Authors: Hans van de Graaff, VIC
Event: 2003 TheMHS Conference
Subject: Mental Health in the Outdoors, adventure therapy, out doors inc
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: Some years ago a new participant in one of our outdoor adventure programs said to us: “Thank God you’re not therapists!” This comment is used as a starting point for this presentation, using it as an opportunity to reflect on what it is that we do and why we do it. It is certainly not intended to disparage adventure therapists or therapists in general!
Adventure therapy is gaining greater popularity across Australia and New Zealand. Significant interest for this treatment modality is emerging from within the mental health services field.
The organisation the presenter works for is called Out Doors Inc. (ODI) and is funded to provide a psychosocial rehabilitation program utilising the medium of outdoor adventure education to adults with a psychiatric disability. Conceptually, psychosocial rehabilitation would seem to infer the use of therapy modalities. At ODI we recognise the existence of a number of tensions around the issue of therapy.
The intent of this paper is to explore these tensions and locate adventure therapy within a broader context. It recognises its inherent value as a treatment modality as well as reinforcing the importance and value of outdoor adventure education and outdoor recreation as a medium for promoting mental health.