ADVENTURE AS THERAPY
Adventure therapy is often referred to as activity-based counselling. However, as a charity, we may work alongside individuals or groups who need nothing more than an opportunity to get outside, in an environment which may not be familiar or natural to them. A chance to interact with family or friends and learn or challenge themselves - whether that is physically, emotionally or a combination of the two.
Therefore one of the greatest things that adventure therapy can provide during an activity is the therapeutic benefits of spending time in the natural world. Whether individuals are joining from urban areas or they live in rural communities, but rarely have the chance to experience nature and embrace the elements.
The things we often take for granted in life, such as going for a walk or hike in the countryside, cycling a forest trail or enjoying activities in the sea, can in itself lift spirits, boost energy levels and help people to gain a new perspective. We are there to help people who may struggle to participate in such activities to overcome the obstacles - and take part.
Our associated courses or lessons may last an hour, part of a day or cover an entire weekend. However, unlike many forms of therapy, time is not spent talking to a medical professional or therapist. It's spent in nature; a chance to listen, learn, interact - and enjoy the benefits of the outdoors.
Escape from the modern world, pause for a moment; the sand, sea, rocks and trees bring their own visual masterpieces and sounds - and an opportunity to reflect through new and emotive experiences.
This provides an opportunity to become self-aware and recognise the things have been accomplished: scaling a rockface, paddling a kayak along the coast or across a lake, being in the sea and surfing a wave for the first time; facing initial (and understandable) fears - abseiling, riding a horse or jumping from rocks into the sea. Interacting with others and making friends. Accepting support - and offering it.
Often, the challenges we face in an outdoor environment can be directly reflected in those that we all face in every day life. And the choices we make can have a direct impact - or indirect consequences.
Importantly, individuals are instrumental in their own treatment: their level of participation can have a direct impact on its outcome.
The activities we provide are relative to the individuals abilities and capabalities and because our service users receive positive benefits, they are motivated to take part.
It is also important to recognise that experiences can be relative to real-life situations and can help individuals to overcome obstacles and to grow, personally.