Support Our Adventure Therapy Center for Trauma Recovery
The traumatic events that occurred on October 7th have profoundly affected us all. We were faced with harrowing incidents of murder, egregious violations of trust, and a palpable presence of malevolence, challenges so intense they undermined the very foundations of our trust and exposed us to immense danger. Some among us are left in need, grieving the irreplaceable loss of family and friends, while others remain in anguish, unaware of the fate of their loved ones taken by Hamas, holding onto the hope for their safe homecoming.
Irrespective of our direct exposure to these events, we, as a nation, have suffered a deep wound to our collective psyche, experiencing a loss of trust alongside an overwhelming feeling of instability and confusion—emotions that undoubtedly will have a lasting impact on us all.
Confronted with this dire circumstance, it is incumbent upon us to seek out and implement solutions that will alleviate the suffering of those plagued by trauma and anxiety, to prevent these immediate reactions from evolving into chronic post-traumatic stress.
We acknowledge the limitations of the state; despite its eagerness to support its citizens, it cannot always address the needs of all those grappling with such profound challenges. Regrettably, there are those who do not receive the necessary intervention in time, and the consequences can be irreversible.
Our goal is to foster a sanctuary for recovery, a place where individuals can embark on a journey of emotional healing, rekindle their inner strength, and reclaim hope during these trying times. This sanctuary would be a beacon, especially for envisioning a future where peace is restored, lives are rebuilt, and individuals can access the resources needed for self-care and incremental healing.
Research has consistently highlighted the unique and powerful benefits of experiential therapies like adventure and nature therapy, as well as the therapeutic impact of group support. These modalities create a nurturing environment conducive to personal growth and healing, ensuring that trauma is addressed before it can progress to a more debilitating state, and providing a framework for reprocessing and recovering from past traumatic events.
To support this endeavor, we possess both the infrastructure and a serene expanse of land in Achi, a peaceful village in Georgia. Achi is conveniently located near Batumi, a major city just a mere two-hour flight from Israel. Our ownership extends to 1.5 acres of land in Achi, where we have initiated construction and enhancements to accommodate such groups.
To ensure the facilities are fully equipped to host these groups, we need to construct some extra huts and enhance the shared spaces. We are on track to complete these upgrades by April, with the aim of
welcoming groups starting from April or May 2024.
Initially, we will have the capacity to accommodate a group of 10 to 15 individuals. Eventually, we aim to expand our capabilities to host two groups simultaneously.
These programs will be entirely funded or provided at a subsidized cost to ensure that all participants can attend. This includes members of the military, police forces, special units, and civilians, encompassing entire villages, kibbutzim, families, and teenagers.
Adventure therapy, also known as wilderness therapy, is a form of psychotherapy that uses experiential activities, often in an outdoor setting, to provide mental health treatment. It can involve a range of activities including hiking, rock climbing, camping, and canoeing. The aim is to help individuals face challenges and take on problem-solving tasks within a natural environment, which can facilitate personal growth, self-discovery, and the development of social skills.
As for the benefits of adventure therapy on trauma and post-trauma, there are several research studies that have explored this area. Below is a summary of the type of findings that have been reported in the literature up to my last update in April 2023:
1. Improvement in Self-Efficacy and Empowerment:
Studies have found that participants in adventure therapy programs often report increased self-efficacy, which is the belief in one's ability to succeed in specific situations. This is especially relevant for trauma survivors who may feel a loss of control over their lives.
2. Enhanced Coping Strategies:
Adventure therapy can promote the development of adaptive coping strategies. By dealing with challenges in a controlled, supportive environment, individuals can learn new ways of handling stress and trauma-related symptoms.
3. Reduction in Symptoms of PTSD and Anxiety:
There is evidence to suggest that engagement in adventure therapy can reduce symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anxiety. The physical activity combined with therapeutic support can be particularly effective.
4. Building Trust and Social Skills:
Trauma can often lead to difficulties in trusting others and social withdrawal. Adventure therapy's group dynamics can help participants build trust and improve their interpersonal skills.
5. Experiential Engagement and Emotional Processing:
The experiential nature of adventure therapy allows for emotional processing in real-time, which can be beneficial for those who have experienced trauma. Engaging in physical tasks can sometimes provide a pathway to access and process difficult emotions.
6. Nature's Role in Healing:
There is a growing body of evidence supporting the concept of "eco-therapy," which suggests that exposure to nature can have calming and restorative effects, aiding in the recovery from trauma.
Ronen Maital, 51, has had several careers. He served as Chief Engineer on
an Israeli Navy missile boat, the Keshet, 1993-1996, and helped engineer its
upgrading. He has a B.F.A. degree in industrial design from Massachusetts
College of Art, and an MA in industrial design from Technion. He is an NLP
(neurological linguistic processing) practitioner, level 1, and graduate of the
Wingate program XCOOL in experiential and outdoor learning facilitation.
He has extensive experience in healing programs: “Momentum” nature
expeditions for IDF combatants, preparing them for discharge; Experiential
learning facilitator, specializing in outdoor management development; Govt.
of Israel senior project manager (design,
engineering, implementation, and R&D
He designed and built Israel’s leading escape rooms, which continue to
earn top ratings.
He lives in Tel Mond with his wife Merav, in a refurbished house that he
largely rebuilt himself. He has four children.
To mark his 50 th birthday, Ronen cycled for 1,000 kms. through Balkan
countries with his son Tal, to complete his lifetime visits to 50 countries.
Merav Niram founded the BeYOU Center for Innovation, Personal and
Organizational Development. She has a BA in Psychology, is a graduate of group leadership (Points of You), Wingate program for
adventure therapy, and is a Master Practitioner of NLP (neurological linguistic processing).
She has led programs such as: for combat soldiers prior to
discharge, “Momentum”, emotional processing of traumatic experiences;
BeYOU workshops for training trainers, therapists, and organizational
consultants; workshops for team-building, cohesion, and leadership development;outdoor training programs;personal development 3-day seminars; and others.
She is a computer systems expert, managed systems at Tel Hashomer (1993-95), and for EMC and startups, has for 20 years held a variety of positions (programmer, QA team head, backup and restoration advisor).
She jointly owns a series of escape rooms, with Ronen Maital,
which she helped design, and prepared a research study on
parent-child collaboration in escape rooms.