Is this a qualification?
eQe is proud to be an Approved NCFE and CACHE Training Centre
Approved Training Centre: 9000398
- The Certificate in Advanced Wilderness Therapeutic Approaches is an externally accredited Level 3 qualification under the category of Customised Qualification. It is accredited by NCFE / CACHE, and although Level 3 the content and expectation is such that it is designated as Certificate level training.
- The Award in Wilderness Therapeutic Approaches and Interventions is an externally accredited Level 2 qualification under the category of Customised Qualification. It is externally accredited by the NCFE / CACHE organisation.
Certificates of Qualification come from the external awarding body (NCFE), and are not just “certificates of attendance” from the training organisation, or non-accredited “certification” by the training organisation. Certificates are genuine and directly associated with the achievement of these externally accredited qualifications.
What is Wilderness Therapy?
Wilderness Therapy is the explicit and intentional application of recognised and accepted therapeutic approaches and techniques, adapted and applied appropriately in the context of a genuine wilderness environment, with activities expertly related to being in the wilderness and all it has to offer, and where the final therapeutic and developmental impact is the explicit and expert objective. Wilderness Therapy should be demonstrable and measurable in its therapeutic impact (see the “Impact Assessment and Does It Work” FAQ).
Wilderness Therapy is not bushcraft, forest school, archaeology, outdoor learning, adventure activities, learning outside the classroom, working in the allotment, or walking my dog in the woods. These may have an implicit impact on short-term general wellbeing, and may offer time to reflect, but they are not explicit and deliberate in the objective of engineering impact through the expert integration and application of professionally recognised therapeutic approaches. Indeed, some elements of the approaches commonly used in some of these other disciplines are incompatible with the approaches needed when working with the identified issues of some children, who need a different approach in order to thrive.
By “recognised and accepted therapeutic approaches” we mean actual therapeutic approaches recognised by the professional therapeutic community, not simply the more ubiquitous and passive “implicit effect on wellbeing” commonly latched on to in outdoor activities. It is wonderful to be outdoors in nature doing different activities of all kinds, but we must remember the actual objectives of engaging in these very different outdoor disciplines, and be honest and firm in these truths, or we run the risk of misleading participants and clients in our expertise and outcomes, and failing them. Bushcraft Practitioners do not have training in forest school pedagogy, and should not claim to be “doing” forest school; and Forest School Practitioners should likewise be aware that forest school training in the UK is nowhere even near the level of bushcraft and wilderness living skills achieved by a qualified Bushcraft Practitioner. Similarly, the implicit impact on wellbeing experienced during participation in these, or in archaeology, or LOTC (learning outside the classroom), or adventure activities etc, cannot be placed in the same ball park as Wilderness Therapy and Therapeutic Interventions as a discipline. These are all very different subjects, with very different objectives.
Let’s be clear here – Wilderness Therapy has been growingly used incorrectly and unprofessionally as a cover-all term for anything we do in the outdoors that “makes us feel better”. It has become reduced down by inappropriate overuse in a number of common outdoor activities as pop-science “wilderness therapy”, instead of true “Wilderness Therapy”.
If I happen to be a Therapist, I don’t believe it is just a case of deciding to take my therapeutic practice outdoors – I don’t believe it’s as simple a transition as that – and suddenly “I am now a Wilderness Therapist”. Children shape-shift into entirely different animals and personalities when let loose in the wild on a group intervention, compared to being let loose in the sand pit in a play-therapy room. And everything goes sideways when it starts to throw it down with rain and I need outdoor skills to then a) get shelter expertly sorted and fast, with a fire and a bacon butty, and b) use my outdoor practitioner expertise to adapt my practice and approach, already having anticipated and planned for that situation, to actively and explicitly use it positively and therapeutically, against a backdrop of children’s mindsets now having flipped and changed along with their focus and needs at this moment – really knowing what to do about it as an expert outdoor practitioner.
