The Prescott College Adventure-Based Psychotherapy concentration is designed for self-directed learners with some background in either mental health or outdoor/ experiential education who wish to specialize in adventure-based intervention. The 15-credit hour concentration is in addition to the 60-credit hours required for the master of science.

This is one of very few academic programs in the United States that incorporates the experience of the wilderness in modalities designed to heal clients and facilitate their personal exploration. Graduates possess competency in both conventional psychotherapy and adventure therapy, including wilderness leadership (if desired), and are employable in a range of settings, from educational to clinical.

A 700-hour (minimum) applied practicum encompassing both clinical (traditional) and outdoor settings interweaves throughout the ongoing coursework. The practicum focus on experiential development of outdoor activity skills and includes Wilderness First Responder first aid training for students who are not already certified.

In order to meet graduation requirements, Adventure-Based Psychotherapy students must demonstrate minimal competencies in backcountry travel/living, and at least one area of skill concentration – for example, rock-climbing, paddling, challenge course, skiing – as well as Wilderness First Responder (WFR) training in first aid.

Four required Intensives are an important element of the concentration in Adventure-Based Psychotherapy. 

  • Backcountry Intensive provides field experience in backpacking integrating foundational Adventure-based Counseling theory.
  • An Urban Intensive emphasizes Adventure-based Counseling treatment applications in an urban setting.
  • Nature Intensive focuses on Adventure-based Counseling treatment applications in a natural setting.
  • Special Issue Intensive. Students may substitute relevant external education with prior approval

In all intensives, special treatment issues, population, and setting will be selected for focus based on current research and field trends.

Sample Courses

Course Code Course Credits
MAEP51040 Foundations of Adventure-based Psychotherapy 3
MAEP51041 Treatment Applications in Adventure-based Psychotherapy 3
MAEP51042 Assessment and Interventions in Adventure Based Psychotherapy 3
MAEP51043 Ethics and Risk Mitigation in Adventure Based Psychotherapy 3
MAEP51044 Research in Adventure Based Psychotherapy 3

Application Requirements

  • $40 application fee
  • 2 Essays
  • Completed Application
  • Current resume
  • Official transcripts

Career Outcomes

  • Wilderness Therapist

Learning Outcomes

  • Professional competence in counseling skills and practice
  • The ability to integrate global and local issues with professional counseling practice
  • An awareness of the need to cultivate respect for cultural differences and similarities and the ability to apply this cultural sensitivity to the counseling profession
  • Identification and development of a personal theoretical knowledge base that promotes an intentional counseling practice
  • The skills to assess, develop, and apply interventions and techniques based on the culture, uniqueness, and needs of each client
  • An awareness and understanding of how to resolve ethical and legal issues in the counseling profession

Prescott College offers something really unique and that uniqueness involves having a program that weaves into the fabrics: somatics, eco-psychology, expressive arts therapy, equine therapy, adventure-based therapy. I'm learning from all of those people in my cohort."

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Jodi Straker