Elevate Your Mind Body and Soul
About Hiker Therapy
As someone whom would be considered diagnosed with GAD (General Anxiety Disorder), along with a lifetime of ADHD, for the record I do not condone such diagnostic labels, I very much am a proponent of natural holistic healthy ways such as hiking to self-soothe and manage anxiety.
I’ve also experienced the benefit of having a professionally trained listening ear who can offer active listening skills and unconditional positive regard to gain an understanding of life issues and concerns,
By using this same philosophy for others I have created Hiker Therapy as a way of combining hiking, the calming influences of nature, and my professional training and education as a motivator, life coach, and counselor. This can offer the client a healing environment where symptoms of anxiety and depression are managed, invalid and negative thinking replaced with valid and positive thoughts so that clarity can be achieved, and an awakened state of mind can be obtained.
Hiker Therapy is also very effective for those suffering from PTSD related trauma as well as addiction and recovery issues, such as cravings and triggers for AOD use/abuse/dependance. Click on this link to see how research shows that physical exercise, and being outdoors reduces symptoms of anxiety, depression, grief relief all related to PTSD and AOD issues and concerns.
The hikes I plan for us are done at a length and activity level comfortable to each individual. Hiking trails are conveniently located all around San Diego County. ……By changing the “office” we work in a new dynamic takes place which transforms the individual in a different way Elevating The Mind, Body and Soul.
Please take your time going through the information and material posted here which is formatted so that you may get an idea of who I am and what Hiker Therapy can offer you. My goal is to educate us all on the benefits of Hiking as a Holistic way for mental health healing and repair, addiction recovery and physical fitness well-being .
Mark Lees, M.A., CADC-CAS
My name is Mark Lees and I was born in Detroit, Michigan and moved to San Diego in 1976. I now live in Oceanside, California. I have a son, Sam, age 27, who is a large part of the inspiration for Hiker Therapy and the one who thankfully got me interested in Hiking back in 2012. I have a Masters degree in psychology with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy from Chapman University, as well as a certification from the California Consortium of Addiction Programs and Professionals as an Addiction Recovery Specialist.
I have incorporated Hiker Therapy into numerous counseling employment positions, including my current work with homeless veterans. It never ceases to amaze me the change of attitude and openess my clients experience when we get out of the “office” 4-wall environment and hit the sidewalk, trail, neighborhood we walk/hike in.
For fun and self-care I like to Hike, Gym, meditation and breathing exercises, Starbucks to both energize and relax, see as many MLB and Hockey games as I can, open to all music, and find fun places to eat and play at in San Diego County and beyond.