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Foundations of Outdoor Therapy Practice

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This course is designed to prepare psychologists, counsellors and therapists to take their work outdoors. It will build on your existing knowledges and skills, facilitate exploration of your personal values, ethics and competencies, and help you consolidate a personal practice framework to provide therapeutic experiences outdoors. The immersion and training program are grounded in Aboriginal ways of relating with Country. Input from Aboriginal cultural leaders is provided, and cultural input from Aboriginal participants is welcomed.

DATES: Online connections begin Thurs 20th Oct and close Thurs 8th Dec 2022

4-DAY IMMERSION: Thurs to Sunday, 10-13 Nov 2022

LOCATION: Online and in-person (Cockatoo Hills, Central Tasmania)

FEE: $1600 + GST

This fee includes Aboriginal cultural mentorship, introductory Outdoor Therapy materials, 2 one-to-one meetings, 4 online group sessions, a 4-day Bush Camp, integration materials and processes. Fee does not include Transport to/from the venue and Food. Meals are self-catered and may be coordinated with others.

Note: After the Course, participants may choose to complete tasks and provide evidence to receive a Certificate of Outdoor Therapy Competency at extra cost.

Bush Adventure Therapy and Outdoor Therapy are part of the emerging Outdoor Health sector in Australia, along with other evidence-informed nature-based health practices like Outdoor Counselling, Equine Therapy and Ecotherapy (to name a few).


Outdoor Therapy and Bush Adventure Therapy are part of the emerging Outdoor Health sector in Australia, along with other evidence-informed nature-based health practices like Outdoor Counselling, Equine Therapy and Ecotherapy (to name a few).   

This training course provides an experiential introduction to Outdoor Therapy for trained psychologists, counsellors, therapists and healthcare practitioners working in human and social service settings. The training offers a progression of knowledge and skills, practical experiences, and opportunities to develop personal outdoor therapy practice in a supportive environment.  

Core content: Key content areas include Foundational values and ethics, Humans as nature, Therapeutic intentions outdoors, Bio-Psycho-Socio-Ecological wellbeing framework, Safety and Risk, Outdoor Therapy in action (Walk and talk therapies, Animal assisted therapies, Nature play no-talk therapies, Group experiential challenge), Culturally responsive practice, Trauma informed and responsive practice, Core competencies for taking therapy outdoors, Personal practice framework, Reflective practice, Supervised practice.  

Program structure: Lead-in Information sessions, an Individual session and 2 x 2hr online Group sessions prepare us to make the most of our 4 days together. The 4-day immersion uses experiential learning techniques and reflective processes to build confidence and skills to work in and with nature. Follow-on sessions translate lessons learned into a personal Outdoor Therapy Practice Framework. Peer supervision supports the establishment of effective outdoor therapy practices in your chosen context.  


This introductory course has been collaborative designed by a team of 12 experienced outdoor therapists from wide ranging disciplines. Their experience as practitioners, counsellors, therapists and Aboriginal cultural leaders is combined into a rich and deep learning experience.

Participants will benefit from having at least a moderate level of personal comfort outdoors. Outdoor leadership training and work outdoors will also be of great benefit, but not necessary.


Where is the 4-day immersion? 

Cockatoo Hills is an environmental- and cultural-conservation property near Tarraleah in the central highlands of Tasmania with a striking landscape abundantly rich with Aboriginal heritage.  

What if there’s a lockdown and border closures?

If you register but are unable to attend for covid reasons, you have the choice of being refunded your full payment amount or leaving your payment as credit towards the next Course.

What is the time commitment/ homework requirements?  

Before the immersion, we’ll share two x 2-hour introductory online Group Sessions, and a one-to-one interview with each participant. We’ll also provide some pre-reading and video resources on theory and evidence to help you prepare for the immersion and help us make the most of our time together. This will mean our time during the immersion can focus on experiential and relational elements (doing and being together). 

