5 Replies to “Adventure Therapy | AAMC Pathways”

  1. Mark was instrumental in me getting a handle on my destructive behavior and the opportunties available to live a sober life. He is a great teacher and an inspiration to all.

  2. Wow– as a relatively new employee, I did not know that Pathways was providing such innovative and creative therapies. Amazing!

  3. Adventure therapy at Pathways provides so many real life lessons – The one that I hear most is 'how the teamwork gives them the confidence to do things that they never thought they could.'   Way to GO Mark – You provide a priceless element to each clients treatment and journey into recovery.

  4. Absolutely LOVE this promo video! Well done. Outdoor adventure therapy activities and especially those experiences in a natural wilderness environment can be refreshing, relaxing, soothing, exhilarating and even awe-inspiring for our participants. However, for some participants, they can also be extremely challenging, frightening, scary, exhausting (emotionally) and for some 'at-risk' participants – it can be extremely frustrating.

    Whatever their reactions to such experiences, the memories stay in their minds for many years to come. For many of us, a greater feeling of well-being and are more aware of ourselves as a result of such experiences in the natural outdoor environment.

    Now imagine merging such challenges and experiences in nature within a supportive therapeutic environment, led by a trained and experienced therapist and you have what we call ‘therapeutic adventure’.

    There are many therapeutic models suitable for working outdoors using therapy. Therapists might ask the question, “What is the added benefit of doing therapy in nature over working with clients in the comfort of the therapy room?”

    Two Internationally renowned ‘legends’ in the field of wilderness interventions and adventure therapy – Michael Gass and Lee Gillis, answer that question here. They believe that, when done correctly, information from therapeutic adventure can provide a rich assessment of client behaviour.

    They write: “Some of the advantages of adventure experiences include: (a) the combination of ambiguity and stress that coexist in adventure experiences; (b) the increased level of validity in client responses to assessment procedures (eg. clients must ‘walk their talk’); and (c) the ability of therapists to receive appropriate information as well as simultaneously analyse psychological processes and behavioural content.” (Gass & Gillis, 1995, page 36).

    My own personal and professional experience is that therapeutic adventure (particularly in a wilderness environment) can result in dramatic and long-lasting emotional changes that may happen much quicker than within the therapy room alone. But, of course, the therapist needs to think in a very different way when starting to use therapeutic adventure. There are numerous issues of confidentiality and safety to consider, and it is important to assess clients’ needs and make adjustments in the program in order to meet those needs.

    Another important factor of conducting adventure therapy programs I want to see covered WELL in W-AT training programs is "Safety" – both physical safety and also psychological safety – both of which are vital factors to ‘prepare’ for in advance. Just sayin' 🙂

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