Activity Based Coaching & Therapy

A Conduit to Relationship Development

Farmers Market and Ocean Cliff Walk - San Francisco Activity

How Wonder Coach, Laurel Marks, utilizes activity in her therapeutic work: “Working in Northern California, I am lucky to be surrounded by beautiful nature. One of my favorite activities to do with clients blends both social emotional learning, interpersonal skills, and contemplative time spent in nature. First I head to the weekly farmer’s market with my client where we sample fresh fruits and produce, engage in brief, friendly and low-stakes conversations with vendors, practice decision-making skills and financial planning tools (Should we get a pupusa or a smoothie? What can we afford to buy today?), and witness and partake in various forms of interpersonal interactions and community engagement. After, delicious snack in hand, we head to a hike up to the ocean cliffs overlooking the sparkling Pacific waves and enjoy some contemplative, meditative time in nature. My favorite cliff hike even has a spiral made from stones overlooking the ocean so I am able to engage my clients in a meditative, intention-setting practice that evokes spiraling inward to explore their inner emotional state. Often we are climbing down from the cliffs just as the sun is setting and it is truly an incredible, awe-inspiring way to connect with the beauty and rhythms of nature while discussing whatever is coming up for the client in the moment.”

Why Change the Dynamic of Traditional Talk Therapy?

Many of our clients express that while traditional talk therapy was initially helpful, it has limitations and their child no longer engages. Getting their child to go to a session often becomes such a battle, on top of all the other battles, that disengagement and therapy fatigue becomes the norm. That’s why Wonder opts for another pathway to connection with kids.

“Experiential therapy” has many forms but for us it is an Activities Based Approach to therapy that enables clients to experience themselves in various types of situations or interactions in the real world, whether at home or in the community. This allows our clinical team to engage with kids in the moment struggles arise in real time. Our team utilizes a heightened type of attunement because there are many more factors affecting kids in the real world. We see the subtle moments kids engage in relationship and work from there.

Many young people benefit from this type of therapy because it encourages curiosity and openness to emotional experiences. An understanding of how different contexts and activities evoke different behavior patterns in each of us allows individuals to chose from a broader range of more adaptive options.

We often use activities, such as hiking, rock climbing, art work, or other types of play to foster connection and trust in the therapeutic relationship. Our clinicians meet with clients in the community and in-home to help them explore their environment with a receptive and more confident approach to living.

From our clients