And if I happen to be an Outdoor Practitioner, neither is it just about deciding one day to focus on the “implicit healing power of nature” because everyone says it’s the thing to be doing, while having a walk in the woods, some hot chocolate and a nice chat. …And now I’m magically doing something called Wilderness Therapy.
I actually regard both of these mindsets as naïve and disrespectful to each other, and to those specific professional groups and individuals who have put a great deal of investment, time, study, skills development (both therapeutic and wilderness living skills), hard won experience, and process development into their very deliberate, well-structured and intelligent Wilderness Therapeutic practice. Not just in the sunshine. Not just in a nice therapeutic garden. And not just doing bushcraft or forest school with individuals who have identified issues, without proper training in well thought out, planned therapeutic approaches, activities and defined objectives. Those are neither WILDERNESS nor THERAPY.
You need to be both, at the same time! They are both very expert disciplines, that should be respected as such, in the context of Wilderness Therapy.
What children or young adults is this approach for?
In our work with children – eQe work with a broad range of issues, ranging from mainstream children with everyday basic social and emotional issues, low confidence and low self-esteem, through to children with deeper issues, behavioural issues, and additional identified or diagnosed issues like ASD, ADHD, MLD / SLD… Our training is explicitly therapeutic, targeting these identified children. It is designed to actively and explicitly enhance mental health and wellbeing, and to boost personal development of all children and young adults from age 4 up to 24.
Since 2011 we have designed and implemented a number of targeted Wilderness Therapeutic Interventions, because they are all designed and constructed to be impactful at different age / ability levels and developmental levels.
In this training, we will draw on eQe’s unique expertise and long experience of combining different disciplines, and designing successful and impactful Wilderness Therapeutic Interventions.
Does it work? Is there a positive impact?
eQe people have been training others since 1998. Hundreds of school staff and children’s workers have implemented eQe approaches, programmes and had eQe therapeutic training. Using impact assessment data from a range of different schools and widely different profiles of children, our Wilderness Therapeutic Interventions show dramatic changes in children using Standardised Therapeutic Measures over only 8 half-day sessions:
- 88% of children reduced their Total Difficulties Scores, e.g. measured in Externalising Behaviours (Conduct and Hyperactivity), and Internalising Behaviours (Emotional Problems and Peer Problems)
- 95.5% of children improved their Pro-Social Scores
Is this training for me?
This training is designed for all current or prospective children’s workers, wanting to work effectively and explicitly therapeutically with children in the natural environment. The wild.
You are interested in the concept of Wilderness Therapy, in the context of working with children and young adults and doing whatever you can to help them on the road to become all that they can be.
You probably come from one of the following groups:
- an Outdoor Practitioner background, possibly already trained and qualified
- a Therapy background, possibly already trained and qualified
- a school or educational background: whether mainstream, alternative, or Special Educational Needs
- a children’s worker background outside of school or education
- a trained and qualified healthcare worker
- an individual already trained or qualified via other eQe Wilderness Therapeutic Training and you want to do more
So, within your current discipline I’m betting you’re thinking something along the lines of…
You are looking to expand your practice and your mind. You know it’s great being outdoors in the wild, and you know first-hand the tangible impact on how it makes you “feel” being in the wild versus an office block, and how great your groups of children are out there. But you’re now maybe seeing the limits in terms of impact and wellbeing, or in the day-to-day of what you have been taught, and need to do more.
You want to explore that further and see if it is possible to inform your outdoor practice way beyond that, so that you can make steps towards explicitly and genuinely working therapeutically with children and young people. One day you want to be able to not just pay lip-service to mental health and wellbeing, and that what you are doing in terms of someone’s mental health and wellbeing is okay because you are “doing stuff in the woods”. And everyone knows it’s good for you being out in the woods, don’t they? Even though most outdoor practitioners don’t actually know why, beyond confidently regurgitating the pop-science statement, “it improves their mental health and wellbeing, doesn’t it?!”. You suspect or know that there is very much more to it than that.
