May 5th, 2023 from 9:00am – 5:00pm EST

**Registration for this event has closed**

If you are interested in the event or have questions, please email [email protected] for more information

Camp Mary Orton, Columbus, OH

Activity-based interventions can enhance rapport, spark creativity and drive engagement in the treatment process for individuals, families and groups! Adventure therapy is a practice approach for mental health treatment that uses activity and experience as a powerful agent for change. This conference explores how adventure therapy is used in a variety of treatment settings, including individual, family and group therapy as well as private practice and community mental health settings.

Keynote and workshop content will span multiple aspects of adventure therapy practice: foundations, ethics, intervention, and more! Our aim is to introduce you to this innovative practice approach, offering participants the chance to explore a variety of applications. Expect to gain a number of experiential interventions that you can incorporate in practice!

The conference is located at the beautiful Camp Mary Orton in Columbus, OH. Lunch is included with registration; lunch options are found below in the schedule. An optional campfire social is planned following the conference.

You can explore details on the website here or download the brochure below!

Conference Logistics

Continuing Education

Social Workers and Counselors – This workshop has been approved by the NASW Ohio Chapter for 6.0 CEs. NASW Ohio is recognized as a Continuing Education Approver for
social work and counselor CEs by the OCSWMFT Board. In order to be issued your CE certificate, you will be required to sign in, attend all sessions, and complete the course evaluation.

Learning Objectives

This conference is designed for practitioners of all experience levels, with a focus on introducing both new and experienced practitioners to the Adventure Therapy practice approach. Participants will:

  • Understand the foundational concepts, clinical models, and potential benefits of adventure therapy practice.
  • Know models of practice and applications of adventure therapy interventions in a variety of contexts.
  • Learn how to plan and implement adventure therapy ethically, effectively, and intentionally.

What to Expect

Adventure therapy is an active and experiential modality, yet it does not require athleticism, daring or any other extremes that the name might suggest. This will not be a typical sit-and-take-notes style of conference. To that end, we want you to know some important things about what to expect!

  • Sessions will be active and engaging, inviting all participants to learn through experience. Dress to be moving around, including wearing closed-toed shoes. 
  • Sessions may be indoors and/or outdoors. Dress for the weather and consider packing layers for the temperature fluctuations we experience in spring in Ohio!
  • Consider bringing a small backpack or day pack to easily carry layers, a water bottle, note-taking materials, and other supplies to accommodate transitioning between indoor and outdoor environments.
  • Know that how you choose to participate in sessions will always be up to you. We want you to choose what is best for your well-being, learning, and experience. 

Conference Schedule

(Click on each block for more details)

Meet and Greet

Gather early to have an opportunity to meet presenters and attendees, browse resources, and get your bearings for the event!

Adventure Therapy: What? So What? Now What?

Presenters: Bobbi Beale, PsyD & Kim Sacksteder, LISW-S, CCAT

This conference explores the practice approach of adventure therapy. Our keynote will start us off with answers to some fundamental questions to help us get grounded in some basics about this adventure therapy. What is it? Who is it for? Where can it happen? How is it delivered? And, most importantly, why adventure? Attendees will have the opportunity to engage in and reflect on what adventure therapy is all about!

A Clinical Model for Adventure Therapy Practice: The Facilitated Wave.

Presenter: Kim Sacksteder

The Adventure Therapy practice approach is informed by a clinical model named the Facilitated Wave Model. The ability to talk about our work with clients and administrators and a framework for structuring interventions are a critically important foundation for practice. We will explore the clinical mindset of an adventure therapist and then introduce the Facilitated Wave Model. This model provides structure for assessing, selecting interventions, facilitation, and evaluation from an adventure-based lens using experience as an intentional agent for change. Workshop participants will learn this model and explore how it may be applied in practice!

Adventure Therapy in Private Practice.

