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Adventure Therapy

Adventure therapy uses outdoor activities to create challenging situations for its participants. Pursuits such as rock-climbing, canoeing and parasailing are intended to provide a sense of risk in a controlled environment. Practitioners believe that such environments encourage behavioural changes that can be transferred to everyday life.

History of Adventure Therapy

The approach can be traced back to the Outward Bound Program, which was founded by Kurt Hahn in 1940. It was intended to improve young people’s confidence and self-esteem through mental and physical excursion. The Project Adventure Program of the 1970s was an advancement of the OB concept and was a major influence.


Adventure-based therapy derives from a strand of theories collectively known as experiential education/experiential learning. Students learn through genuine experiences that provide benefits and consequences. Self-reflection is a key component of this approach, helping participants to develop new skills and attitudes that can resolve issues. Experiential learning has its roots in Constructivist theory

How can Adventure Therapy help?

Adventure therapy, also known as Wilderness therapy is often used to help disaffected young people develop better social skills and improve self-esteem. It is effective at improving communication skills and building trust between individuals and groups.

The counselling approach is used extensively with adolescents, especially those experiencing problems like depression and anxiety. It is also useful for addressing trust issues within families.

Useful Adventure Therapy Resources

The Association for Experiential Education