Outdoor Education R&E Center

Adventure Therapy &
Wilderness/Nature Therapy

James Neill
Last updated:
30 May 2013

Adventure Therapy

International Adventure Therapy Conferences

Psychological Therapy Links

What's New?

  • 6th International Adventure Therapy Conference
    (Sept 2012, Czech Republic)
  • The 6IATC was help 26-30 September 2012. The conference examined key issues in developing an innovative and ethical profession including international trends, culturally diverse practice, professional standards and ethics, strategies for collaborative practice, research evidence and research agenda, and future strategic initiatives.

  • Ecotherapy: The green agenda for mental health
    (Mind week report, May, 2007)
  • Mind calls for a new green agenda for mental health, following growing evidence in support of an accessible, cost-effective and natural addition to existing treatment options - ecotherapy.

  • Investigation of wilderness therapy, adventure therapy & experiential education practices in Europe, UK & USA
    (Paul Stolz, 2002, Report for Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, Australia; .pdf)
  • An Australian report on wilderness and adventure therapy practices in the US, UK and Europe, based on site visits including the 2nd International Adventure Therapy Conference (Germany), Youth Intensive Program (Austria), Brathay Training Centre (UK), REAL School (USA), and Catherine Freer (USA). Provides insightful comparative detail and comment on international understandings and practices in adventure therapy.

  • Adventure therapy: State of the profession
    (Lee Gillis, 2005, 4-6 February, 2005, Keynote address to the AEE Therapeutic Adventure Professional Group, USA)

    Gillis offers a critical, historical, and solution-focused view of the current state of the adventure therapy profession, suggesting it will need to foster research and theory in particular, in order to survive and thrive.

  • Adventure therapy helps mentally ill teenagers
    Mick Bunworth, 6 December, 2004, TV Program Transcript, ABC Online, Australia)

    The benefits of pushing body and soul to the limit in adventurous activities has, for some time now, been considered a healthy tonic for the pressures of a busy life.  But a clinical psychologist with a passion for the outdoors has found those benefits now extend to the treatment of teenagers suffering mental illness.  It's called Adventure Therapy and in some cases it's replacing prescription drugs and counselling.

  • Treatment effectiveness of Wilderness Adventure Therapy: Summary findings
    (Simon Crisp & Cindi Hinch, 2004, YouthPsych Consulting Australia; [27 pages; zip/pdf])

    Describes a 10-week part-time adolescent clinical treatment model.  The program applies a "social-emotion competency and coping skill framework to group based adventure experiences that are implemented in the field by a psychologist".  Summary research results based on Achenbach's Youth Self Report, including 3 month and 2 year followups with 39 adolescent outpatients, suggesting similar efficacy to pharmacological treatment of depression plus a range of other therapeutic and protective benefits, including improved self-esteem. The study also reports positive participant ratings and feedback on the program.

  • Working with substance abusing adolescents through Project Adventure
    (Lee Gillis & Cindy Simpson, 1994, Addictions Looseleaf Notebook)

    Gillis and Simpson's article is now a classic in the annals of adventure therapy.  It is the clearest and most comprehensive description of how adventure-based counseling (ABC) can be used for treating drug-addiction problems in youth.  The article outlines an ABC process with details of specific activities to stimulate ideas about how experiential adventure programming can help to facilitate positive insight and positive action for youth and families struggling with drug-abuse.

  • Family adventure therapy: Overview, theory & research
    (James Neill, Outdoor Education Research & Evaluation Center, April, 2004)
  • Youth programs cut crime, costs
    (DeAngelis, 2003, American Psychological Association Monitor, 34(7))
  • Outdoor Behavioral Health Research Council launches research study