It is fair to say that research on Nordic outdoor therapy has been modest until recent.  Sure, historically there have been a handful or two of high-quality publications, but it is only now that we see a growing momentum of the production of academic accounts on Outdoor therapy related subjects.

It is important to acknowledge that in the Nordic region there are adjacent academic fields to Outdoor therapy that indeed have long and impressive research records. Examples are various approaches to outdoor education, eco-philosophy, public health, outdoor life culture etc.  Also, it is not always clear in what “box” research belongs, and the boundaries between these fields may be, and arguably should be, blurred.


In the research section of this website, we aim to present an as complete as possible list of Nordic Outdoor therapy research. If you want to read the paper see if the paper is freely available online. If not you may either purphase the paper from the journal or contact the first author for a copy. Obviously, writings will be in all the Nordic languages or in English. 

Inclusion criteria

Presented publications will, in one way or another, concern Nordic Outdoor therapy. By publications, we mean published books, book chapters, journal articles, Ph.D. and Master level theses. Optimistically we aim for an increasing volume of work, so due to considerations of space, we will not include Bachelor level theses, popular science presentations, private evaluations and reports, newspaper and magazine articles etc. (but we absolutely hope these will be shared on our Facebook group).


The research section of our website is moderated by Leiv Einar Gabrielsen who needs the networks’ help to put together a complete compilation of publications. Please send anything you know of, and which you think might fit the inclusion criteria, to . This includes the correct reference and all contributing authors .


The listed publications represent the diversity of Nordic Outdoor therapy research and have not undergone any quality and content control by this website. Authors who do not want their work to be listed here can simply notify us and we will remove accordingly.


Adevi, A. A. & Lieberg, M. (2012). Stress rehabilitation through garden therapy: A caregiver perspective on factors considered most essential to the recovery process.Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, 11(1), 51-58.

Adevi, A. A. & Mårtenson, F. (2013). Stress rehabilitation through garden therapy: The garden as a place in recovery from stress. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, 12(2), 230-237.

Annerstedt, M. & Währborg, P. (2011). Nature-assisted therapy: Systematic review of controlled and observational studies. Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, 39(4), 371-388.

Bentsen, L. S. (2013). Ute i naturen lever jeg! Pasienters opplevelser med natur i spesialisert nevrologisk rehabilitering. Master thesis

Bentsen, P., Mygind, E., & Randrup, T. B. (2009). Towards an understanding of udeskole: education outside the classroom in a Danish context. International Journal of Primary, Elementary and Early Years Education, 3, 29-44.

Eikenæs, I., Gude, T., & Hoffart, A. (2006). Integrated wilderness therapy for avoidant personality disorder. Nordic Journal of Psychiatry, 60, 275–281.

Fagerland, M. J. (2016). En fenomenologisk utforsking av komfortsonen hos ungdom som deltar i friluftsterapi. Master thesis, University of Agder.

Fernee, C. R. (2019). Into nature: A realist exploration of wilderness therapy in adolescent mental health in Norway. Doctoral thesis. University of Agder.

Fernee, C. R., Gabrielsen, L. E., Andersen, A. J. W., & Mesel, T. (2015). Therapy in the open air: Introducing wilderness therapy to the mental health services in Scandinavia. Scandinavian Psychologist, 2, e14.

Fernee, C. R., Gabrielsen, L. E., Andersen, A. J. W., & Mesel, T. (2017). Unpacking the  ́black box` of Wilderness Therapy: A Realist Synthesis. Qualitative Health Research, 21(1), 114–129. DOI: 10.1177/1049732316655776

Fernee, C.R., Gabrielsen, L. E., Andersen, A. J. W., & Mesel, T. (2020). Emergings stories of self: Long-term outcomes of wilderness therapy in Norway. Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning. DOI: 10.1080/14729679.2020.1730205

