Facilitation: Matching to Enhance Therapeutic Intent

There are several essential elements in the best practice of enhancing the therapeutic intent of the use of adventure.

  1. Thorough intake and admissions process provides the foundation for the development of a treatment plan (Newes, 2000; Schoel & Maizell, 2002).
  2. Assessment (both initial and continuous) is completed and includes conditions in the therapeutic environment(Schoel & Maizell, 2002).
  3. Clear therapeutic goals and objectives are documented on the treatment plan(Gray & Yerkes, 1995; Lung, Stuaffer & Avarez, 2008).
  4. Facilitation strategies are intentionally chosen and linked to treatment goals. See Facilitation Strategy.
  5. Specific activities are intentionally chosen and linked to treatment goals. See Activity Selection.

These five areas (intake/admissions process, assessment process, treatment planning, facilitation strategies, intervention strategies) link together to enhance the participants' conscious and unconscious reflection on their experience and progress toward their treatment goals (Alvarez & Stauffer, 2003; Bacon, 1983, 1988, 1989; Itin, 1994, 1998, 2003; Gass, 1985, 1991, 1996). This section addresses the process of selecting the appropriate facilitation strategy and activity.

While activity is in many ways at the heart of adventure-based practice, it would not be best practice to start with an activity and attempt to use the same activity in the same way with every client. Alvarez & Stauffer (2003), Bacon (1983, 1987, 1988), Gass (1985, 1991, 1995), Itin (1994, 1998, 2003) and others have stressed the importance of not just gathering assessment data but actively using it to select both the facilitation approach and the activity. This assessment data may alter the choice of activity, the guidelines used in the activity, and even the name of the activity when tailoring the activity to a specific client or client group. The activity selection and facilitation reflects the therapeutic goals for the client or client group. If the goal is to increase trust, this might suggest a different activity than if the goal was to increase communication. Even within a treatment goal there will be nuances of selection. For example, if the goal is trusting oneself (as compared to trusting others) this further defines the selection of the activity, the development of the activity, and finally the facilitation of the activity. These guidelines assist the practitioner in adapting activities for environmental, developmental, cultural, and clinical considerations which result in a more informed, intentional decision making process during facilitation.