Adventure Based Counseling

“They Thought I Was Crazy Taking People on Trips Around the World For Therapy…
Until They Saw the Results I Was Getting”

Rock Climbing at Bastille Crack (1988) - El Dorado Canyon, CO

Ice Climbing at Mount Washington (2018) - N. Conway, NH

Now, I have to say, I have not “cracked the code” on addiction, PTSD treatment, marriage counseling or any other problem you have. The answers have been here all along. I just have a new way of looking at the problem and have developed methods that are successful in treating people. And the number one culprit on my list for why so many other programs don’t succeed is the 50 minute hour. To me the 50 minute hour is nonsense. Not even worth the effort.


Simply stated, it is not enough time to really get to the root of the problem. I need at least 100 hours of interactive instruction with you. Anything before that is just covering old ground.


This is because psychological and marriage problems are complex. You could easily say that overcoming addiction, PTSD or marriage problems is harder than learning a foreign language. There are far more people that are bilingual than have had their life restored to happiness.


In fact learning a foreign language is easier than you think. But you have to be in the right environment.


When I was in college I had a friend named Robert who went on a 9 month backpacking trip through Mexico and Central America. When he returned he was fluent in Spanish.


I on the other hand I took four years of Spanish in high school and two in college. I studied Spanish for six years. Every day for four years, than once a week for two. Minus the summers.


Do you think I know how to speak Spanish? Not a chance. Robert is still fluent in Spanish (yes we still talk occasionally).


Why was Robert able to become fluent in 9 months while I can’t speak a word of Spanish after 6 years (well, besides ¿Como se dice en Englais?)? The difference was the environment that we were in. Robert was immersed in an environment where he had no choice but to learn Spanish so everything about the way he learned had to change. I, on the other hand, was force fed lists of verbs and their conjugates. I simply did not spend enough time in an appropriate environment for anything I learned to stick.


The same reason I didn’t learn Spanish is the same reason the 50 minute hour once a week doesn’t work. If I really want to get to the root of your problem I have to have an environment more like the one Robert was in.


A lesson I learned so many years ago that day on the boat with the kid is that you have to isolate people to quickly get to the root of the problem. Put them in an unfamiliar environment and introduce them to new skills.


So before we go any further. We have two things here. An environment that I am in control of and is foreign to you. And activities designed to challenge your beliefs about yourself. The whole trip is designed to change the way you think about life and solve problem. To change the way you see the world by the way you interact with it. And how to cope with uncomfortable situations.


Allow me explain how this will fix any problems that you are having.


There are 3 things that need to take place for success.


As I’ve mentioned, an environment that I have control over where we are in nature. Nature has healing qualities.

Daily 90 minute counseling sessions with follow up. It’s the feedback and interaction after the session where the real progress is made.

Trust. This is the big one. In fact, this is the number one issue in counseling. How to gain and keep trust.

Adventure Based Counseling creates the prefect storm for these three things to come together and create lasting change.


Awareness is your first step to change. Unless you are aware— you do not pay attention to the world around you. Especially if you are depressed. People who are depressed are not even aware of what needs to be changed. And 85% of clients that I see are depressed. This is a big barrier that we have to break through. But it is also why the adventure based model is so successful. It’s hard to be depressed when you are being challenged intellectually, emotionally and physically in some of the most beautiful places in the world. Depression very quickly takes a back seat and awareness comes out in full force.


I quickly assess what type of learner you are and how you respond to stress.


The trust building comes quickly and naturally because of the environment we are in. Whether we are sailing, climbing or night diving you must rely on the other person you are with to accomplish the task. The deeper we go into the trip the more interdependent we become on one and other. By changing the environment and moving you out of your comfort zone I am setting you up to experience the world differently— in a way the re-orients your life to the bigger picture.


This has many powerful, positive effects that last for rest of your life. We have all known about people who have had life changing moments such as a near death experience that profoundly changed who they were as a person and how they lived their lives. Here’s some good news. You don’t need to have a near death experience to have the same results. The adventure based counseling model is able to create these same types of life changing experiences.


You will seem to have changed overnight. Many areas of your life will have drastically improved:


Accountability – Putting yourself in an environment where you and only you are accountable for what happens— you quickly realize that you are responsible for your actions and the outcome. Accountability is one of the first things to sink in on an adventure based counseling trip. Once this is imprinted on your mind you will stop the self-destructive behaviors that are frightening and confusing. You will begin to be responsible for yourself again.


Enhanced cooperation – It is difficult to make it very far in a trip without learning how to cooperate. This is an important element of the trip and an important life skill. Once you have learned the importance of cooperation and how to do it well— your whole family life will be different. You will begin to take an active role in the family again— positively contributing instead of draining on the family resources.


More effective communication – Just like cooperation, effective communication is impressed upon your mind because of the environment. The communication skills learned in the adventure part of the trip carry over into the counseling sessions. This means that progress is made at a much more rapid pace. When you return you’ll be willing to talk to you about what it going on in your live. You will get to know your family or spouse all over again and can begin to build a strong and healthy relationship with them.


Increased sharing in decision making – Once you’re in an unfamiliar environment where you must rely on someone else for safety and support you will quickly lose the “I know everything” attitude. Shared decision making will be a part of life everyday on the trip and will carry over into your life and relationships.


Greater trust in others – This is a tough one for most addicts, PTSD sufferers and anyone whose marriage is on the rocks. Anyone can fool a counselor once a week for 50 minutes that they trust them. Like I said earlier, this is one of the toughest things for a counselor to achieve. The adventure based model makes it easy. Trust naturally grows as we learn to communicate with each other and rely on each other in the decision making. The cooperation that we develop then quickly turns into trust. The best part for you is not only will you trust yourself more. You will be able to trust your spouse and those that care about you again. You will now truly understand the importance of trust in a relationship.


Breakdown of interpersonal barriers – Once trust is established through effective communication and cooperation you will begin to do thing you didn’t believe you could when we began the trip. This is when psychological barriers begin to break down. It’s only after this happens that we can really start getting to the root of the problem. Once those barriers are gone the flood gates have been opened and an outpouring of locked up emotion is freed. This is the critical moment of change that all other attempts have failed at. This is where real change begins. You’ll be stunned and sobbing with joy when you return a different – better person.


Personal Growth – This is the end result. Now you can grow into the person that you have always wanted to be. The fears of jails and death are replaced with dreams of college, careers and grandkids. The happy marriage you imagined when you first took your vows will becomes a reality or you can put the trauma of war behind you. Feeling healthy and happy allows you to start focusing in your life again and doing things that make you happy.


Increased logical reasoning – This naturally leads to better decision making. You will no longer make those poor decision that have you scratching your head in confusion then doing your best not to have an emotional breakdown. Now you will be able to trust in yourself to make sound decisions.


Increased concentration – This will carry over into many areas of your life. You will improve in school. If you are college age this means no more wasted money on failed classes. This will also help with your job. You will be in a better position to accomplish anything you set out to do.


Self-confidence – When you do things that you thought you would never be able to accomplish and overcomes fears that you had. This is when your self-confidence really begins to grow. We all know that confidence is important. But most of us just don’t know how important it really is. This may be the most noticeable area of improvement when you return. A confident person is a happy person. A confident person is a self-reliant person. And most importantly confident people want to improve their lives and help others. You will be all these things.


Improved problem solving skills – This is where you will learn to cope with what has been driving you to drink and do drugs or fail to appropriately handle the problems in your relationship. More specifically, this is what will keep you from relapsing or continually fighting with your spouse. You will have learned that there are better ways to solve problems than running from them.