Manual of Accreditation for OBH Programs

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In 2013 the Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Council invited AEE to jointly embark upon the expansion of AEE’s existing standards to better reflect the field of wilderness therapy’s current practices. This resulted in the creation of a detailed set of ethical, risk management, and treatment standards created by longstanding leaders in OBH, adventure therapy, and wilderness programming. The newly designed OBH accreditation from AEE represents another milestone in a rapidly evolving field. OBH accreditation will become THE standard by which all future wilderness and outdoor adventure treatment programs will be measured.

In 2018, AEE was pleased to announce the publication of the 2nd edition of the Manual of Accreditation Standards for Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Programs. The Second Edition of the Manual includes numerous improvements that are consistent with changes in the 7th Edition, Revised of the Manual of Accreditation Standards for Adventure Programs. Standards and narratives were carefully reviewed and edited to ensure that they are current, clear, and help readers understand the breadth of evidence of compliance that apply to program contexts and populations served. Terms in Glossary of Terms are updated and a clearer distinction between therapeutic adventure and adventure therapy is included. Several other terms are revised to better reflect how they should be interpreted by organizations seeking AEE OBH Accreditation.


July 21, 2020: AEE Accreditation Council Approves a New Standard about Dealing with Infectious Diseases. 

This has been a difficult time for outdoor education. Most AEE accredited Adventure Programs have not operated this summer, while most AEE accredited Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Programs, being classified as an essential service, have continued to provide programming. Some of our organizations that have been closed are currently experimenting with re-opening or are considering re-opening in the fall.

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic AEE has developed an accreditation standard for infectious diseases. Like all AEE accreditation standards it is written in a way to provide programs the flexibility to design policies and procedures that fit their unique missions and programming. 

OBH Accreditation is a requirement of all OBH Council member programs that they attain accreditation within two years of the start of their membership.

Editors: Joe Austin, Aaron Funnell, Jude Hirsch, Michael Lindsey, John Nordquist, Steve Pace, and Paul Wolf

88 pages, spiral bound, laminated soft cover report format. Dimensions: 8 3/4 x 11 x 1/2". Released 2018. ISBN: pending