Presenters Christy Brock & Collin Rhoade

As the field of Adventure Therapy grows, as does the settings in which it is used. This workshop will give participants the information they need to begin using A.T. in their private practice, including ways to approach confidentiality, ethical issues that might arise, and initiatives they can do in the office setting. Participants will be able to ask questions and have conversations about their thoughts and concerns about A.T. in the private practice setting.

Even Better Than Recess: Doing Adventure Therapy in the Schools.

Presenter: Brian Strozewski

This presentation will provide a brief description of the types of AT modalities that can be implemented in schools (individual, peer group, group, team, classroom), followed by facilitation of Adventure Therapy activities that are easily adaptable to various school modalities and settings, and finish with a discussion of key clinical and ethical considerations of using AT in schools. Participants will use experiential learning as participants and be introduced to activity design considerations and AT facilitation and process skills to use with youth.

Lunch is included with registration. When you register, you will be asked to select a box lunch offering. Descriptions of the lunch options are provided below. There are options for gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan diets. 

  • Turkey and Provolone: Turkey and provolone on multigrain bread with chips, fresh fruit salad, and a fresh baked cookie.
  • Italian Sub: Ham, salami, provolone, lettuce, tomato, banana peppers and Italian dressing on fresh baked Italian bread and served with chips, bow tie pasta salad, and a fresh baked cookie.
  • Greek Veggie Wrap (Vegetarian): Flour tortilla with lettuce, tomato, cucumbers, onions and black olives and served with chips, fresh fruit salad, and a fresh baked cookie.
  • Roast Beef and Provolone: Roast beef and provolone on rye with chips, fresh fruit salad, and a fresh baked cookie.
  • Garden Salad (GF/Vegan): Spring Mix lettuce with sliced Roma tomatoes, diced cucumbers, black olives, red onions, and garbanzo beans. Served with GF dessert.
  • Mediterranean Sub (Vegetarian): Julienne vegetables, spring mix, balsamic vinaigrette, hummus on fresh baked Italian bread with chips, fresh fruit salad, and a fresh baked cookie.

Adventure Therapy: Trauma-Informed and Resiliency Oriented.

Presenter: Bobbi Beale

Adventure Therapy, an evidence-supported treatment, is based on interactive interventions that are uniquely engaging and clinically impactful. The multi-sensorial nature of the activities is an ideal application for trauma impacted participants. Integrating activities into therapy sessions creates an engaging environment, particularly for anyone not that interested in “talk therapy”. AT is well aligned with trauma-informed values and principles: strong engagement and retention, fits collaboratively within a continuum of services, both age and developmentally appropriate, culturally humble, and able to be provided in local communities by a wide range of providers. Trauma-informed AT can provide 1) safety and support with 2) experiential opportunities to promote resilience, healthy recovery and optimal brain development throughout the lifespan.

Adventure Therapy with Groups: Cultivating the Space for Growth.

Presenters: Beth Sandman & Heather Syrus

Group therapy is an integral part of service provision for many community mental health agencies and a powerful tool for change. This workshop is focused on taking a deeper dive into how we create therapeutic conditions that support growth in group therapy settings, a skill that’s critical to effectively facilitating adventure therapy groups. We’ll explore connections between these therapeutic conditions, SAMHSA’s key principles of a trauma-informed care approach, and Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics (NMT) concepts. Then, attendees will learn how to use adventure-based interventions to build an effective treatment environment and make space for attendees to stretch themselves by practicing facilitation skills that will help their clients grow and change.

Adventure Therapy with Individual Clients.

Presenters: Christy Brock & Collin Rhoade

Adventure Therapy has many applications in individual therapy settings!. In this workshop we will show participants how to utilize this work with the individual in a myriad of settings, including offices, outdoors, local parks, and others. Participants will learn the basic groundwork for engaging clients in activity and reflection, as well as several tools they can implement into their work immediately.

Addressing Individual Client Needs in Adventure-Based Group and Individual Therapy.

