What is Outdoor Therapy

The Nordic view of life in the outdoors is primarily based on a meaningful relationship and connection with nature, rather than challenging or conquering aspects of nature. At the first meeting of Nordic representatives in Turku, Finland in 2017, we decided to implement the term Outdoor Therapy to represent the Nordic approach to this line of work.

Moving indoor therapy to the outdoors is simply the lowest common denominator of what we all do. Of course, there are adventurous activities in wild places, but we see many more branches of work in nature, so the classic terms adventure and wilderness therapy didn’t quite cover us all. Also, adventure in itself is not necessarily an important ingredient or goal in our practices. Hikes into nature can be, and often are adventurous, and there could be intentional elements of adventure in some of the programs, however, this is often not the main characteristic. The term therapy is not readily delineated and at this point may include a variety of philosophies, approaches and practices as a means to prevent, rehabilitate, stimulate or treat in order to promote, maintain or regain health and well-being.

Health can be understood as a state of balance including the self, others and the environment. We, therefore, focus on individual vulnerabilities, challenges and strengths. Outdoor Therapy can be carried out either in an individual or group setting. Outdoor environments are likely to contribute the therapeutic processes. On this website, you’ll find examples of different Outdoor Therapy programmes in the Nordic region in various settings.

Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts (Rachel Carson)

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