"B has matured, almost beyond recognition. He is confident, resourceful and capable. He is more organised than I could possibly have imagined he could be. He is thoughtful, kind and considerate of others. He is curious about the world around him, the people he meets and the situations he encounters. He is respectful of the host families he stays with and committed to the work that he is doing.
He has a plan. He has drive, he has I believe the commitment and dedication needed to make a success – if not of this initial plan (because there are many logistical unknowns at the moment) then of another..."
MW (Doctor, London), Mother of B – 18 yrs old
What differences do you see in your child now?
"The anger that was there before has gone. He has had the opportunity and guidance to work through why he felt how he did and appears to be calmer and more settled in himself. He takes greater consideration in his responses now as opposed to a knee jerk reaction."
What would you say to parent’s encouraging a child to attend?
"Do it! You will have no regrets - nothing to lose and everything to gain."
CW (London), Parent of T – 15yrs old
Exploring adventure therapy as an early intervention for struggling adolescents
This paper presents an account of a research project that explored the experiences of adolescents struggling with behavioural and emotional issues, who participated in a 14-day adventure therapy program in Australia referred to by the pseudonym, ”Onward Adventures.” All participants of this program over the age of 16 who completed within the last two years were asked to complete a survey. Additionally, the parents of these participants were invited to complete a similar survey. The qualitative surveys were designed to question participants’ and parents’ perceptions of the program (pre- and post-), the relationships (therapeutic alliance) built with program therapists, follow-up support, and outcomes of the program. Both participants and parents reported strong relationships with program leaders, stressed the importance of effective follow-up services, and perceived positive outcomes when it came to self-esteem and social skills, seeing comparable improvement in self-concept, overall behaviour, and coping skills.
Will Dobud, MSW, Charles Sturt University
Journal of Outdoor and Enviornmental Education
The Role of Nature in Coping with Psycho-Physiological Stress: A Literature Review on Restorativeness
Physical settings can play a role in coping with stress; in particular experimental research has found strong evidence between exposure to natural environments and recovery from physiological stress and mental fatigue, giving support to both Stress Recovery Theory and Attention Restoration Theory. In fact, exposure to natural environments protects people against the impact of environmental stressors and offer physiological, emotional and attention restoration more so than urban environments. Natural places that allow the renewal of personal adaptive resources to meet the demands of everyday life are called restorative environments. Natural environments elicit greater calming responses than urban environments, and in relation to their vision there is a general reduction of physiological symptoms of stress. Exposure to natural scenes mediates the negative effects of stress reducing the negative mood state and above all enhancing positive emotions. Moreover, one can recover the decrease of cognitive performance associated with stress, especially reflected in attention tasks, through the salutary effect of viewing nature. Giving the many benefits of contact with nature, plans for urban environments should attend to restorativeness.
Rita Berto, University of Verona
Journal of Behavioural Sciences
Back To Nature
A growing field of outdoor and adventure therapy practices connects individuals to the healing benefits of nature. But are we doing enough inside the therapy room to address the impact of environmental issues on mental health?
Exploring How the Wilderness Therapy Process Relates to Outcomes
Wilderness therapy is seen as a treatment option for seriously troubled adolescents not being reached by traditional forms of treatment. The research shows that wilderness therapy can improve self-perceptions, increase social adjustment, and reduce recidivism of adolescent participants. However, research on wilderness therapy has not been specific in describing how presenting problems are assessed by wilderness therapy and how therapeutic approaches relate to target outcomes. This article examines the wilderness therapy process in context to illustrate how the process related to specific outcomes for four client case studies in four wilderness therapy programs.
Keith C. Russell
The Journal of Experiential Education