Presenter: Jesy Cordle

The purpose of this session is to discuss the various factors that influence an individual’s experience in adventure therapy as well as adapting adventure-based programming to fit the needs of individual clients. This workshop will introduce the domains of wellness; discuss how they influence individual and group starting points; and evaluate how to address these aspects when matching, shaping, and facilitating adventure therapy with individuals and groups. This workshop will be informed by recreational therapy practices and The Facilitated Wave Model.

Family Adventure Therapy: Bringing the Fun Home!

Presenter: Bobbi Beale

It can be a challenge to engage parents/caretakers, who frequently have their own trauma histories and stressors to deal with, on top of their concerns about their children. AT sessions can be designed to help parents to reframe problem behaviors, upgrade or improve their parenting skills as their children move through new developmental stages, and strengthen their relationships. We’ll explore the importance of routine and how it’s reinforced with treatment consistency by utilizing a standard outline and foundational information for both parent and family sessions: check-in; review; new theme; learning activity; reinforcing game; and a challenge-to-go. We will also have opportunities to rehearse some of the activities, guide the learning and discuss adaptations.

A Clinical Model for Adventure Therapy Practice: The Facilitated Wave.

Presenter: Kim Sacksteder

The adventure therapy practice approach is informed by a clinical model named the Facilitated Wave Model. The ability to talk about our work with clients and administrators and a framework for structuring interventions are a critically important foundation for practice. We will explore the clinical mindset of an adventure therapist and then introduce the Facilitated Wave Model. This model provides structure for assessing, selecting interventions, facilitation, and evaluation from an adventure-based lens using experience as an intentional agent for change. Workshop participants will learn this model and explore how it may be applied in practice!

Now What?

In our closing session, we will consider the question “Now what?” to generate some ideas about what is next for us. Our presenters will support us in reflecting on our learning, cementing connections made, and imagining our own next steps with Adventure Therapy!

Campfire Social

Building connections is one of the best parts of a conference gathering! Following the conference, participants are invited to attend a campfire social at Camp Mary Orton. This event is a bring-your-own food and beverage outdoor event and will be dependent on weather conditions. Consider packing a camp chair for the day!

About Your Conference Planners & Presenters

Bobbi Beale, PsyD

Bobbi is a clinical psychologist and a Co-Director of the Center for Innovative Practices & the Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health Center of Excellence at Case Western Reserve University.  Dr. Beale has over 30 years of practice and expertise in trauma, resilience, system of care and behavioral health treatments for children, youth and families, specializing in Intensive Home-Based Treatment and Adventure Therapy. She launched her own training and consulting business, Life Adventures for All, to continue working on validating AT with clinical research. Additionally, Bobbi collaborated on a book, Adventure Group Psychotherapy: An Experiential Approach to Treatment, which explores what is necessary for an experiential therapy group to function effectively, and the practical skills needed to inspire success.

Christy Brock, LISW-S, CCAT

Christy has been working in some capacity as a Social Worker since 2006. She earned her Independent License in 2010, and became a Certified Clinical Adventure Therapist in July of 2021. She was first introduced to the world of Adventure Therapy right here at Camp Mary Orton, where she did her undergraduate internship while earning her Bachelor’s in Social Work at Capital University. She then moved home to Cincinnati, Ohio, to earn her Master of Social Work degree from the University of Cincinnati. She started New Adventures, the first Adventure Therapy program in the area, in April of 2018, working with children and families. She is still in the Greater Cincinnati area, and lives with her partner and son, as well as their two dogs, Luna and Sunny.

Jesy Cordle, PhD(c), LRT, CTRS, CCAT

Jesy is the Director of Programs at Chicago Voyageurs and a doctoral candidate at Clemson University in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management concentrating in Recreational Therapy. She obtained her undergraduate degree in Outdoor Leadership and Education at Toccoa Falls College before eventually pursuing a master’s degree concentrating in Recreational Therapy at Clemson University. She has worked in adventure therapy for over a decade with experience in a variety of client populations and practice settings as well as teaching collegiate courses in the fields of adventure therapy, recreational therapy, and adventure-based programming. She currently serves on the Leadership Council for AEE’s Therapeutic Adventure Professional Group as the Professional Development Coordinator and on the CCAT Certification Committee.

