Adventure Therapy Best Practices

AEE's Therapeutic Adventure Professional Group(TAPG) has been engaged in efforts to produce a statement of best practice for adventure therapy (AT) since 2001, with writing beginning in 2007. TAPG has coordinated Adventure Therapy Best Practices conferences that have, and continue, to serve as catalysts for this effort. The intent of this effort is to identify, establish, and promote appropriate AT practices. The following is to be considered a working document in its attempt to provide preferred programming standards for the administration of adventure and wilderness therapy programs. This statement will reside on the TAPG website and be updated as the field grows in knowledge and understanding. Please click the highlighted text above to access the sitemap.

Best practices are the elements and activities of intervention design, planning, and implementation that are recommended based on the best knowledge available. Historic precedent, practitioner experience and judgment, theoretical developments, and empirical and basic research results inform them. This template for best practices will continue to be informed by research with the intent to establish adventure therapy as an empirically validated treatment. It is designed to inform practitioners, administrators, consumers, and policy makers on theory, process, and outcomes guiding AT.

These best practices are currently in draft form, and we are seeking feedback from you about its contents. The website provides definition and structure, with bibliographies indicating where the reader can get more detailed information. 

It is proposed that this template for best practices could integrate the various approaches of AT into a common body of knowledge that can then be presented as best practices to the Association of Experiential Education (AEE) and it's associated professional group, the Therapeutic Adventure Professional Group (TAPG), as well as the Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Industry Council (OBHIC), the National Association of Therapeutic Wilderness Camps (NATWC), the National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP) and others. The information on this website is designed from a U.S. perspective, but may have utility for other countries engaging in AT.


History of Adventure Therapy in the United States
Defining Adventure Therapy
Foundational Concepts
Professional Organizations

Ethical Considerations
Competence and Scope of Practice
Client Welfare
Informed Consent
Cultural Considerations
Environmental Impact
Code of Ethics Links

Experiential Learning Theory/Experiential Education Philosophy
Systems Theory
Existential Theory
Behavioral/Cognitive Behavioral Theory
Psychodynamic Theory

Practitioner Roles

Treatment Applications
Environmental Context of Treatment
Interpersonal Context of Treatment
Group Adventure Therapy
Family Adventure Therapy
Individual Adventure Therapy

Assessment in Adventure Therapy
Intervention in Adventure Therapy: Treatment Outcomes
Intervention in Adventure Therapy: Facilitation Skills
Therapeutic Alliance
Matching Interventions to Enhance Therapeutic Intent
Matching Facilitation Strategy
Matching Activity Selection
Therapeutic Environment
Treatment Skills

Intervention in Adventure Therapy: Activities
Cooperative Activities
Trust Activities
High Constructed Elements
Service Learning
Natural Environment/High Adventure Activities

Operational Guidelines for Clinical Practice
Client Transitions in AT
Clinical Quality Assurances
Risk Management in AT