What Is Adventure Therapy?

Adventure therapy is a type of psychotherapy that originated in the 1960s. This therapy is a combination of nature, community, and daring tasks. The goal of adventure therapy is to improve the client’s physical, social, spiritual, and psychological well-being through the healing powers of wilderness with the help of evidence-based, experiential therapy, wilderness expeditions, and recreational activities. 

Adventure therapy can be used for groups, individuals, and families in order to overcome their behavioral issues, substance use disorder, or various other mental health concerns. It is a highly effective method and therapists seek to actively stimulate the client with various activities and tools. 

Adventure therapy works by promoting rehabilitation, growth, development, and enhancement of an individual’s social, physical, and mental well-being. This is achieved by the application of structured activities involving direct experiences. Adventure therapy includes the use of activities from traditional therapy. It is conducted in a group or as a family and the environment is the key element in it. It uses the environment by utilizing experiences and action with cooperative games, trust, problem-solving initiatives, and high adventure. After every session debriefing is done which is important as individuals discuss their experiences. This is important as facilitators help the participant internalize the experience and relate it to the therapeutic goals. 

It is often observed that adventure therapy is often confused with wilderness therapy. Wilderness therapy is a part of adventure therapy that uses only weather and landscape. Adventure therapy adopts man-made obstacles whereas in wilderness therapy the main focus is adaptability and endurance which are different from the emotions and physical challenges of adventure therapy. Wilderness therapy also includes some threats and risks as well as different strategies and treatments. 

Benefits Of Adventure Therapy

  • This therapy is a more powerful treatment approach to anxiety, depression, grief, and eating disorders. 
  • This therapy can be an exciting and productive element of the relationship and family therapy
  • It is beneficial for the treatment of schizophrenia
  • This therapy can be used with adolescents, young adults, and individuals with various mental health concerns. 

Adventure therapy is useful in teaching the client the importance of mindfulness, and the major aim of the therapy is to connect the client's life experiences with their current outdoor activities. Clients gain a new sense of confidence which improves their social skills. They become more independent and adventure therapy offers them flexibility and growth while being active. The therapist is involved in the client's goal-oriented decision-making process supporting and centering groups’ experience.

More Uses Of Adventure Therapy

  • It encourages and promotes a sense of responsibility
  • It helps in building positive relationships and develops a skill of cooperation with others.
  • Helps in acquiring positive social skills like communication and conflict resolution
  • Helps and encourages openness and emotional discovery
  • It improves self-esteem and behavioral functioning. 


Adventure therapy incorporates the healing powers of nature but it is not necessary that it refers to participating in adventure activities. It involves applying emotionally and physically challenging activities toward cognitive and behavioral therapeutic goals.


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