Collin Rhoade, LPCC

Collin Rhoade, MA, LPCC is from Cincinnati, Ohio and is a Co-Founder of Inner Trek. Collin uses adventure therapy, including rock climbing therapy and AT intensives, and other therapy modalities to work with individuals. Inner Trek also facilitates therapeutic outdoor experiences for groups of students and adults. Collin received his Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Indiana Wesleyan University. He also enjoys running and caring for the family’s garden and chickens with his wife and four children.

Kim Sacksteder, LISW-S, CCAT

Kim has been providing adventure therapy services in the Columbus area for over 20 years. She developed and managed adventure therapy programming in Columbus, OH at Camp Mary Orton and The Buckeye Ranch, primarily serving youth who’ve experienced trauma. Kim has experience doing this work in a variety of settings and levels of care, as well as training providers. Her passion for this work led her to co-found Adventure Therapist, LLC, a training and consulting business whose sole focus is on adventure therapy. In addition to this, Kim has served the Association for Experiential Education (AEE) as the Therapeutic Adventure Professional Group (TAPG) Best Practices Committee Chair, TAPG Leadership Council Secretary and Chair, and AEE Accreditation Council Member. She is also co-author of Adventure Group Psychotherapy: An Experiential Approach to Treatment.

Beth Sandman, LISW-S, CCAT

While pursuing her master’s degree in Social Work, Beth stumbled into the field of Adventure Therapy in 2008 and found her professional niche. Over the last 15 years, she has facilitated AT groups in classrooms, gyms, rec rooms, living rooms, treatment center basements, parks, fields, creeks, and woods. She’s currently a clinical supervisor and oversees the Adventure Therapy program at the Buckeye Ranch. Additionally, Beth has served the broader field of adventure therapy serving on AEE’s Therapeutic Adventure Professional Group Leadership Council, including a term as Chair. 

Tuesdey Spangler, LISW-S, CCAT

Tuesdey (she/her) is a Licensed Independent Social Worker with the supervisory designation in Ohio. Tuesdey manages her private practice, Outdoor Connections & Counseling, in Columbus, Ohio and has been practicing adventure therapy for over a decade. She has been a member of the Association for Experiential Education (AEE) since 2010. She is currently the Outgoing Chair of AEE’s Therapeutic Adventure Professional Group (TAPG) Leadership Council and has served in the past, coordinating several conference offerings. Tuesdey has a demonstrated history of clinical practice and leadership in the adventure therapy field.

Brian Strozewski, LPCC-S

Brian has over a decade of experience in community mental health in Northeast Ohio incorporating Adventure Therapy in a variety of settings and has been presenting on and training others in Adventure Therapy since 2011. Brian started his career at Alliance High School in Stark County as a School Based Mental Health Counselor, then worked at Crossroads Health in Lake County as an Outpatient Mental Health Counselor serving youth and families with complex trauma before becoming Supervisor of Intensive Family Services, where he trained and supervised staff and developed programming for at-risk youth. Brian recently opened his own Adventure Therapy-focused private practice, Everchanging Counseling and Consulting, LLC, near his home in Cuyahoga County.

Heather Syrus, LSW

While studying at The Ohio State University for her MSW in 2017, Heather was offered an internship at The Buckeye Ranch with an opportunity to learn about and practice Adventure Therapy. Finding a passion in the field of experiential education, Heather went on to accept a position providing adventure therapy to groups on The Buckeye Ranch’s Adventure Therapy team in the residential program. In 2021, Heather became the MHDT Clinical Supervisor, and is currently overseeing the Residential Group Therapy program at The Buckeye Ranch while working to obtain her CCAT.