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Narrative and Bush Adventure Therapy

Two Day Workshop

When: June 10 - 11, 2017
Where: Victoria (TBA within 2 hrs of Melbourne)

Due to significant interest in this workshop, we are holding an interest list for it. If you would like to be notified when and where it will be run again please fill in the form here.

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[su_quote cite="Hardy, B in MacIntyre, 1981, p211"]We dream in narrative, daydream in narrative, remember, anticipate, hope, despair, believe, doubt, plan, revise, criticise, construct, gossip, learn, hate, and love by narrative.[/su_quote]

As humans we make sense of our experiences through language and stories, yet the events of our lives are often inscribed in our bodies in ways that words alone cannot make sense of or shift. Together, narrative therapy and bush adventure therapy offer respectful and non-blaming practices that enable people to experience themselves in new ways and create space to better understand problems they may face in life. This workshop will explore how playful, whole-of-body adventures in nature and the stories we create about these experiences can support learning, connection with a preferred sense of oneself, and recovery from adverse life experiences.

Workshop Content

This two-day workshop provides an introduction to ideas and practices that join narrative therapy and bush adventure therapy. Participants will determine specific content to be covered from the following list:

  • understanding the narrative analogy*;
  • the concept of exchange in therapy vs practitioner as expert;
  • creating unity in diversity, bringing groups together around shared intentions;
  • externalising and collective externalisation practices, talking about problems safely*;
  • creating safe space, authoring rights and the politics in privacy;
  • power, self-surveillance, dominant narratives and territories of preferred identity;
  • news of difference and the interaction between experience and identity*;
  • outsider witnessing, special practices of noticing to strengthen identity;
  • memory theory, adverse life experiences and re-authoring practices*;
  • playful adventures and the somatosensory bath of bush adventure therapy.

* these topics are considered foundational in bringing narrative and bush adventure therapy practices together and, as such will definitely be covered over the weekend.

What is Narrative Therapy?

There are likely as many versions of narrative therapy as there are narrative practitioners, however each shares a set of assumptions and principles that unite narrative as a rich and ethical way of working with people from all walks of life. One description that resonates with bush adventure therapy follows:

[su_quote cite="Sween, E., 1998"]As people, we are inescapably meaning-makers. We have an experience, and then attach meaning to it. Since time immemorial, and the days around the campfire, we have been telling stories. Stories are the most familiar means of communicating the meaning we find in our experience. Narrative therapy is interested in the stories we live by - those stories we carry with us about who we are and what is most important to us. Narrative therapy involves unearthing these, understanding them and retelling them [in ways that make us stronger].[/su_quote]

Bush Adventure Therapy and Adventure Works

Bush Adventure Therapy (BAT) is a holistic approach to human health and wellbeing. Undertaking adventure in a natural environment within a safe small group offers a unique therapeutic milieu. When BAT experiences are personally chosen and individually tailored, the therapeutic potential is magnified.

Adventure Works (AW) have  found that natural environments offer a unique setting for intentional conversations and the gaining of helpful insights. Our BAT programs and Bush Counselling services are delivered by people trained in narrative therapy, family therapy, outdoor education and leadership. Our common aim across these mediums is to invite participants to reflect, act and relate in new, preferred ways. And research evidence demonstrates that people from all walks of life find BAT seriously good!

Workshop Location

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The venue for this workshop is still being finalised but will be within two hours drive from Melbourne.

The Description Below is for Pete's Place - Change display:none to display:block to show

The venue for this workshop will be a picturesque working farm and bush block with stunning views of Mt Wellington and the Huon Valley, located in Lower Longley about 30 minutes from Hobart. The workshop will use both indoor and outdoor spaces depending on weather. Accomodation will be camping in tents (byo camping gear) and all food for the two days is provided. If you are stuck for camping gear let us know when you register and we can likely help you out.

Getting There

Car pooling

If you are coming from Melbourne we can help to coordinate car pooling.

Flying in

If you are coming from interstate we can help support transport from and too the airport.

Workshop Fee

The workshop fee: $400.00 per person
This includes:

  • Food for the two days
  • Workshop content
  • Supplementary online content to revisit key concepts
  • A narrative and bush adventure therapy reading pack

We offer a 10% discount to current members of the Australian Association for Bush Adventure Therapy Inc and Current Students.

What to Expect

This workshop will invite participants to explore the concepts and practices of narrative and bush adventure therapy in a relaxed and semi-formal setting. Expect to participate actively in conversations and experiences. There will be opportunities to practice skills associated with each topic area and consider how you might take the ideas back to your particular context. Some of the practice sessions give the opportunity for participants to engage in real conversations with each other. These are highly structured, are intended to be ‘light’ in the content they explore, and are not intended to explore significant unresolved problems.

What to Bring


Warm comfortable clothing appropriate for bushwalking (waterproof jacket, good walking shoes and warm jumper, pants). Be prepared to spend at least a few hours each day outdoors on short walks with some steep and rocky sections. 


Bring camping gear to be self-sufficient (e.g. Tent, sleeping bag, camping mattress)

Food and cooking equipment will be provided.


We encourage a collaborative learning environment where we can encounter new ideas and linger awhile, as such it is important to come with an open mind and whatever other disposition that is useful to engage with some challenging and thought provoking ideas. Come prepared to sit in the sometimes uncomfortable space of not knowing, where there are not clear delineations between right and wrong.

Further Information

If you have any questions about the venue and logistics relating to travel, accommodation, food and other practicalities contact Pete

If you have any questions about the training content, what to expect and making a payment, please contact Ben

Important Note

While it is not the purpose of this workshop to engage you in therapy, we need to acknowledge that the potential exists for conversations and topic areas to trigger personal responses. It is important to come along knowing that this is possible and understand that sometimes personal responses come up unexpectedly. Training staff are professionals with extensive experience and can offer support if needed, however we will need to limit this support to the duration of the workshop. We expect that if personal concerns, issues or problems come up for you over the weekend that you will seek out further professional support following the workshop. We consider it  very important that practitioners are not hindered in their work by personal concerns, and as such strongly advocate for practitioners to undertake their own therapeutic work and/ or participate in regular formal supervision.

Workshop Facilitator

Ben Knowles

Ben began work in the outdoor education field in 1997. Over his adult working life he has found himself traversing the fields of outdoor education, teaching, training, bush adventure therapy and clinical therapy. Ben currently balances being a Director of Adventure Works Pty. Ltd., Secretary of the Australian Assocition for Bush Adventure Therapy and a Senior Clinician for Berry Street's Take Two Program. Read More...

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