Unlike traditional residential treatment that conducts all of its services inside the confines of four walls, Strong Hope fully embraces the principles of adventure therapy. Going back to the 1960s, a variety of learning and psychological theories have contributed to the complex theoretical combination within adventure therapy. The underlying philosophy largely refers to experiential education. Existing research in adventure therapy reports positive outcomes in effectively improving self-concept and self-esteem, help-seeking behaviour, increased mutual aid, pro-social behaviour, trust behaviour and more.
Notwithstanding, this coming into treatment should not been seen as a punishment. For many of our clients the thought of recovery and abstinence is a foreboding picture that means for many they can never have fun again – never laugh, never smile and never experience a rush of excitement. Through our escorted adventure excursions and external activities clients will learn that they can have all of these but without the negative effects of substances.
In this respect we provide a number of water based activities such as kayaking, paddle boarding, snorkelling and jet skiing as well as other land based activities such as tennis, horse riding, karting, golf, caving etc. as well as visiting some of Barbados’s sites of interest. We can also provide several experiential workshops such as Batik making. Here are just some of the experiences our clients can access:
Strong Hope uses its personally selected boat and captain to ensure our clients’ confidentiality is not compromised and as such it will only be Strong Hope’s clients on every trip. Barbados’s blue, crystal clear waters are perfect for snorkelling, with visibility between 40 and 70 feet for most of the year. The calm waters are perfect for snorkelling, so clients don’t have to go far beneath the waves to explore the amazing ocean terrain that is home to unique ocean life such as coral reefs, sponges and an amazing array of tropical fish species.
There is something quite special for our clients in powering themselves in a kayak across the beautiful tropical waters of Barbados. For those new to kayaking and who want to experience this adventure on calm waters the west coast is ideal. For the more experienced, we would venture to the south coast where the waves and current are more pronounced. All participants must be good swimmers and physically fit enough to get in and out of kayaks, but our personally selected instructor will provide all with a short introduction to kayaking and water safety and will accompany all clients on the water.
Thanks to the calmness of the waters Barbados is one of the best places clients can learn or practice paddle boarding and, with access to a number of secluded private beaches, it also is very secure. Our personal instructors will provide all clients with a board appropriate to their ability. For those new to paddle boarding, the instructor will always start with the basics on land until the client is comfortable before moving the lesson to the water. Paddle boarding is great fun, but it also improves a client’s balance and stamina and strengthens their muscles… especially their core.
Coming into treatment should not be seen as a punishment – which is how it might seem to many clients who have forgotten how to enjoy non-substance misuse related highs or have been so locked into their mood disorder that they have not experienced excitement for months, sometimes years. According to the Association for Experiential Education, the foundational concepts of adventure therapy are based on the principles of experiential education; the value of action, hands-on engagement and, from Strong Hope’s perspective, putting some natural non-substance use related excitement back into clients’ lives that they can carry on post discharge. Adventure activities such as jet skiing fall right into this category because the activity is fun and engaging and offers a break from negative and inhibitive thinking – and as a consequence the clients’ resistance to change is diminished.
Jet Skiing is one of the most exciting ways to explore the South & West Coasts of Barbados. All equipment is well maintained and our instructors are licensed to drive and instruct on the use of personal watercraft. Life vests and instruction will be given to all our clients whether they are new or experienced. Although our instructor will always escort our clients on the water there are options for those less confident/experienced to ride with the instructor on a 2-seat personal watercraft.
As all golfers know, a game of golf is both mentally stimulating and physically challenging. Golf may not be considered a physically demanding sport but one round will mean clients are outside and moving around for several hours at a time and constantly using their brains trying to pitch themselves against the course. Golf has many recognised mind and body benefits:
Heart health – any form of physical exercise helps get the blood pumping to the heart. Walking, carrying the golf bag and swinging will all increase the heart rate and blood flow. Evidence suggests that playing gold reduces the risk of a stroke and diabetes and there can also be positive effects on reducing blood pressure and harmful cholesterol.
Brain stimulation – regular daily walking strengthens the brain’s memory circuits.
Reduces stress – the pleasure of walking in fresh air, socialising, with an added mental challenge means golf releases endorphins, the natural mood-enhancing chemicals in the brain.
Improved sleep – exercise and fresh air are a powerful combination for improved sleep. Walking the course will give clients a good workout without the rigours of the gym. Regular exercise helps in terms of sleep hygiene helping clients to sleep faster and remain in a deep sleep for longer. Sleep helps your muscles rest and repair.
With glorious weather and stunning landscapes, Barbados is an ideal venue for nine or eighteen holes. With four great courses at The Royal Westmoreland Golf Club, The Country Club at Sandy Lane, Apes Hill Club and The Green Monkey at Sandy Lane and club hire on site our clients are spoilt for choice.
With the advantage of the weather Barbados is an ideal place to hike. Using one of Strong Hope’s appointed first aid-trained guides we can take clients through cane fields, gullies, tropical forests and coastal paths to explore the unique geological and social structure of Barbados. Most hikes last a couple of hours and would be considered easy/medium in terms of difficulty. As with any hike, loose clothing, comfortable hiking boots/sports shoes and a hat are recommended and as such we advise all clients to pack these. Strong Hope will provide a range of sunscreen and refreshments on all hikes.
For those less inclined to hiking but still looking to get out into some of the natural beauty of Barbados, a trail ride or a scenic ride along the beach may be an option that clients want to explore. The east coast of Barbados is ideal for horse riding, with scenic views, miles of coastline and cooling trade wind breezes. The west coast offers more tranquil, but equally beautiful beaches.
A horse ride through the Barbados countryside shows off the lush tropical beauty of the island and takes clients to spots that are unable to be accessed by car. Riders are likely to spot some mongoose or green monkeys along the way as they trek through lush vegetation or explore the magnificent scenery along the beach.
Strong Hope uses only qualified instructors who can work with clients at whatever level of experience.
With no natural lakes or rivers in Barbados Strong Hope has access to a private charter for a sea fishing experience. Fishing is a great way for clients to recharge their mind and body and help restore qualities that are rare in our client group, such as patience and delayed gratification.
Discovery Channel contributor Susan Sherwood said, “Technology is reducing our wait, removing the need for patience”. Fishing is a hobby that can cultivate patience and the appreciation of the rewards of waiting. With so much instant gratification available with smart phones, tablets and e-mails there is no allure to waiting patiently for anything to happen, and that includes catching fish. Waiting around and dedicating time and energy when there is no guaranteed payoff is not the preferred activity for many clients with addiction. M.J. Ryan, the author of “The Power of Patience”, explains that learning patience benefits health. Impatience causes stress, weakening the immune system and raises blood pressure. Patience, meanwhile, makes individuals calmer and more content.
A 2011 Australian study identified recreational fishing as a legitimate, cost-effective form of therapeutic activity for people struggling with behavioural issues such as addiction. Some of the findings are below:
Strong hope has its own private tennis court and can supply rackets and balls. For those that want to improve on their game Strong Hope has access to a range of trained coaches who are vetted, discreet and whose integrity assure total confidentiality. Due to the temperature, lessons usually last no more than an hour.
We treat all enquiries with the utmost confidentiality. If you would like to speak in strictest confidence to a member of our team, please call or e-mail us at the contact details below.