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A Change of Scenery: Wilderness Therapy Treatment for Inpatients in Acute Care

Kimberley M. Woodford, Lara Fenton, Jacqueline Connors


While there is substantial evidence to suggest that wilderness therapy (WT) is beneficial for individuals with mental illnesses, little research explores how such programs can be used to augment transitional support to adults who are currently in acute clinical care. This article provides evidence to show that WT has a positive impact on the recovery and transition of this population. Twenty-four inpatients participated in a three-day, two-night WT camp supported by a registered nurse, two Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialists, and two recreation therapy student interns. Results indicate the WT program positively impacted clients’ positive moods, social skills, daily living, and coping skills, while providing a break from an institutional setting. A therapeutic recreation (TR) practice perspective, described through the APIED process (assessment, planning, implementation, evaluation, and documentation) is presented.

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Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist; Assessment, Planning, Implementation, Evaluation, Documentation (APIED) process; mental illness; clinical population; adults; wilderness therapy

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