Will there be a bed and shower at the immersion?  

There are 6 beds in the two-bedroom Cockatoo Hills house, all beds in close quarters with others. For this reason, if you are comfortable to bring and sleep in your own tent (or borrow one from us), we’d encourage this. Cockatoo Creek has limited water, therefore we encourage people to minimize or go without showers if possible. 

What will we do about food at the immersion?  

The Cockatoo Hills house has a kitchen, refrigerator, stove, wash-up sink and BBQ. Once the group is formed, AWA will facilitate development of a group menu, and a plan for purchasing food, plus sharing of cooking and cleaning for those who are interested. Otherwise, feel free to BYO food and self-cater independently.  

Where should I fly to if I’m coming from interstate?  

If you are coming from interstate and plan to hire a vehicle, you could fly into Launceston and drive to Cockatoo Hills. Otherwise, flying to Hobart will be easiest, allowing you to carpool with others travelling up from Hobart. AWA will facilitate carpooling/sharing of vehicles to help reduce travel costs to Cockatoo Hills from and to Hobart for all.  

Will I learn about the business side of providing Outdoor Therapy?  

A little, but not a lot. This is an introduction, not a master class. We hope that after the course all participants will feel comfortable to begin delivering short, local outdoor therapy experiences within the levels of their training, competence, confidence and resources, which will vary for everyone.   

Will I learn about the logistics, transport, equipment and other resources needed for Outdoor Therapy? 

A little, but not a lot. We will touch on these elements prior to the immersion, informally at different times during the immersion, and potentially in post-immersion sessions, but not in comprehensive ways. Again, these elements will vary according to context.   

Will this course have relevance for my work with young people, or will it be a fluffy hippy experience?  

Good question. This course is designed to build on your existing training and practice experiences, and support you to establish or consolidate your own Outdoor Therapy personal practice. While we will offer three examples of Outdoor Therapy in action, each participant will apply the content and learnings in their own personal-professional way. The four examples of Outdoor Therapy we will provide a taste of include: Walk & Talk counselling, Equine animal assisted therapy, Nature play (no talk) therapy and Group challenge therapy, and the whole 4-day immersion is modelled on an outdoor therapy experience.  

What if I’m not a trained counsellor or therapist?  

This course is designed to help psychologists, counsellors and therapists take their work out of doors, and for those working in human and health service settings. Having said this, the participant group will have diverse training and practice backgrounds, and diversity brings richness. Therefore, if you are passionate about human health and healing and have personal experience of the benefits of nature to support healthy connections, then please feel free to step into this training program with full confidence that you will be supported to take the learnings into your chosen personal-professional directions.    

Will there be other courses?  

Yes! Let us know if you’d like to receive information about upcoming courses in Tasmania and Victoria.  

Is this Outdoor Therapy course professionally accredited?  

No. This course is designed to provide professional development for those interested in adding nature to their therapeutic work. It is not accredited and does not provide a qualification. Participants may choose to extend their learning by completing a Certificate of Outdoor Therapy Competency, which readies people for employment in Outdoor Therapy and Bush Adventure Therapy services within a cross disciplinary team.

Are there any accrediting bodies for Outdoor Therapy in Australia?     

Not in Australia at this time. Practices that activate nature for health and healing in Australia are supported by the ethical guidelines of the Australian Association for Bush Adventure Therapy(AABAT) and the emerging Outdoor Health sector. For more information on these bodies see –  

The Australian Association for Bush Adventure Therapy: 

Outdoor Health Australia:

October 20th, 2022 7:00 PM through December 8th, 2022 9:00 PM
Cockatoo Hills
Central Highlands
Event Fee(s)
Registration fees
Pay in full now $ 1,760.00 (includes GST of $ 160.00)
Pay in full via invoice $ 1,760.00 (includes GST of $ 160.00)
Pay via installments $ 1,771.00 (includes GST of $ 161.00)