligerent teen. Or maybe the member of staff, smiles, shrugs, says “Whatever” and simply moves on. This is not what the teen is expecting. An adult shouting back is often the norm. To not get a reaction is bewildering for the teen.
Now a wilderness camp will often have a week or fortnight trek where the teens and staff go away from the base and camp in the wilderness. The no-resistance policy works exceptionally well in these situations. The troubled teen refuses to follow orders. Fair enough. The staff does not berate and threaten the teen. The party moves on and the angry teen is suddenly left behind missing out on a fine meal and the creature comforts found at the next camp site. The teen learns quickly.
Wilderness therapy is a brilliant way to help remove the anger from the kids on camp. They want confrontation. They thrive on being angry and resisting authority. When there is no response and no barking of orders, the teens are confused. How can they fight if no-one will fight back? It is this strategy which is used to wean the troubled teens away from their hate and anger. Slowly but surely they stop being aggressive and start to listen. In turn they get the chance to talk about their troubles and strangely [for the teen] they are listened to and not interrupted.
This tactic is fully explained to the parents of the kids in camp. It is vital that families know how their child is being counseled. This means that the same response can be used when the teen returns home. Hopefully by then the teen will have overcome most if not all of their problems.
It may sound an unusual way to deal with young people but it is a method which works and works well. The no-resistance therapy can help change the lives of troubled teens.