To begin with, there are a few different terms for “BAT” such as:

  • integrative outdoor healthcare
  • wilderness therpay
  • outdoor adventure interventions

In short, the most popular term is ‘bush adventure therapy’ here in Australia. Generally, BAT provides an alternative for young people who don’t respond to the more traditional ‘counselling room’ model. It offers a combination of professional interventions in nature.

The approach is strength based, giving to people’s self determination and strengths. Organisations specialising in BAT have individual counselling and tailor to the individuals a specific program. Generally, staff use comprehensive therapeutic and ethical frameworks combined with the natural environment working with their clients. Because, they often work in small groups, they are become connected within the landscape of people’s lives and to promote healthy life changes.


In brief, to quote Outdoors Victoria “Bush Adventure Therapy is being used in Australia for the prevention, early intervention, treatment and recovery from broad ranging adversity. Some of these issues are:

  • mental health concerns
  • substance issues
  • chronic illness
  • disability
  • complex trauma
  • PTSD
  • family violence
  • family breakdown
  • crime prevention

It is used with young people, older people and even people approaching the end of life. It is used across gender and culturally diverse spectrums. It’s for all of us.”

Specifically, most BAT organisations create an adventure-based program designed to give young people an opportunity to participate in a range of outdoor activities. For this reason, these activities are facilitated by highly experienced, qualified guides. Activities usually include canoeing, rock-climbing, abseiling, bike-riding and bushwalking.

We are fortunate in Australia to have our own professional body for practitioners called The Australian Association for Bush Adventure Therapy Inc. Accordingly, the breadth of their work is guided by their intended actions document which you can read here.

In addition, the AABAT have regular National Forums in Australia. Click here to find more information.

In conclusion, if you’d like more information in relation to BAT here in Australia, go to the Australian Association Bush Adventure Therpay page, here.

Finally, to read another post on ‘Why we should all get outdoors’ click here.