Creating safety: Outdoor and Nature-Based Therapies in an Increasingly Stress-Full World

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Outdoor, adventure and nature-based therapies are gaining increasing attention across the globe. At the outset this presentation invites participants to consider a role for outdoor and nature-based health practices in our increasingly stress-full world. It will invite participants to think of outdoor experiences not through the lens of risk and danger, but instead as a context in which we can create a deep sense of safety and connection that in turn enables exploration and growth. This session introduces the concept of ‘safe-enough’ practice and shares one framework that brings together principles derived from attachment theory, neurodevelopmental theories, experiential learning, narrative therapy, outdoor and nature-based therapies towards an integrated framework for co-creating ‘safe enough’ outdoor therapy experiences.


Ben Knowles, Adventure Works

Ben Knowles trained in education, outdoor education, experiential learning, and narrative therapy. Traversing these fields in various contexts over the last two decades has grounded and extended his life experiences and ideas about colonisation, racism, trauma, and importantly relating, reconciling, and healing. Ben was pivotal in establishing the Australian Association for Bush Adventure Therapy (AABAT) and has taught Outdoor Education and Bush Adventure Therapy at a tertiary level. Alongside undertaking his PhD in public health, he works as a Co-director of Adventure Works Australia, is Australian representative on the International Adventure Therapy Committee, and works as a senior clinician and trainer in the Neurosequential model of therapeutics for Berry Street Victoria.

Will Dobud, Charles Sturt University

Will Dobud has worked predominately with adolescents in the private and public sector. Coming to Australia from the United States in 2009, Will built True North Expeditions, a non-profit program in Adelaide, SA, providing adventure therapy experiences and social work services for adolescents from all over the country. In 2015, Will was awarded the Australian Postgraduate Award for research promise and conducted his PhD focusing on client experiences in outdoor therapy. Will’s ongoing research and publications focuses on participant experiences of care in a variety of settings and exploring what works to deliver more effective social work services. Will is particularly interested in Feedback-Informed Treatment, the Outdoor Therapies, and Solution-Focused Brief Therapy – basically asking the questions, how can we get routinely better at delivering better outcomes for those who seek our counsel.

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8 September 2022
10:00 am - 11:00 am AEST
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