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Outdoor Education Definitions

Adventure Therapy Definitions

James Neill
Last updated:
29 Sep 2004


Definitions of adventure therapy continue to be debated, sometimes quite vigorously.  To throw my hat in the ring, here's a definition:

"Adventure therapy is the use adventure-based activities and/or adventure-based theory to provide people with emotional and/or behavioral problems with experiences which lead to positive change in their lives."

According to Priest and Gass (1997), adventure therapy is:

"programming aimed at changing [specified] dysfunctional behavior patterns, using adventure experiences as forms of habilitation and rehabilitation."

For the pragmatic purposes of conducting a meta-analysis, adventure therapy was defined as (Staunton, in preparation):

"any adventure experience with diagnosed clients or reporting a specified therapeutic outcome."