Adventure & Experiential Therapy

Adventure therapy, otherwise known as experiential therapy, has been shown to greatly benefit adolescents in recovery by breaking down some of the barriers associated with typical treatment. Research shows that adolescent males are in general are more likely to benefit from a kinetic or multi-sensory approach. Through a variety of activities, teen boys are able to tap into and address difficult-to-discuss issues, work with their fellow residents and find healthy hobbies that will last a lifetime.

an alternative to traditional therapy

Our 177-acre campus provides the ideal setting for adventure therapy that allows youth to address past, present and future issues in non-traditional ways.

Often, young men struggle to express their feelings in a one-on-one therapeutic setting. They may clam up or decline to participate in traditional therapy. By giving teens the chance to experience new, thrilling activities, we find that they are better able to bond with their peers, open up to counselors and learn to enjoy days without the use of drugs and alcohol.

Here are some of ARCH Academy’s on-campus accommodations for experiential therapy:

expressive art therapy

Ropes Course & Zip Line

Equine Therapy

Weight & Aerobic Workout Room



ARCH Academy also offers a variety of off-campus activities. In addition to attending 12-Step meetings throughout Nashville, it is important that we help our teens integrate with the Middle Tennessee recovery scene in multiple ways. We frequently go hiking, attend sporting events and go canoeing.

We are also able to take adventure of activities on our main Cumberland Heights campus, just a short 15 minute drive from ARCH Academy. There we can visit the pond, disc-golf, wall-climb and take advantage of the full-size gymnasium.


We have found that connection and community are especially beneficial for adolescent recovery. Through service work, residents of ARCH Academy are able to learn more about the people of Nashville, care for their community and find a sense of purpose through volunteerism.

Our community service opportunities include feeding the homeless, planting gardens, maintaining public parks, working with students and more.


The goal of our adventure-based interventions is to allow for alternative interventions for our boys to embrace recovery. ARCH Academy takes advantage of its acres of wooded terrain to facilitate a connection with nature and provide the serenity needed for introspection and connection with others.

It was so encouraging to know that we are not alone. Even though each of our stories is different in terms of how we got to this place, we are all on this same journey of recovery.

ARCH Academy Alumnus

Get help today and rewrite your story

Expressive Art Therapy

Through music-assisted therapy, meditative art therapy, traditional art therapy, and pottery, ARCH teens have an opportunity to express themselves in ways they may not be able to in traditional talk therapy. Research shows music taps regions in the mind that are conducive to treating addiction, including those regulating stress, emotion, cognitive function, and physical pain. ARCH young men will work with our recovery music specialist to experience those healing powers in our music therapy program. They will also work with our art therapist, pottery instructor and meditative arts group facilitator to creatively develop more insight and self-awareness through art.

Ropes Course and Zip Line

ARCH Academy worked with a team of experts to design a ropes course that has low and high ground elements that aid in personal development and team development. This intervention helps teens develop problem solving skills and communication skills that help them face challenging obstacles with encouragement and support. The processing of each activity is heavy in recovery-related metaphors.

Equine Therapy

Our young men are given the opportunity to care for our campus therapy horses Blizzard and A.J., building relationships with the animals to enhance emotional, behavioral, and spiritual growth. Equine therapy has long been used to give adolescents direction, purpose, and resilience. By building a trusting and mutually respectful relationship with the horses, teens can work through challenges with co-occurring disorders such as anxiety, depression and trauma.

Weight and Aerobic Workout Room

The workout room gives the young men an opportunity to release stress and endorphins to regulate mood in a healthy, natural way. Exercise has been described by medical experts as ‘meditation in motion,’ allowing us to refocus our thoughts on our own well-being and forget, at least briefly, all that is going on in our lives.


Teens will learn the basics of fly-fishing while making connections to the natural world and 12-Step concepts.  Nature awards curiosity and exploration when approached with honesty and humility. Fly-fishing is an experience where hope and faith are differentiated. Residents will experience hope as a feeling of excitement to catch a fish and faith as a practice of preparation and knowledge.