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Norton to collaborate with international adventure therapy workshop

Christine Norton
Christine Norton

By Jack McClellan
Office of Media Relations
April 23, 2018

SAN MARCOS – Christine Norton, an associate professor of social work at Texas State University, will participate in an international research and practice collaborative centered on the emerging field of adventure therapy and green social work, culminating in a three-day workshop in August in Sydney, Australia.

The collaboration, which is partially funded by a grant from the International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW), will also include three pre-workshop online video conferences for international social work educators to discuss adventure therapy. Norton is the co-principal investigator for the grant.

The workshop, called “Think Tank: Training Effective International Adventure Therapy Practitioners,” will be run by Adventure Works, a company that provides therapy experiences in the Australian wilderness. The workshop will take place in a bushland cave west of Sydney and focus on developing shared understandings about the essential knowledge and skills needed by adventure therapy practitioners. Other institutions involved include Griffith University, Australia, University of Manitoba, Canada, University of Michigan and National Taiwan Normal University, Taiwan.

"Adventure therapy is the prescriptive use of outdoor adventure activities by licensed mental health professionals that kinesthetically engage clients affectively, cognitively and behaviorally on their path to mental health and wellbeing," Norton said.

In preparation for the workshop, IASSW faculty grantees from the participating institutions will collaborate to gather information regarding the different international approaches to teaching and training adventure therapy professionals.

"As with any new, cutting-edge treatment, the goal is to develop best practices and outcome research so that someday the intervention will be considered an evidence-based practice," said Norton, who is one of only seven research scientists nationally doing work in adventure therapy. "By bringing together the international adventure therapy practitioners from all over the world at major universities, we hope to move in this direction."

After the workshop, Sidney will also host the eighth annual International Adventure Therapy Conference.

Norton, who has been involved in international adventure therapy since 2008, is the author of Adventure Therapy Around the Globe: International Perspectives and Diverse Approaches.

About Texas State University

Founded in 1899, Texas State University is among the largest universities in Texas with an enrollment of 38,694 students on campuses in San Marcos and Round Rock. Texas State’s 184,000-plus alumni are a powerful force in serving the economic workforce needs of Texas and throughout the world. Designated an Emerging Research University by the State of Texas, Texas State is classified under “Doctoral Universities: Higher Research Activity,” the second-highest designation for research institutions under the Carnegie classification system.

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