Surf Therapy for Teens

Sitting in a closed room and talking to a therapist might not always be the most favored option for teenagers suffering from mental health disorders or substance abuse. According to studies, many adolescent patients dread the thought of being counseled in a one-on-one manner as it can be stress inducing, and often makes them feel bombarded. Fortunately, there are several ways to heal, and many of them are fun and carefree treatment activities, like surf therapy.

Understanding Teen Surf Therapy

What is Teen Surf Therapy?

Teen Surf Therapy, generally known as Ocean Therapy, is one of the latest developments in psychotherapy. Initially, this healing method was used to help veterans deal with PTSD, depression, combat stress, trauma, and other life-threatening stress disorders. Over time, other mental health experts discovered relevant uses for this traditional method for teen substance abuse, and symptoms associated with mental health conditions.

As the name suggests, surf therapy uses the tranquility and the beauty of the ocean to alleviate certain conditions such as insomnia, increase self-efficacy, and improve mental concentration among teenagers.
Two smiling teens in wetsuits with surfboards, ready to participate in surf therapy sessions by the ocean
Teens walking with surfboards on the beach, representing the integrative approach of surf therapy at Key Healthcare

What to Expect in Teen Surf Therapy

How Does Teen Surf Therapy Help with Recovery and Healing?

There are a few reasons why medical professionals believe that surfing is an effective treatment activity for teens with mental health and substance abuse issues. First, surfing is fun, exciting, and enjoyable. When teenagers have fun and are carefree about their surroundings, their tension and stress levels significantly drop.
Surfing also helps troubled teens focus their minds on something unconnected with their problems. This positive experience allows them to feel joy. As we all know, water has a healing, soothing effect on our bodies –and usually, there are no plausible explanations as to why –we just feel it deep within.
Furthermore, surfing requires energy, and is considered a tiring sport. Teenagers need to exhaust their physical energy so their bodies long for a good sleep at night. Given that most teens battling mental health symptoms suffer from poor sleep and sleep-related disorders like insomnia, surf therapy can help teens fall asleep soundly without any medication

Teenage Surf Therapy Benefits

Benefits of Teen Surf Therapy

Teen surf therapy proves to be one of the most appealing treatment options for teenagers recovering mental health issues and dual diagnosis addiction. Not only does it promote balance, but it challenges troubled teens to get out of their comfort zones and think outside the box. Apart from these benefits, ocean therapy can also help them with the following aspects:
Teen engaged in art therapy, part of Key Healthcare's extended care for comprehensive recovery


Surfing requires the patient to be in “the present moment.” If they don’t, they won’t be able to stand on the surfboard, less alone maintain their balance. Being mindful is a crucial trait to develop in the healing and recovery process as it helps patients let go of the shame and guilt they’ve acquired from their previous decisions and mistakes.

Teens enjoying a peaceful moment by a lake, representing the calm and healing environment in Key Healthcare's recovery programs


Surfing is undeniably one of the best substance-free alternatives to mental health treatment. Notably, the adrenaline rush that the patient feels while battling with waves helps diminish the cravings for alcohol and other addictive substances.

Smiling mother and daughter embracing, conveying the hope and familial support that is essential in the journey of overcoming teen depression


Teen surf therapy teaches patients how to navigate alone in deep waters and survive, increasing self-reliance and efficacy. When they have successfully developed this skill, there’s a great chance they can also apply it to other areas of their lives.

Teenagers gathered in a group therapy session, engaging in meaningful communication and shared healing experiences


Surf therapy is a great way for teens to bond and connect with others engaging in the activity. This can help teens feel less alone and fee like they are a part of a larger community. Being part of a group also gives adolescents the opportunity to grow their interpersonal skills.

Teen Surf Therapy by Key Healthcare

Teen Surf Therapy in Los Angeles, CA

Key Healthcare provides teen surf therapy in Los Angeles, CA as a part of our teen treatment programs. Teens will participate in group surf therapy sessions to help treat their mental health condition alongside weekly individual therapy. To learn more about our intensive outpatient, partial hospitalization, teens residential treatment, and extended care programs, contact us today.

Two teenagers with surfboards at the beach, ready to enjoy a session of surf therapy

Insurances We Accept

Up to 100% of the Costs Covered by Insurance

Key Healthcare works with a majority of health insurance providers and depending on your plan, 100% of the costs may be covered. Verify your insurance to get more information about your coverage.
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