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What is Adventure Therapy?

LifeSTREAM Therapy

Life Success Through Experiential & Adventure Modes



Experiential and Adventure Based Therapy


Experiential and adventure therapy techniques use safe action oriented approaches to help individuals, groups and families meet their goals by going beyond standard "talk" methods. Read here for more information on outcome studies done on these approaches.

  • Cooperative problem solving activities and games
  • Climbing Walls
  • Challenge “Ropes” Courses
  • Psychodrama & Family Sculpture
  • Equine Assisted Psychotherapy

Most activities occur indoors or in covered arenas.


Outcome Informed Practice

We agree with the approach of the Institute for the Study of Therapeutic Change in using client directed, outcome informed practice. In addition to the ISTC's SRS and ORS we encourage the use of standardized outcome measures (including the YOQ, YOQSR & RADS) to track individual and family progress and to assist in treatment planning.  


Adventure (psycho) therapy is an active, experiential approach to group (and family) psychotherapy or counseling:

  • utilizing an activity base, (cooperative group games, ropes courses, outdoor pursuits or wilderness expeditions)
  • employing real and or perceived (physical and psychological) risk (distress/eustress) as a clinically significant agent to bring about desired change
  • making meaning(s) (through insights that are expressed verbally, nonverbally, or unconsciously that lead to behavioral change) from both verbal and nonverbal introductions prior to (e.g., frontloading) and discussions following (e.g., debriefings) the activity experience
  • punctuating isomorphic connection(s) (how the structure of the activity matches the resolution of the problem) that significantly contribute to the transfer of lessons learned into changed behavior. (Gillis & Thomsen, 1996)

 “Ropes” Courses & Climbing Walls

The activities (from ground level to 20+ feet up) often employ perceived phsyical and psychological risk as an agent to bring about change. Metaphors are used by making the structure of the activitiy fit to possible resolution of the problem or goal. Through metaphor participants gain insight to transfer the lessons learned into behavior change.


Psychodrama & Family Sculpture

Group members and props are used to set up “sculptures”  and role-play of current or past family systems. Then feelings around various parts of the participant’s life as represented are reviewed. The participant is invited to explore new methods of resolving problem areas with support and feedback from the group.


Equine Assisted Psychotherapy

(also known as)

Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy

The focus of EAP or EFP is not riding or horsemanship. The majority of the work takes place on the ground. The treatment team includes a horse specialist, a licensed clinical therapist and one or more horses. Horses are large and powerful, which creates a natural opportunity for clients to overcome fear and develop confidence. Horses reflect and react to human body language and emotion. This provides immediate feedback and learning opportunities for participants to become more aware of their feelings and improve relationships with others. 

Photos courtesy of and David Duck Photography. All rights reserved.
LifeSTREAM Therapy
Portland, OR USA
Phone: 503-451-0006

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