Episode 270 - Dr. Will White: Into the Wild: Adventure-Based Therapy

Monday, September 09, 2019, 8:08:46 AM

Image of Will White, DA, LCSW, LADC

In this episode, our guest Dr. Will White highlights his career combining his background as a social worker and his passion for experiential, specifically outdoor, therapy. He describes what adventure-based therapy is and the evolution of the model to its current-day expression. Dr. White discusses the empirical support for the approach, why it’s therapeutic, and the rationale for utilizing this innovative modality.

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Average Rating: 4.2 stars (4 listener reviews )

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Average Rating: 5stars  awesome podcast, Monday, February 17, 2020

By cpinter :

Dr. White discusses adventure-based therapy. This is the use of the wilderness by mental health professionals to engage clients on all levels: behavioral, cognitive and affective. I had never heard of this type of therapy so this topic caught my eye and was very interesting. Using the outdoors to help clients is not as traditional but has roots in boy scouts and camps and has shown great success. Dr. White talked about how beneficial it is for adolescents to be challenged to live and work together and learn outdoor skills. There is such a healing nature to the wilderness and being outside unplugged, that is so underrated. Being an environmentalist, I can definitely vouch for how therapeutic nature can be.

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Average Rating: 4stars  adventure based therapy , Sunday, February 16, 2020

By Megan K :

I love the mind and body component to adventure therapy! There is something special about being outside, the fresh air and the beauty. As Dr. White was mentioning, one on one talk therapy can prove to be challenging in the confines of an office room , especially for adolescents. I love the idea of moving about to take some of the pressure off the traditional talk therapy experience. I found it very informative and interesting when Dr. White was talking about starting programs and what that would look like in different states. It was also interesting to hear how Dr. White navigated government policies and societal ideas of how to appropriately provide therapeutic programs, or lack of, for clients. I love the acknowledgement of how safe outdoor space is a privilege. For many people going outside is unsafe in their communities and parks or forests are not accessible. Adventure Based Therapy sounds like an awesome way to practice!

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Average Rating: 4stars  furthering adventure therapy , Friday, February 07, 2020

By Briona :

I really enjoyed this podcast because I enjoy being in the outdoors, and I find a great amount of stress-relief when I am able to exercise outside. I had no idea that summer camps for kids would be used as early forms of adventure therapy, let along dating back to the 1800's. I found a lot of interest in nature based literature such as Into the Wilderness, where the main character takes a journey into Alaska to get away from the world for some time. I think that is a great example of how unplugging from the world, literally and figuratively can have a great benefit to our mental wellbeing. I would consider myself an activist for public health, where food can greatly affect people and society, especially those in a food desert, but the same idea is true for those who are living in areas that lack green space and areas to get outside away from people and into nature. The podcast mentioned there used to be funding state wide, to get inner city children into camps but much of that as disappeared. I find the idea of its military roots very fascinating, and exercise levels can be adjusted to the groups out in the therapy. I have a great love for mountains and being out on the west coast, where much of these programs have roots in, such as Idaho, Utah, and Washington . My curiosity would lie in what do these programs do in winter months, or rainy areas such as Washington State? I enjoy the joke that Dr. White had said about the weather is always good, but the clothes are not always, but there has to be limits when going outside. In winter months there tends to be a lot of seasonal depression too. This might also be a good indication that being able to be outside leads to lower levels of depressing moods.

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Average Rating: 4stars  episode 270 review, Monday, February 03, 2020

By Travis R. :

I found this podcast so informative and quite interesting. I had never heard of adventure therapy and only thought of the social work environment as a comfy office space. I didn't think adventure therapy had been around very long, but I was surprised to hear about its deep routes to the 3 elders. I find the idea of psychiatric summer camps for kids within the mental health system to be brilliant and I was surprised to hear that Mass. General Hospital. had forgotten they ever had one. I really found it fascinating how involved the treatment program is at Summit Achievement, I truly believe that the adolescents are still getting their proper education while experiencing a sense of community and achievement. It was extremely upsetting to read about how the great recession removed funding for most if not all of these programs and how judges started sending them to private juvenile institutions. I really like Dr. White's passion and drive to break down barriers with race and poverty and it was great to hear people of all genders joining the program as well as leadership positions. I am really interested to see where adventure therapy goes, it seems like such a fresh take on mental health treatment for kids and adolescents and I will definitely keep it in consideration for a future career.

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DISCLAIMER: The content shared by the presenter(s) and/or interviewer(s) of each podcast is their own and not necessarily representative of any views, research, or practice from the UB School of Social Work or the inSocialWork® podcast series.