Adventure-based Counseling

Full Value Contract

James Neill
Last updated:
10 Mar 2007

Full Value Contract (FVC)
refers to an important principle in Adventure-based Counseling (ABC).  Since ABC is almost always group based and relies on people exposing themselves to perceived physical, emotional and social risks, it is vital that a supportive group atmosphere is developed and that basic, agreed principles of engagement are shared by the group.

There many different ways of creating a Full Value Contract.  FVC approaches tend to range in terms of the degree to which a group is encouraged to develop their own terms of engagement through to instructors facilitating perceived adoption of some pre-decided types of behavior.

For example, many programs, such as Outward Bound, have mottos or basic training rules which participants are asked to agree to before signing on to participate.  Other programs (such as some corporate adventure training programs) are quite open-ended with regard to what kinds of values a group wishes to adopt with regard to individual and group engagement with the training tasks.

Here's an example of 5 basic principles (can be indicated/remembered by 5 fingers):

  • Be present
  • Pay attention
  • Speak your truth
  • Be open to outcomes
  • Create a safe environment (for explanations, see this Full Value Contract)

Other example Full Value Contracts:

For a more detailed, step-by-step guide, see this 11-slide Full Value Contract Powerpoint presentation (Eastern Connecticut State University).


Schoel, J., & Maizell, R. (2002). Exploring islands of healing: New perspectives on adventure based counseling. Beverly, MA: Project Adventure.

Schoel, J., Prouty, D., & Radcliffe, P. (1988). Islands of healing: A guide to adventure based counseling. Hamilton, MA: Project Adventure.