Author: CERTS Group

Adventure Therapy Provides Positive Therapeutic Outcomes

Adventure Therapy is a form of experiential therapy that allows participants to take calculated risks and explore personal issues in a safe, supportive environment under the guidance and support of trained and certified therapists.  Adventure Therapy often is done in the outdoors and includes activities such as hiking, mountain climbing, rappelling, camping, mountain biking, rafting and skiing.  While on the surface these activities are fun, they also allow a teen participating in these activities to process emotional issues, addictions, depression, trauma and many other clinical issues.   Spending time in nature has therapeutic benefits in and of itself.  Simply getting outside and getting one’s body moving allows for natural endorphins in our body that help us to boost our spirits and help individuals to view the world more positively.


Adventure Therapy can open doors to healing that other types of talk therapy can not do alone.  While a teen is participating in adventure activities, they are often challenged in ways that help them face situations in their everyday life.  With the feelings elicited during an Adventure Therapy activity, teens can go back to a more traditional talk therapy session and discuss how the experience might be similar to something they are facing.  Problem solving skills used in an Adventure Therapy session can also be processed to help a teen use those same problems solving skills in their daily life.  During adventure activities, therapists can help a teen provide invaluable information regarding patterns of behavior and emotional triggers that increase self-awareness.  Adventure Therapy is a valuable way to help students process deep trauma.  Because trauma can be stored in our body, research done by leading trauma expert Bessel van der Kolk, MD has shown that moving our bodies in a positive way can help us process deep emotional wounds.  Dr. van der Kolk discusses the benefits of Adventure and Outdoor Therapy in his book “The Body Keeps the Score:  Brain, Mind and Body in the Healing of Trauma.”  At CERTS Programs we often hear therapists say that they best clinical work they do with a teen is when they are hiking, camping, skiing, or mountain climbing with their client.


  • Teens are directly involved and are not passive observers
  • Teens receive therapeutic benefits through processing of experiences
  • Activities are chosen for a teen that teach lessons that then applicable to past experiences and future challenges
  • The experience becomes meaningful because the teen is able to reflect similarities in their day-to-day life
  • Activities enhance personal growth and clinical progress
  • Activities are chosen that teach independence, life skills, team-building and problem-solving skills


Kolob Canyon and Moonridge Academy both provide extensive Adventure Therapy as part of their clinical programs.  Weekly Adventure Therapy occurs each Wednesday.  Additionally a 3-day Adventure Trip is executed on a monthly basis.  Often group therapy involves adventure activities in the form of ropes course work or interactive games.  Therapists are involved in all Adventure Therapy activities.  Call the Admissions Director  at Kolob Canyon or Moonridge Academy for more detailed information.