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Foundational premises

In addition to principles of safety and ethical intent, the practices of the Adventure Works team are influenced by the following premises:

Socio-ecological wellbeing – the health and wellbeing of humans is integrally connected with the health and wellbeing of natural environments.

Social determinants of health – experiences of disadvantage and disconnection are usually influenced by social and cultural values and structures. Healthy change in individuals must go hand in hand with social and political change in order to create equal opportunities for participation and connection, and to sustain changes made.

Systems approach – working with an individual in isolation from their family and community may mean that any changes made are difficult to maintain. We endeavour to work not only with individuals, but also through their connections with family and community. In this way, therapeutic experiences are more likely to be meaningful and sustained.

Social constructionism – all human experience is constructed and subjective, which means we can assume that every person is the expert in their own situation. Our participants hold the most knowledge about their predicament and are best placed to create possible solutions to current problems or dilemmas.

Holistic wellbeing – human health is not just the absence of disease. Human wellbeing includes physical, mental, emotional, behavioural, social, cultural, spiritual, environmental and economic health.

Experiential learning – rich learning occurs when a person’s body, mind and heart are engaged in the learning process, and when the learner has freedom to reflect, make decisions and work with others to extend their own learning.

Narrative approaches – narrative approaches invite intentional conversations that explore both the problems and successes that people face. We explore the often uncharted, value-laden experiences that can lead to a preferred sense of personal and social identity. Narrative approaches provide a comprehensive framework for helping people co-create their own future stories.

Bush adventure therapy – is a holistic approach to human health and wellbeing. Voluntary and tailored experiences that include adventuring in a small group in nature offer a unique therapeutic milieu. In this context, people can take risks, stretch their understandings, develop healthy relationships, and make useful personal choices. BAT experiences reconnect people with a preferred sense of themselves and their relationships, and act to gently yet comprehensively unsettle the ideas that have taken root and contributed to problems in their lives. Effective BAT experiences provide a place in which people can rehearse their preferred sense of themselves and create new stories to live by.