Fernee, C. R., Mesel, T., Andersen, A. J. W., & Gabrielsen, L. E. (2019). Therapy the Natural Way: A Realist Exploration of the Wilderness Therapy Treatment Process in Adolescent Mental Health Care in Norway. Qualitative Health Research. 29(9), 1358-1377.DOI: 10.1177/1049732318816301

Gabrielsen, L. E., Eskedal, L. T., Mesel, T., Aasen, G. O., Hirte, M., Kerlefsen. R. E., Palucha, V., & Fernee, C. R. (2018). The effectiveness of wilderness therapy as mental health treatment for adolescents in Norway: A mixed methods evaluation. International Journal of Adolescence and Youth. DOI: 10.1080/02673843.2018.1528166

Gabrielsen, L. E. & Fernee, C. R. (2014). Psykisk helsearbeid i naturen - friluftsliv inspirert av vår historie og identitet.Tidsskrift for Psykisk Helsearbeid, 11, 358-367.

Gabrielsen, L. E., Fernee, C. R., Aasen, G. O., & Eskedal, L. (2016). Why randomized trials are challenging within adventure therapy research: Lessons learned in Norway. Journal of Experiential Education (39)1, 5-14. DOI: 10.1177/1053825915607535

Gabrielsen, L. E. & Harper, N. (2018). The role of Wilderness Therapy in the Face of Global Trends of Urbanization and Technification. International Journal of Adolescence and Youth, 23(4), 409-421.DOI: 10.1080/02673843.2017.1406379

Gabrielsen, L. E., Harper, N. J. & Fernee, C. R. (2019). What is constructive anxiety in wilderness therapy? An exploratory pilot study. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, 37, 51-57.

Gabrielsen, L. E., Rommetveit, J. Føreland, J. & Olsen, I. A. (2016). Personlig utvikling i minus 20 grader. Psykisk helsearbeid på Hardangervidda - en case studie. Tidsskrift for Psykisk Helsearbeid, 13, 34-44. DOI:10.18261

Gabrielsen, L. E., Storsveen, E. B., & Kerlefsen, R. (2018). Når terapeuten forlater kontoret. Erfaringer fra å drive psykisk helsearbeid ute i det fri. Tidsskrift for Psykisk Helsearbeid 15(1), 40-51. DOI: 10.18261

Haanes, H. B. (2016). Mestringstro i Friluftsterapi. Master thesis. Høgskulen i Sogn og Fjordane.

Harper,N. J., Gabrielsen, L. E., & Carpenter, C. (2018). Cross-cultural exploration of ‘wild’ in wilderness therapy: Canadian, Australian and Norwegian perspectives. Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning, 18(2), 148-164DOI: 10.1080/14729679.2017.1384743

Horgen, A. (2015). Educational expeditions - et norsk perspektiv. Acta Didactica Norge, 9(1).

Jacobsen, S. E. (2017). Natur og friluftsliv i tilbakeføringsprosessen til arbeidslivet. Master thesis, NTNU.

Jong, M. C., Lown, A., Schats, W., Otto, H. R., & Jong, M. (2019). Mapping the concept, content and outcome of wilderness therapy for childhood cancer survivors: protocol for a scoping review. BMJ Open, 9, :e030544. DOI:10.1136/bmjopen-2019-030544

Jørgensen, L. M. S. (2018). Brugen af naturen som virksomt element i psykologisk behandling av stress. Master thesis, Syddansk Universitet.

Kalvatn, B. I. (2017). Det er tungt å bære sekken, men det er tyngre å bære på unyttige tanker. Master Thesis, UiA.

Karpela, K. M., Stengård, E., & Jussila, P. (2016). Nature Walks as a Part of Therapeutic Intervention for Depression. Ecopsychology, 8(1), 8-15

Karppinen, S.J.A. (2011). Outdoor adventure education in a formal education curriculum in Finland: Action research application. Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning, 1–22.

