Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)


Social Work

First Advisor

Karen Carlson


Social Work


Adventure therapy (AT) is an emerging model of therapy that is being used for work with individuals and families. AT combines experiential education with therapy in a single program (Crisp, 1998). The purpose of this research paper is to explore how social workers integrate adventure therapy into their work with families. The research also explored the current status and implications of AT in terms of being accepted as an evidence based practice. A total of eight mental health professionals who have experience facilitating adventure or wilderness therapy were interviewed. The results of the research support the literature suggesting the field of adventure therapy does not have a standardized approach to program facilitation and training requirements in both therapy and adventure based or wilderness activities (Gillis & Bonney, 1986; Newes & Bandoroff, 2004; Tucker & Norton, 2012). The programs did integrate the core components of adventure therapy as defined in the literature review in this paper. The majority of participants suggested the field of AT is a valid form of therapy considered to be supported by research. Participants acknowledged the difficulty in conducting research using control groups in AT due to the countless variables; participants also questioned the need for quantitative rather than qualitative research to be considered empirically supported therapy. The findings contradict the literature that states a challenge for the field of AT for broader acceptance is the lack of empirical research that contains information that is both valid and reliable (Newes, 2001).

Included in

Social Work Commons