Humanistic Psychological Perspectives on Outdoor
Many outdoor programs (whether they realize it or not) subscribe to what's known
as "third force psychology", also known as the human potential or growth
movement. In other words, the programs assume that is a desirable and
reasonable goal to trigger and facilitate personal growth through participation
in outdoor activities.
Outdoor education philosophy generally emphasize third force psychology.
Some particular areas of interest are:
Human growth movement philosophy (Maslow, Rogers, et. al)
Group encounter movement (e.g., read about
Stress, risk, challenge, and coping philosophy (for example Lazarus & Folkman's
transtheoretical model of stress, appraisal and coping)
Readiness for change (Prochasta & DiClemente)
Ken Wilber's integral psychology offers a holistic developmental philosophy
Note that whilst this humanistic view of outdoor experiences has some strong
arguments (see Philosophy and Theory) and reasonable evidence (see Research) in
its support, there are several cautions, e.g.,:
There is also argument and evidence that sometimes outdoor education experiences
have negative impacts, e.g. through physical injury, psychological stress,
social issues in groups, financial cost, environmental impact, lack of
professionalization of outdoor education, etc.
A human-centric view of outdoor education, particularly one occurred during a
human cultural, individualistic "cult of self" phase, tends to blinker one to
other potentially useful perspectives on outdoor education, e.g., ecological,
ecopsychological, social and cultural perspectives.