Adventure Therapy Books & Resources

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Coming Of Age The Evolving Field Of Adventure TherapyBandoroff, S., &  Newes, S. (Eds.) (2004). Coming of age: The evolving field of adventure therapy. Boulder, CO: Association for Experiential Education.
This publication comes out of the International Adventure Therapy Conference and provides diverse perspectives on AT from programmatics to theory to research.

Bacon, S. (1983). The conscious use of metaphor in Outward Bound.Denver, CO: Colorado Outward Bound School.
This is really the most historically significant text in terms of Adventure Therapy (though it is not specifically about AT). It directly and indirectly shaped much of the current practice, at least from a US perspective. 

Cole, E., Rothblum, E. D., & Erdman, E. (1994). Wilderness therapy for women: The power of adventure. Binghamton, NY: Haworth Press.
The Cole text is important as it provides a woman’s perspective.

Davis-Berman, J., & Berman, D. S. (1994). Wilderness therapy: Foundations, theory, and research. Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt.
Berman’s text is a good intro to the wilderness side of AT. New edition due out this year.

Gass, M. A. (1993). Adventure therapy: Therapeutic applications of adventure programming. Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt. (can be ordered Directly from Kendal/Hunt – 1-800 228-0810)
Gass’ book is somewhat dated (many of the articles were initially published early in the JEE), but it is still historically important.

Gass, M. A., Gillis, L, & Russell, K. (2012). Adventure Therapy: Theory, Research, and Practice. Florence, KY: Routledge Books.
The most current publication on the field of adventure therapy.

Hirsch, J. & Gillis, L. (2004). Developing metaphors for group activities. Boulder, CO: Association for Experiential Education.
An interactive DVD and CD set that provides a step-by-step process for developing metaphors for activities.

Luckner, J., & Nadler, R. (1997). Processing the experience, (2nd ed.). Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt.
Historically important text for the application of facilitation skills to AT.

Lung, M., Stauffer, G. and Alvarez, A. (2008). Power of One: Using adventure and experiential activities within one-on-one counseling sessions. Oklahoma City, OK: Wood N’ Barnes.
The use of adventure activities in individual counseling sessions.

Lung, M., Stauffer, G. , Alvarez, A. and Conway (2015). Power of Family: An experiential approach to family treatment. Oklahoma City, OK: Wood N’ Barnes.
The use of adventure activities as a primary methodology in the treatment of families.

Norton, C. L. (Ed). (2010). Innovative interventions in child and adolescent mental health.
Provides developmental and neurobiological rationale for utilizing interventions. New York, NY, Taylor & Francis

Priest, S., Gass, M.A., & Gillis, L. (2000). The essential elements of facilitation: Skills for enhancing client change. Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt.
A good primer on facilitation specifically related to AT.

Schoel, J & Maizell, R. (2002). Exploring islands of healing: New perspectives on adventure-based counseling. Beverly, MA: Project Adventure.
Historically important and represents a Project Adventure model of adventure-based counseling- not specifically AT but a good primer.

Other Adventure Therapy Resources:

Project Adventure has published many of the classic activities books: Silver Bullets, Quicksilver, Cowtails and Cobras, Backpocket Adventure (

James Neill hosts a great resource website with descriptions of many activities, as well as theory, research, links, etc. (

Association of Experiential Education is the major trade organization for the adventure field. AEE offers accreditation for adventure programs and publishes a peer reviewed journal called the Journal of Experiential Education. AEE hosts an annual conference in November and regional conferences in the spring. The website includes an extensive bookstore as well as a jobs clearinghouse (

Therapeutic Adventure Professional Group is a professional group within AEE that represents therapeutic programs and practitioners. TAPG has hosted its own Best Practices Conferences and is in the process of developing a Best Practices Online Document. (see Professional Groups at TAPG also hosts an online discsussion group on adventure therapy topics. See listserv at

National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs is a trade organization for wilderness treatment programs, residential treatment centers and therapeutic boarding schools. NATSAP hosts an annual conference in February and recently began publishing the Journal of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (

Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Council is a consortium of wilderness treatment programs dedicated to establishing strong standards for the field of wilderness therapy ( OBH organizations help to fund the Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Center at the University of New Hampshire which was established to support research in the field of wilderness treatment. The OBH Center website is a good resource for research findings for wilderness therapy (

International Adventure Therapy Conference is conducted every three years and draws participants from throughout the world. IATC began in 1997 in Australia and has subsequently occurred in Germany, British Columbia, New Zealand, Great Britain, The Czech Republic and the United States.

Wilderness Therapy Symposium was initiated by Naropa University and is now convened by the Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Council. They have begun to sponsor regional conferences to augment the annual national conference in Park City, UT. (

Adventure Therapy Links