Karppinen, S. J. A. & Latomaa, T. (2007). Seikkaillen elämyksiä. Seikkailukasvatuksen teoriaa ja sovelluksia. Rovaniemi: Lapin yliopistokustannus. (Experiencing by Outdoor Adventures, part 1. Therories and Practical Applications)

Karppinen, S. J.A & Latomaa, T. (2015). Seikkaillen elämyksiä III. Suomalainen seikkailupedagogiikka. Rovaniemi: Lapin yliopistokustannus. (Experiencing by Outdoor Adventures, part 3. The Finnish Outdoor Adventure Education and Learning)

Latomaa, T. & Karppinen, S. J. A. (2010). Seikkaillen elämyksiä II.  Elämyksen käsitehistoriaa ja käytäntöä. Rovaniemi: Lapin yliopistokustannus. (Experiencing by Outdoor Adventures, part 2. Concepts, History and Practices of Experience)

Lehtonen, T. (ed. 1989) Adventure for Life. Jyväskylä: Atena Kustannus Oy

Lyytinen, P. & Ström, M. (2003) Late hallitsee aggressioita. Lastenkotilasten toiminnallis-terapeuttinen ryhmä. Teoksessa Linnossuo O (Toim.) Sosiaalinen ja toiminnallis-terapeuttinen työ nuorten kanssa. Turun ammattikorkeakoulun oppimateriaaleja 4, ss. 106 – 129. (`Late` controls aggressions. Social and action-based therapeutic work with children in foster care. In Linnossuo, O. (ed) Social and action-based therapeutic work with youngsters. Turku: University of Applied Sciences, Learning materials 4, pp. 106 – 129)

Mariager, T.  J. (2015). Friluftsliv; som fremmende for udsatte unges udvikling. Master Thesis.

Riihimäki, M. (2019). Practitioners Views on Nordic Outdoor-Based Therapy. Practices and Experiences. Master thesis in Department of Norwegiand School of Sport Sciences.

Riihimäki, M. (2020). Adventurous occupations and spiritual change in adventure and outdoor therapy. In S.  J. A. Karppinen, M. Marttila, & A. Saavanen-Kauppinen (Eds.),  Outdoor Adventure Eduvation in Finland - peadgogical and didactic experiences. Helsinki, Finland; Humak University of Applied Sciences Publications.

Sterndorf, L. V. (2019). Friluftsterapi. En undersøgelse af friluftsterapis potensiale som psykologisk intervensjon. Kandidatspeciale, Aarhus Universitet.

Stevenson, M. P., Schilhab, T. & Bentsen, P. (2018). Attention Restoration Theory II: a systematic review to clarify attention processes affected by exposure to natural environments. Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part B. DOI: 10.1080/10937404.2018.1505571

Sudmann, T. T. & Agdal, R. (2014). Tenk at jeg kan få ri! Hesteassisterte aktiviteter for ungdom og voksne med rusrelaterte problemer. Psyke & Logos, 33, 69-84.

Sundt-Hårstad, A. S. (2018). Naturen som samarbeidspartner i et rådgivningsperspektiv. Master Thesis, NTNU

Ulset, V., Vitaro, F., Brendgen, M., Bekkhus, M, & Borge, A. I. H. (2017).Time spent outdoors during preschool: Links with childrens cognitive and behavioral development. Journal of Experiential Education, 52, 69-80.

Vikene, O. L. (2012). Psykisk helse og opplevelsen av deltakelse i friluftsliv. Tidsskrift for Psykisk Helsearbeid, 9(4), 345–354

Virtanen, V-M. (2011) High mountains and great experiences. Adventure activities for families and groupsin rehabilitation.The Foundation for the Rehabilitationof Children and Young People,the Mannerheim League for Child Welfare. Helsinki: Painotalo Miktor. (Only available in Finnish)

Vollebæk, H. N. (2014). The healing powers of nature. A qualitative study on the influence of adventure based therapy on adolescents with emotional and behavioral difficulties. Master Thesis. UiO.

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