Outdoor Behavioral Health Heals The World
Steven M. DeMille, PhD, LCMHC
Program Therapist/Research Director
I hope things are going well. I wanted to send you an update on the presentation that Mark Burdick and I did at the World Psychological Forum. The World Psychological Forum (WPF) is an interdisciplinary conference that explores the intersection of psychology and other fields such as economics, politics, and cross cultural studies. The WPF was hosted in the Czech Republic, with participants coming from all over the world.
The presentation that Mark and I conducted was an e-poster that focused on cross cultural treatment in an Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare program. The presentation was titled:
Nature as a stage for change: A case study examination of the treatment process in an Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare program.
For this presentation we provided a case study example of how an outdoor environment can be used to facilitate change with a struggling adolescent who has significant and chronic inter-personal and intra-personal distress. The e-poster format allowed for a highly interactive presentation with the integration of audiovisual material. The presentation provided the theoretical foundations for using the outdoors with struggling adolescents and then described the practical application through the use of a case study. Included was a short 90 second video with an interview of an Australian father who described his experience treating their son in an Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare program. See what the father had to say on this short video.
During the presentation there was great interest and good turnout. The Wilderness Advisor was provided as a handout to all participants and none were left behind. Everyone was fascinated with the research. The Wilderness Advisor has now gone global. The positive response to the presentation was further validated at the closing ceremonies when we received an award for the highest rated cross-cultural presentation at the conference. However, in the end the most validating feedback came after the conference when a struggling adolescent was referred from a boarding school in the Czech Republic for treatment in an Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare program.