Wilderness Adventure Therapy Training

What is Wilderness Adventure Therapy?

Wilderness Adventure Therapy (Crisp, 1994; 1995; 1998; Crisp & O’Donnell, 1998) is a complex clinical treatment approach that differs from less specialized therapeutic outdoor programs. Wilderness Adventure Therapy has been developed and researched by Dr Simon Crisp, current Outward Bound Australia Board Member, since 1992 and is based on conventional therapeutic practices of clinical assessment and treatment planning, and employs conventional therapeutic frameworks and methods. Consequently, the practice of Wilderness Adventure Therapy requires three areas of expertise; therapeutic qualifications and experience, outdoor leadership training and experience and specific specialized training and experience in Wilderness Adventure Therapy.
Outward Bound Australia is in the unique situation to combine all three.

Wilderness Adventure Therapy Training

It is a challenging time for our young people, particularly coming out of COVID lockdowns. Outward Bound understands mental health issues often present on; can hinder enjoyment of; and prevent personal development on outdoor education programs. 

We also understand the cathartic properties of the natural world and how carefully facilitated outdoor adventures can be the catalyst for positive change and healing.

Dr Simon Crisp and Dr Peta Hoffmann (another Outward Bound alumni and Psychologist) have teamed up with Outward Bound Australia to address the knowledge gap for outdoor leaders; social workers; school teachers; youth workers; behaviour support teachers; and others working with challenging clients; between their existing skillset and the specialised training required to deliver adventure therapy programs through these Adventure Therapy Training courses:

  1. Psychological First Response
  2. Introduction to Adventure Therapy Training
  3. Intermediate Adventure Therapy Training

Treatment Effectiveness of Wilderness Adventure Therapy – A Comprehensive Evaluation (Summary), Dr Simon Crisp
Adventure Therapy Training Courses
Psychological First Response

Practical psychological first-aid for teachers & youth professionals.

The Psychological First-Response Course (adolescents) is a practical training specifically designed for teachers, youth workers and outdoor leaders who teach, counsel, supervise or facilitate mainstream or special client groups.

In Australia, the incidence of mental health problems in the general population of adolescents has been found to be 1 in every 5. Almost half of those – 42% (or 1 in 13 of all adolescents) – seriously consider attempting suicide within any 12-month period1.

Surprisingly, 3 out of 4 adolescents with mental health problems do not receive any formal counseling or professional support.

These statistics behove professionals who work with young people to know how to respond professionally – within the limits of their expertise & professional role – to ensure the best outcome for the young people in their care.

This course outlines the appropriate response for a number of the more commonly occurring issues with straightforward and practical guidelines.

A detailed manual covering all areas is included. Key learning objectives are for participants to gain confidence in:

  1. Detection
  2. Response to, and
  3. Referral of adolescents with mental health & behavioural problems.

Read a detailed Course Outline and see upcoming dates at Psychological First Response Training. 

Read an article Dr Simon Crisp wrote about Psychological First Response in Outdoor Outlook in 2013.

Introduction to Adventure Therapy Training

Course participants will develop a working understanding of the key elements and methods of Adventure Therapy.

This is achieved by linking the professional fields of wilderness adventure programming and therapy. The course does not qualify participants as therapists or counsellors, however it does provide an excellent foundation for further training.

Completion of this course provides a broad theoretical grounding in therapeutic practices, applied ethics, duty of care and behavioural safety management and how to engage and support clients through a therapeutic process. It is ideal for those adventure facilitators who provide outdoor programs for special populations. A brief examination formally recognises learning of the course material.

Professional Development points may apply for members of the Australian Psychological Society and other professional bodies.

Read a detailed Course Outline and see upcoming dates at Introduction to Adventure Therapy Training.

Intermediate Adventure Therapy Training

Trainees will be graduates of the Introduction to Adventure Therapy course and will share a common foundational understanding of Adventure Therapy. The course aims to provide practical extended training for the specialised knowledge and applied skills of evidence based Adventure Therapy.

The course builds on the foundations of the Introduction to Adventure Therapy Course, and extends adventure facilitators’ and therapeutic professionals’ applied skills in the methods of Adventure Therapy.

This course is an ideal advanced training for those adventure leaders who provide programs for special needs groups. Participants will gain an in-depth understanding of clients’ needs and the procedural requirements for implementing best practice Adventure Therapy. They should also gain applied skills of activity processing (using the Wilderness Adventure Processing System), group therapy, and how to engage and support a client through a therapeutic process.

Read a detailed Course Outline and see upcoming dates at Intermediate Adventure Therapy Training.

Dr Simon Crisp

Clinical Psychologist Dr Simon Crisp is a pioneer of this type of therapy in Australia, researching and practicing Wilderness Adventure Therapy® clinically and training professionals since 1992. Simon’s background in the outdoors started in the 80’s as an Outward Bound field instructor. Since, he has worked 1,000 days in the field facilitating and developing Wilderness Adventure Therapy programs, including doctoral research into it’s effectiveness with mental health disorders and suicidal behaviours.

He researched Wilderness Adventure Therapy® in clinical settings and at Monash University as a Post-Doctoral Fellow. He has an international reputation in the field, and consults to many organisations such as the Victorian Schools Innovation Commission and mental health services.

Simon is a current Outward Bound Australia Board Member.

Subscribe to 

our eNewsletter