I’ve been chatting quite a bit with Lynne Shallcross, Senior writer for Counseling Today magazine, the publication of American Counseling Association. Our conversation started when Lynne asked me about the nuts and bolts of Active Sessions, something I’ve developed at Alaska Pacific University, as well as in my own private practice.
Now, active interventions (or active sessions) are not new. Outward Bound is what many of us think about when we talk about wilderness therapy, and for good reason. Kurt Hahn, OB founder, began the biggest push toward reconnecting youth with the power of actively engaging youth through their experiences in the wilderness. This model has existed since the 1960s and continues to be refined. But even further back, the great thinkers, such as Socrates, recognized that mental fitness is not separate from physical fitness.
The Child and Nature Network, whom I’ve been involved with for a while now, mostly in shared vision but also in looking at programming, provides a wealth of research addressing the prevalence of Nature Deficit Disorder.
Active Sessions, as they are being defined, are counseling sessions which involve an active component. These components include: walking, running, nordic skiing, and hiking (as well as other ideas, I’m sure). These sessions engage individuals (and the psychotherapist) in ways that can be incredibly helpful to the therapy process. For some individuals, active sessions are the best possible choice. Almost anyone can be a candidate for active sessions, in fact.
But isn’t this different than sitting in the chair? YES!
The differences are notable for the clinician, and practitioners who are considering adding active sessions into their repetoire must take the time to get properly trained, as in any other specialty or method.
In my conversations with Lynne of Counseling Today, we discussed a lot of these differences… what does it take to offer active sessions? Who can do these? What client issues are appropriate? How do you handle confidentiality? These are great questions, and questions that must be asked well before considering this as a modality for your clients.
To assist counselors and people who are interested in active sessions, I’ll be increasing my offerings of professional workshops and classes, usually only offered for university functions and my own clients.
So… be on the lookout! I’ll be adding techniques, tips, and ideas for implementation. I’ll also be adding schedules for workshops, conversation points, and other tidbits.
Get active, keep thinking, and stay fit, mentally and physically!