With the weather getting warmer, our residents are finally able to get outside for alternative forms of therapy. Two forms of therapy that really resonate with our residents (and staff) are Piscatorial Therapy (fishing) and Experiential Therapy (camping). The goal with these forms of therapy is to subject veterans and others who are transitioning through the cycle of poverty and addiction to activities that create healthy habits and replace negative behaviors with pro-social activities. These activities enhance their quality of life, while they enjoy therapeutic activities in a stress-free environment, away from the treatment facility. Being out on the water and at camp also provides the opportunity for our residents to be one with nature. Activities such as fishing, camping and horseback riding help increase morale and builds confidence. These activities provide transferable tools and skills that help with our resident’s transition back to the community.
When a resident first comes to The Baltimore Station, these walls can represent pain. When they come inside, there are people they don’t know, a structure they don’t know, and their clutch of drugs and alcohol is taken away. They are forced to spend time with the person they truly are. Our clinicians’ goal is to help teach them something they are not proficient at and get comfortable in their own skin. The men have weekly group sessions where they talk about these challenges to help gain a life understanding. Once they receive this understanding, the application of these skills will come from the experiences.
Recently our men went fishing in Annapolis, MD. Fishing is a low-impact exercise that provides mental relaxation, social camaraderie and patience. The critical thinking that comes from fishing can help the men alleviate stress and anxiety. Some residents never had the opportunity to experience fishing; this gives them the chance to acquire a transitional skill they did not previously have.
Our men also went to Camp Puh'tok
to do community service by cleaning the grounds for the upcoming YMCA summer camp season for children. Located in picturesque Northern Baltimore County, Camp Puh’tok is a private, non-profit outdoor learning center that provides a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary environmental education program. Pre-Covid in the Spring/Fall timeframe, our residents traditionally take a three-day camping trip here. Our plan is to return this Fall for another trip. A few of the men did not have an interest in going on this trip at first, however after their time at Camp Puh'tok and their experiences working with the horses and other activities, they cannot wait to go back. Piscatorial Therapy and Experiential Therapy are great ways to take an understanding the men learn in groups and apply in real life.