How individuals with self-reported anxiety and depression experienced a combination of individual counselling with an adventurous outdoor experience: A qualitative evaluation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Adventure therapy is a short-term experiential psychotherapeutic approach that utilises adventurous activities and being in natural environments in order to facilitate therapeutic change in clients. The present paper examines how students with self-reported anxiety and depression experienced participating in an innovative intervention that combined individual therapy with an adventurous outdoor experience. Clients participating in the Adventure Therapy Project received between 10 15 one-to-one counselling sessions prior to the outdoor experience, as well as ongoing counselling following it. Method: Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis was used in order to record and analyse the experiences of three male and three female students who presented at a major UK university student counselling service with self-reported depression and anxiety. Findings: Twelve themes emerged which were categorised into four major domains: enhancing intrapersonal relationships; improving interpersonal relationships; providing an experiential outdoor venue for achieving therapeutic change; offering a secure, personal place for achieving inner healing. The intervention was perceived to improve the ways in which interviewees related towards themselves and other people. Interviewees perceived the counselling sessions as offering a safe therapeutic space within which they could unveil their anxieties and achieve inner healing. Conclusions: Outdoor experiences offer an experiential venue for achieving personal change and, it appears enhance the therapeutic process. Prior and subsequent individual therapy increases the benefits of such experiences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120-128
Number of pages9
JournalCounselling and Psychotherapy Research
Volume11
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2011

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