The School of Human Services and Social Work at Griffith University has forged a new partnership with the national peak organisation of Bush Adventure Therapy in Australia, the Australian Association for Bush Adventure Therapy (AABAT) and local provider, Adventure Works.

“Our school recognises the need to offer innovative, experiential learning activities.”  Deputy Head of School (Learning and Teaching) Prof Donna McAuliffe. “This opportunity is part of an ongoing initiative to ensure our students will be equipped to meet the challenges of the future.”

Recently staff and students attended a unique 2 day professional training experience to promote environmental and health benefits of bush therapy.

The first day the team learnt about the theory that makes BAT such a useful tool.

“It includes a process of using best practice evidence to make an educational expedition tailored to all who wish to be involved.” Organiser Amanda Smith was reported saying.

Education through participation marked the second day. Leaving the city behind people travelled to the beautiful property of Woodstock to start the day with whole group activities that left a smile on every face. This was followed by a ‘create your own adventure’ where smaller groups participated in an activity of either canoeing, bush walking or mindful movement. “Doing the activity helped me understand how it might help some person who is really struggling.” said Sylvia a student participant.

Bush Adventure Therapy (BAT) has been a helpful intervention at all levels, from the early stages of prevention to the recovery or continuing care of the individuals.

BUSH encompasses the whole range of environments, from small areas to vast expanses of natural bushland and coastal areas.

ADVENTURE includes challenges of the mind, body and spirit for people of all cultures, genders, ages, stages and identities.

THERAPY is inclusive of general therapeutic outcomes and the specific intent of therapy, for individuals and groups and communities – any of us experiencing difficulty or disadvantage or disconnection.

There is a consensus emerging across multiple fields of research that contact with nature gives us benefits in many areas including social connection and support. Bush Adventure Therapy also improves our physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, behavioural and cultural wellbeing.

BAT provides the next generation of emerging practitioners with the appropriate skills to make a real difference.

For more information about the BAT initiative at the School of Human Services and Social Work please contact: Amanda Smith, School of Human Services and Social Work: a.smith2@griffith.edu.au (07) 3382 1332