Wilderness and Adventure Therapy
July 30, 2012 by
Categories: Therapy

Have you ever hear of wilderness therapy?  What about adventure therapy?  Maybe you’ve heard of outdoor behavioral healthcare?  Well, if you’ve heard them all or think I’m talking about giving therapy to the trees, there is actually a type of therapy that is experiential-based and often uses nature as a tool for change.  This is a type of therapy with many aliases.  It gets confusing.  I typically refer to the therapy as wilderness therapy or adventure therapy.

The confusion only gets worse though.  Despite the term you choose to use, the definitions of this type of therapy seem to be exponential.  Perhaps this isn’t a bad thing.  Maybe this means that this type of therapy has endless possibilities of what it can look like, the types of interventions used, and where it can take place.

Three of my very favorite research crushes, Michael Gass, Lee Gillis, and Keith Russell, were able to come up with a pretty great definition.  They use the term “adventure therapy” and define it as “the prescriptive use of adventure experiences provided by mental health professionals, often conducted in natural settings that kinesthetically engage clients on cognitive, affective, and behavioral levels” (Gass, Gillis, & Russell, 2012, p. 1).

So what ingredients do we have here?  Adventure, mental health professionals (including Marriage and Family Therapists!), nature, direct participation, physical movement, and not only are your brain and emotions getting a mental workout, but your body is also very much a participant in the process.  To me, this sounds like a recipe for the coolest kind of therapy around!  (Disclaimer: I’m totally bias.)

If this sounds awesome to you or if you feel any tinge of intrigue, I highly recommend that you read a book called “Adventure Therapy: Theory, Research, and Practice” by Gass, Gillis, and Russell (2012).  And yes, my three research crushes just had to one-up themselves and write the most amazing book together.  This book provides a fantastic compilation of what adventure therapy is, how it is used, the research involved, and much much more.

I think it’s pretty cool how you can take something like therapy and put your own spin on how you want to provide it as the therapist.  But more on that later…

You may be interested in...

Recent posts What we blog about
acceptance adventure Change charter for compassion clients coming back compassion Connection coping couples don't give up emotions empathy family fear feelings grief growth happiness healing health human humility inner fight journey life loneliness metaphors mindfulness perspective quote relationship relationships relationship with client sadness self self-growth self-inquiry self acceptance shame sharing stress therapist therapy vulnerability

No Thoughts About Wilderness and Adventure Therapy

Share your thoughts

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *