Strengthening Families One Adventure At A Time 210.391.2569
Whether it’s slowing down to mindfully connect with nature, recognizing a strength in yourself or a loved one on a challenge course, shooting an arrow and hitting your target on the archery range, or sitting around a campfire that you built, we aim to experience at least one moment of joy in session. From there, we can work towards reclaiming joy more regularly in your life and relationships with others. As a helping professional, you understand struggle and stress are a part of life. So, during our adventure therapy sessions, we make room for those, but also for our capacity to enjoy life. We slow down to enjoy what makes our lives as helping professionals, and relationships with our loved ones, special.
The work we do as helping professionals can be taxing, leaving us drained and with less energy to connect with our own well-being or with our loved ones. So, through adventure therapy we prioritize connection to the things that rejuvenate us and matter most. Adventure therapy is a highly relational approach to counseling. We take time to ground ourselves in our environment and with the people who join us in session. Taking time to be more mindful and appreciative of these connections is a significant part of the counseling experience. Through experiential activities, we identify what makes your connections to loved ones special and explore ways you can tap into personal and family strengths to reach common goals. When we work to become more in tune with our needs, others, and the outdoors, our potential to thrive becomes much stronger and attainable.
When you’re with your clients and students, you create safe environments because you know your work will be ineffective without it. No matter how much you care, and no matter how much you give of yourself, if your clients and students do not feel safe, your outcomes will suffer. So, when we work together, we do all we can to create safety for you and your loved ones. Archery can be dangerous. Building a fire can be dangerous. Hiking can be dangerous. Many times you’ll hear me say, “The only rule we have is to be safe together.” Of course, that looks like being mindful of our environment and the adventure equipment we’ll be using (e.g., bows and arrows and life jackets), but it also looks like remaining mindful of how we speak with one another and how we treat each other.
Trust is important in any relationship. And many helping professionals know, in a counseling relationship, the most important indicator of success in counseling, is the strength of the therapeutic alliance (or the relationship) a client has with the therapist. So, trust becomes important even before our first session. I invite all my clients to schedule a free initial phone consultation with me so we can explore whether we might be a good fit. If we decide to schedule an appointment, we’ll keep trust at our core. This will look like me continuing to ask you for feedback on our sessions and opening space for you to share your thoughts about how our professional relationship is growing. It will also look like me using my training and experience to help minimize risk in whatever activity we do. During adventure therapy sessions, we are open and honest about the risks we take together when we’re outdoors and when you’re participating in adventures with me and your family members. We embrace difficult conversations and create powerful opportunities to explore the role of trust in your life and in your family. For example, if you and your family decide to participate in a high ropes course activity together, family members usually take turns holding the rope that keeps one another safely off the ground. These types of activities provide opportunities for us to look at the ways you trust and how you would like to enhance trust in your relationships.
Helping professionals like you know the importance of strength-based conversations and mindsets. During our sessions, we live those values by highlighting solution talk and celebrate when you and your family work together in preferred ways. We also make room for everyone to contribute to activities and conversations in ways that challenge comfort zones but keep us away from danger. Every client’s voice is important and we make space for every person to share their thoughts, feelings, perspectives, and goals. You and your family will have the power of choice throughout adventure therapy sessions as long as doing so is safe. We’ll take time to reflect on your experiences each session so that you can voice what worked well, what didn’t, and what you might like to see happen differently in future sessions. Of course, if you find that our work together isn’t quite what you’re looking for, I can help you find other therapists who may be a better fit.
Many of us as helping professionals regularly encourage our clients and students to communicate effectively with people. We know how important that is to sustain meaningful relationships and we try to do that with our loved ones regularly. Sometimes though, all the talking we do falls short of true connection, or we may feel unheard or ignored, no matter how much time we spend engaging with loved ones. It can be frustrating, especially since we, as helping professionals, know some key tricks of the trade. During our adventure therapy sessions, we deep dive into the three parts of communication to help you better relate to your loved ones in different ways. We deconstruct what it means to send a message, receive a message, and, most importantly, understand the message. Having difficult conversations with those you love is not easy sometimes. So, through our adventure therapy sessions, we work to appreciate different perspectives and allow space for arguments. Fighting, not so much. But isn’t it great when we can engage with loved ones passionately and respectfully to really understand each other better?
Challenge looks different for every person and every family who joins me in the outdoors. Adventure therapy isn’t about you or your family completing an obstacle course. Adventure therapy doesn’t even require families to be the most physically fit. For some, challenge looks like problem solving an activity together using giant puzzle pieces. For others, it’s paddling a two-person kayak down a river with someone you care about but are struggling to work with. And for some families, it’s using a high ropes challenge course to push through barriers in our minds, bodies, and relationships. Whatever the challenge you and I select together for your sessions, and when safety isn’t compromised, everyone will have the power to say yes, the power to say no, the power to say stop, and the power to say go! The ways we engage with challenge become the source for change, reconnection, and rejuvenation. We’ll look at how challenge affects you but also how you effectively work through challenges as an individual and as a family.
As a Certified Clinical Adventure Therapist, I've received specialized training to counsel my clients in the outdoors and while using adventure-based activities. Most of my training has come from workshops and conferences provided by leading researchers and practitioners affiliated with the Therapeutic Adventure Professional Group (TAPG) and the Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Council.
I've also served in leadership capacities with TAPG, presented at national and international conferences on adventure therapy, and trained professionals to provide adventure therapy services to others. Below you'll find some information about the core elements of adventure therapy training created by leaders affiliated with the Association for Experiential Education. The American Psychological Association published an article titled Therapy Gone Wild related to outdoor mental health treatment you might also find interesting.
If you're a counselor, educator, or group facilitator wanting to learn more about providing Adventure Therapy and Experiential Learning Activities in your practice, please visit RelateAbility, PLLC by clicking on the button to the right.