Earlier this month I travelled with Emily Scott, another True North practitioner, to the states to participate with the 7th International Adventure Therapy Conference, or 7IATC. We arrived on the 4th and spent time catching up with our colleagues Lynn Van Hoof from Belgium and Leiv Einar Gabrielsen and Carina Ribe Fernee from Norway. We had gotten to know these European friends from their visits over the last few years to learn more about Australian adventure therapy programs.
I felt fortunate to be accepted as a presenter at the conference and presented Friday morning about “Connection before Correction” and how important relationship is in therapeutic work. I provided a small packet of therapeutic activities Emily and I have found useful and enjoyed connecting with the various professionals and students that came to see our presentation.
One thing that was abundantly clear was that the adventure therapy community is one of the most gracious, caring and supportive communities you can find. Of course, we have known this as this is one factor that drew us into this work but it was emphasised by all the astonishing people we got to spend the week with. Despite our feverish debate as academics and disagreements on research or practice methods one thing was certain. We were lucky enough to spend time in rooms learning with people who were motivated by nothing more than simply helping other people.
This enthusiasm was inspiring. It reminded me of the simple things that work in therapy. When people connect with each other really important things happen. This is really the whole philosophy behind “Connection before Correction” and why programs don’t change people, People Change People.
Most exciting announcement is that the 8th International Adventure Therapy Conference will be held in Sydney 2018.