Individual Adventure Therapy

Individual adventure therapy is useful in a diverse variety of settings, including community mental health offices, schools, and the wilderness trail. The use of activities in individual counseling often enhances the development of a positive therapeutic alliance.

Practitioner Guidelines 

1. The basic tenets of clinical individual counseling practice as derived from social work, psychology, and counseling literature also apply to adventure-based individual therapy. For example, the adventure practitioner is expected to utilize effective interviewing technique, accepted standards of ethical practice, and general understanding of clinical issues in his or her practice of individual adventure therapy.

2. Consider the impact of diversity issues on client functioning including age, class, race, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, and ability.

3. Use activity, or a specialized environment such as wilderness, as one of the main processes of treatment. It is not simply a transitional tool to lead into discussion-oriented therapy. The issues that arise out of the context of the activity or environment are the focus of the therapeutic effort.

4. Assessment data regarding the individual client and the environment in which he or she lives and operates is important to therapeutic relevance and success. 

5. Adventure therapists need to vigilantly attend to and manage their personal responses within this context of treatment. The fact that the therapist and client have a shared experience, that in some cases involves physical touch and closeness, enhances the need to self-monitor and evaluate for boundary infractions, counter-transference, or ethical issues.

6. Be prepared to use other experiential activities in this context of treatment. The intimacy of only involving one person in the treatment session, along with the lack of intra-group dynamic or the benefits of a communal experience, both lend themselves to the use of art, crafts, and other experiential tools.