Adventure-based Counseling

In the contemporary society, the importance of counseling may not be overemphasized. Since counseling is majorly concerned with problem solving, the role of counselors is to facilitate counseling. Counselors are expected to facilitate change in the perception of the problematic situations by assisting the client take a deep and thorough evaluation of his role in the problem context. Considering that counseling is a process, it is the role of counselors to work with the clients so as to help them brighten their lives. The crucial goal underlying counseling is to impart senses of sell efficacy, as well as empower the clients so that they can cope with the problematic situation even when alone. However, the effectiveness of counseling is dependent upon various issues, including the counseling approach. Adventure based counseling has been proposed as one of the approaches.
Teresa, Fletcher and Hinkle further examine the development of adventure based counseling, the differences between adventure based learning and other counseling approaches and how adventure based learning can be applied to diverse population. Fletcher and Hinkle (277) consider adventure based counseling is a therapeutic approach that combines outdoor education, experimental learning, personal exploration and groups counseling and which has the potential of adaptation to every setting. The approach is informed by various theories, including cognitive and behavioral theories, affective approaches and experiential learning, among other events that have the potential of attaining a positive change. The approach is described as a counseling approach that creates the allowance for the clients to learn practically. According to the authors, if well implemented through a program, has the potential of promoting personal growth, support, accountability, trust and even personal energy. The counselor only needs to come up with an experiential activity that largely associates with the counselee. Consequently, the counselor is required to offer directives that tailor the adventure to the goals of counseling. After the adventure, the counselor asks the counselor to continue reinforcing positive behavior changes, change negative interpretations pertaining to the experience and concentrate on changing the individual`s lifestyle. Various facilitation styles could be employed in enhancing the experience of the counselee. For instance, the counselor could let the experience take its course, speak after experience or speak for the experiences.
Adventure based counseling is known to have evolved from experiential learning (Fletcher and Hinkle 278). Despite the fact that the modality is oriented towards risk, it has the potential of delivering desirable results when applied in the counseling of the youth, managers, supervisors, athletes, the disabled, couples, families and persons who are interested in being adventurous (279). Moreover, they acknowledge that although the empirical researches in the support of adventure based counseling is limited, its potential to improve counseling may not be disputed. The effectiveness of the approach is dependent upon a desirable program and application of an array of common counseling skills. Soft and hard counseling skills are necessary, aside from other skills such as those pertaining to effective communication, problem solving, reflective listening, leadership and a reflection of ethical behaviors (pp 281).
I concur with the authors. The fact that adventure based counseling is informed by various theories implies that the approach can be particularly useful to counseling. Various counseling theories, such as cognitive and behavioral theories have been widely applied separately and yielded desirable results. As such, it is expectable that a combination of these would deliver satisfactory results, more than the modalities that rely on the individual theories. In my view, as far as the descriptions are concerned, the adventure based counseling approach does not differ significantly from the modalities that combine hypnosis, psychodynamic and behavioral therapies but which are limited to clinical setting. Most of the attempts have been successful. Arguably, well over eighty five percent of clients respond to clinical hypnotherapy. There is empirical evidence for effectiveness of such a therapeutic combination in the treating various problems such as substance abuse, mood, personality, anxiety, eating, personality and other psychotic disorders. The modality can be administered as an individual therapy and even in group settings following the self-help approach. The approach has effectively supported treatment of problems pertaining to maladaptive thinking patterns, as well as the underlying beliefs. For instance, for a depressed person with worthless feelings, therapist will be helpful in encouraging the person to perceive such beliefs as mere hypotheses rather than facts. The therapists would also encourage patients to test out such beliefs through experimentation. Counselors may also speak before the occurrence of the adventure to enable the client understands how the event would work.
The insights of the authors have influenced some ways. In one way, it has prompted me to rethink about pursuing ways in which adventure based counseling could be incorporated into counseling practices. In another way, I now think that inclining to one approach to counseling, when there are various approaches, is to be limited. There is the need to combine them. The fact that a counseling approach may be subject to limited empirical research in the support of its efficacy does not render the approach ineffective. The potential efficacy of adventure based counseling may have been tarnished by flawed experimental designs.
Work Cited
Fletcher, Teresa and Hinkle, Scott. “Adventure Based Counseling: An innovation Approach”. Journal of Counseling and Development. 2002 80.3