Adventure Therapy is a distinct form of psychotherapy that is an action-centered approach to treatment and encourages the participants to become mentally and physically engaged in the activity at hand. It draws from a mixture of learning and psychological theories. Adventure therapy became prominent in the 1960s and is reported to have positive outcomes on the improvement of self-esteem, trust behavior, social behavior and help seeking behavior.
Typically adventure therapy uses outdoor activities that involve physical and emotional challenges that involve risk. It is often conducted in a group but can be individualized as well. Adventure therapy and wilderness therapy programs are not the same thing. Adventure therapies include programs that consist of challenges, ordeals, and other action therapies from which the participants learn directly through the experience. They can be both recreational and therapeutic while wilderness therapy programs are primarily geared toward and work with youth.
Some examples of adventure therapy include:
- Trust building activities
- Problem solving activities
- Cooperative tasks and games
- Rock climbing
- Ropes courses
Often use therapy, medication or a combination of both approaches to successfully treat patients.