The Treatment of Adolescent Populations: An Institutional vs. a Wilderness Setting

  • Bryant Williams


Since the turn of the century, adventure therapy has been used as an adjunct to therapy in the treatment of a variety of psychiatric populations. Adventure therapy is a term used throughout the literature, referring to the use of outdoor education and recreation activities as a form of therapy. Implicit to the practice of adventure therapy is the fact that the treatment takes places in a wilderness as opposed to an institutional setting. The use of adventure therapy has been the most popular in the treatment of adolescent populations. Due to its popularity, adventure therapy has attracted a great deal of research which has repeatedly found both anecdotally and empirically that the treatment of adolescents in a wilderness setting is more effective than in a clinical setting. The effectiveness of treating adolescents in a wilderness setting using adventure therapy is well documented; but not well understood. This article will examine the dynamics of groups in clinical and wilderness settings and offer insights about the greater effectiveness offered in a wilderness setting.

adventure therapy adolescents wilderness setting clinical setting recidivism group dynamics 


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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bryant Williams
    • 1
  1. 1.The Naropa Institute: Transpersonal Psychology Dept., Boulder, COBoulder

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