Have you ever thought about unique ways to do rehabilitation and group therapy? How can our health promotion strategies and interventions challenge societal views of access and ability?
Adventure therapy started over 50 years ago, growing out of the outdoor and wilderness adventure movement of the early 1960’s. It quickly evolved into a mode of practice that made use of natural settings, such as forests and oceans. Adventure therapy is usually based on the principles of experiential education. The adventure activities and associated human interactions are often conducted in groups (Kimball and Bacon, 1993) in which the intervention is based on an integration of principles derived from psychology, sociology, education and other disciplines that form the process of human change and learning (Bandoroff 1992). The goals of each adventure therapy intervention are developed in response to client needs and conducted in ways to maximise therapeutic outcomes for clients. Common goals include re-socialisation, independence, treating substance abuse, social skills training, promoting self-awareness, self-ethicacy, community integration, and improving clients’ management of their own emotional and social lives (Prouty, Panicucci, & Collinson, 2007). By using adaptive equipment designed in collaboration with recreational therapists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, engineers and clients, adventure activities or sports become accessible to clients, challenging societal views on “ability” and “accessibility” in physical activity.
The nature of the adventure activities that are conducted as part of adventure therapy programmes vary widely and may include: walking/hiking expeditions, cycling, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, canoeing, rafting, sailing, and surfing along with group initiatives such as cooperative games, ropes courses, or other activities. Power For All™ provides adaptive kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding along with Zumba group fitness classes for clients residing in the Fraser Valley. Power For All’s purposes are:
- To provide wilderness and adventure experiences for people of all ages and all abilities
- To focus on creating new opportunities for people with cognitive, emotional, social, physical and economical challenges
- To create a supportive environment for participants that enriches quality of life and encourages community involvement and participation, personal development, education and learning
Adventure Therapy is a viable way of delivering rehabilitation, group therapy and health promotion interventions to your clients. We hope that you will consider including this form of therapy as an option in your practice. We will collaborate with you, your treatment team and design a plan that will engage your clients and help them achieve their treatment goals. Through our partnerships with organizations such as Variety Children’s Charity, the Rotary Service Clubs, the Township of Langley and the City of Surrey, we provide accessible programming for all ages, including bursaries to make our programming affordable.
What does the evidence in research tell us about the power of adventure therapy for clients from all walks of life?
Here are a few resources you may find helpful in your practice as you evaluate or justify Adventure Therapy for your clients.
Research literature about Adventure Therapy:
adaptive hiking and occupational therapy
Wilderness Adventure Therapy for At Risk Youth
Summer Camps and Adventure Therapy
Family Crisis and Adventure Therapy
Spinal Cord Injury and Outdoor Experiences
the meaning of sea kayaking for SCI clients
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