November 19, 2010 Marion MacDonald

Mirasol Teens Go Caving!

Adventure therapy is an integral part of Mirasol’s residential eating disorder treatment program, including hiking, camping, and also caving! On November 2, Mirasol clients accompanied by therapists and support staff explored a cave in the mountains near in Tucson.

This is not your grandmother’s cave. There are no lights and no walking path or protective railings. There’s nothing to illuminate your path but a small red flashlight — and the support of those around you.

Mirasol Clinical Director Diane Ryan thinks it’s a great metaphor for treatment.

“This is a place where we really have to help one another,” says Ryan. “There are a lot of places where it’s tight, and there are drops you can’t see, so you need someone to say, ‘put your foot here, put your hand there’. It drives home that message about depending on one another in a really healthy way.”

“There’s always a moment when you’re not sure you’re going to make it out. So we really use all of the things that we learn in treatment about breathing, and trying to relax and clearing our minds, and focusing to get through those tight spots.”

It was an unforgettable experience for one Mirasol client. “We had to learn to depend on one another, and let go of our own selves and learn that we do have limits, but we can trust one another,” she reports.

“The clients really had that spark to be there for one another and to communicate when things were tough and offer help and stay back and give others light in the hand whenever they needed it.”