What is Adventure Therapy?
Adventure Therapy is the use of adventure experiences, typically in nature, to engage a person on cognitive, affective, and behavioral levels. Adventure experiences are used to develop eustress, which is positive stress that happens when we are faced with a fun challenge. Eustress makes us feel good, keeping us motivated and working towards our goals.
Adventure Therapy in the United States started in the 1960s. However, the roots of Adventure Therapy can actually be traced back to the 1800s having derived from camping therapy. The idea of camping therapy led to the introduction of summer camps for kids as well as the use of nature and the environment for healing patients in mental health hospitals. Over the next century, camping therapy eventually evolved into what are today known as Ecotherapy, Adventure and Wilderness Therapies.
Rehab facilities may use adventure therapy as part of a holistic approach to treating the whole person. Adventure therapy has many benefits including providing structure, attainable goals, and a process and means for self-discovery and self-expression.