Academic journal article Family Relations

Wilderness Therapy for Women: The Power of Adventure

Academic journal article Family Relations

Wilderness Therapy for Women: The Power of Adventure

Article excerpt

Cole, Ellen, Erdman, Eve, and Rothblum, Ester D. (Eds.). (1994). Wilderness Therapy for Women: The Power of Adventure. New York: Haworth Press. 262 pp. Paper ISBN 1-56023058-4, price $19.95.

This book draws attention to the important role wilderness experiences and physical adventure can play in women's mental health. The editors state that their goal is to increase the knowledge base and enliven the discussion about wilderness therapy for women. The book is intended for mental health professionals, both those who already practice some form of wilderness therapy and those who want to learn more about this approach, as well as for others who are involved in some aspect of conducting or teaching about wilderness therapy programs.

The book is divided into five sections: (a) Introduction, (b) Theoretical Perspectives, (c) Wilderness Therapy in Action, (d) Special Populations, and (e) Voices of Experience: Personal Narratives. In the introduction, the editors define wilderness therapy, give a brief history of wilderness programs, provide a rationale for the exclusive focus on women, and discuss the potential benefits to women of participating in wilderness therapy programs. The second section, Theoretical Perspectives, contains four articles that focus on the theoretical foundations of wilderness therapy. These contributors identify critical components of wilderness therapy programs that are related to desired outcomes and positive learning experiences. The section ends with an article that contains a feminist critique of traditional wilderness programs and focuses our attention on ethical considerations. We are reminded that wilderness programs have their roots in patriarchal society and were originally developed for boys and men. The author encourages the modification of adventure therapy programs so that those aspects harmful to women be removed or altered and presents a suggested model that builds on women's strengths. …

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