BUSH AD­VEN­TURE THER­APY

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Body and Soul - - HEALTH -

It turns out the typ­i­cal Aussie camp­ing ad­ven­ture can be an op­por­tu­nity for per­sonal growth. This unique ther­apy in­volves small groups led by a team of spe­cially trained coun­sel­lors or so­cial work­ers head­ing into the bush to learn about life.

Ex­pe­ri­ences can range from day trips to overnight ex­pe­di­tions, and might in­volve bushwalking, ca­noe­ing or ab­seil­ing.

“Bushwalking is used a lot,” Anita Pryor, a bush ad­ven­ture prac­ti­tioner at Ad­ven­ture Works, says. “The route can be used to draw out lessons and pro­vide a ‘peak mo­ment’ for peo­ple. And ca­noe­ing is a great one for metaphors around the river of life.”

The con­nec­tion with na­ture and phys­i­cal move­ment bring their own ben­e­fits, but Pryor says the great­est im­pact is this ther­apy’s ef­fect on self-es­teem.

“A typ­i­cal bush ad­ven­ture ther­apy ex­pe­ri­ence has peo­ple feel­ing they’re worth­while,” she ex­plains. “The light-bulb mo­ment is of­ten, ‘Oh, I’m OK’ and ‘I can do stuff.’ It sounds sim­ple but it’s so foun­da­tional.”

The ther­apy is com­monly used to help young peo­ple tran­si­tion into adult­hood, but re­search shows it’s also ef­fec­tive for a range of age groups.

Prices vary de­pend­ing on the num­ber of par­tic­i­pants and what ac­tiv­i­ties are in­cluded, but ex­pect to pay a lit­tle more than a tourist ver­sion of the same ac­tiv­ity.

Head to aa­bat.org.au to find qual­i­fied prac­ti­tion­ers and pro­grams in your area.

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