Adventure-Based Therapy Tool
The basis for all of Etgarim’s activities is adventure-based therapy. A therapeutic and rehabilitative tool, adventure- based therapy aims to bring change through positive experiences, learning, and empowerment, and usually takes place in an environment that presents certain elements of risk. Adventure-based therapy has proven particularly effective in working with populations with disabilities. In Etgarim’s experience, it has been a unique and empowering intervention that enables individuals with disabilities to internalize the concept of “Yes I can”.
The effectiveness of the natural environment as a therapeutic and rehabilitative tool has been known since the beginning of the 20th century and has been supported by empirical evidence. This type of intervention has been alternatively called outdoor therapy (ODT), wilderness therapy, adventure therapy and adventure-based counseling.
The body of knowledge addressing “adventure” as a therapeutic and rehabilitative tool is based on several theoretical foundations, such as:
a. positive psychology and the strength perspective, which focuses not on the pathology but on the strengths and abilities within the individual, acknowledging unique competencies and personal potential as a basis for growth.
b. the rehabilitative approach, which maintains that each person, with or without a disability, has the right to achieve maximum self-realization.
The adventure-based tool works through four axes – motor, emotional, social and cognitive – to increase the participant’s sense of self-efficacy. ‘Self-efficacy’ means that participants perceive their ability to perform acquired actions as increasing their ability to achieve goals and cope with obstacles in everyday life. The adventure process allows for participants to realize that many of their perceived disabilities are not actual but imagined.
In addition, the adventure process instills in participants important educational and environmental values, offers inclusion and exposure to the community, and can bring about a change of attitudes in the wider population toward persons with disabilities.