You want to expand your personal Outdoor Practitioner bubble to incorporate some form of explicit and genuine therapeutic understanding and application, and learn how to actually engineer a lasting positive impact on personal development, mental health and wellbeing using the great outdoors.
You have witnessed a different side to your children (and perhaps colleagues) when they are in the woods, or even just on the school playing fields, as opposed to being in a classroom. Or you might have an inkling, or have read somewhere, that being in the wild is good for you, not just in terms of wellbeing but also in terms of academic achievement.
Or you’ve heard about it from other schools banging the “outdoor” drum. You feel the need to be properly informed of what is actually out there that can truly help you exploit the outdoors with your children, and in what different ways, beyond what every other school might be subscribing to just because everyone else is doing “it” and that particular bandwagon is rolling.
You want to explore and understand how to get identified staff – perhaps yourself – trained to run not just the ubiquitous outdoor activities that most primary schools have heard about or claim to be running, but something more explicitly therapeutically and developmentally meaningful for all children whether 4 years old or 24 years old (yes, 24), and with measurable therapeutic impact on individuals.
You want to find and understand a targeted therapeutic approach that is designed explicitly for different types of children, schools or special provision, and that is proven and pressure tested with real children, and measurable. Something that can easily be accessed by your school, implemented and integrated, and from which you can then incorporate Impact Assessment as part of your school inspection reports or budget-spend reports, and even contributing to a greater “Therapeutic Whole-School” strategy.
You encounter or work with children or young adults on a regular basis outside of the education system, but in the healthcare system. This is no different to anyone else, in that it includes children that are identified for any number of reasons, as having social, emotional, behavioural or other diagnosed issues and conditions, but possibly in parallel with also having to deal with other health issues, trauma, and even terminal illness. You may be looking for a way to speed up recovery, or to help those children and young adults deal with their ongoing health situations. You may want to assist and even speed up their transition out of the healthcare system and back into normal life if that is possible. You need to know how to measure “wellbeing” in the individuals you are working with. You may want to know how to use existing UK National Health Service (NHS) green spaces, or access other green spaces in your locality, and utilise them effectively to start trying to meet emotional, social, behavioural or other defined objectives, through implementing structured Wilderness Therapeutic Interventions.
Therapists and Counsellors
You understand the limitations (as well as perhaps the boundary benefits) of being inside four walls with a ceiling, a floor, a door, windows, and chairs to sit on. But you have an inkling, or perhaps you read somewhere, that being in nature is implicitly good for you, and it adds some benefit to a person’s general wellbeing and can potentially facilitate a clinical therapeutic process. You might or might not understand that “in the wild” is not the same as “being outdoors” which could mean the middle of a car park.
You want to know more, and explore if and how you can take your therapeutic practice with children outdoors, into something approaching “nature”. You want to expand your Trained Therapist or Counsellor bubble and make steps towards incorporating appropriate and proper outdoor skills and practice with children and young adults in the wild. And you are open to enlightenment as how you might fit into what is “true” applied Wilderness Therapy, explicitly impacting mental health and wellbeing, beyond simply moving your current indoor sessions and sitting doing them somewhere nice outdoors.
Non-Education System Children’s Workers
You work with children or young adults on a regular basis outside of the education system, but which is no different to anyone else, in that it includes children that are identified for any number of reasons, as having social, emotional, behavioural or other diagnosed issues and conditions. You may already be an inherently “outdoor skills” based organisation such as the Scouting Association, or you may not.
You want to expand your current mission or objectives beyond e.g. Character Education, or indeed start to fulfil the Mission of your organisation in a new way. Say, by exploring the possibility of offering additional programmes for identified children, which are explicitly therapeutic, or explicitly defined and structured Character Education programmes, and based outdoors in nature and the wild.
All of us
– have a heart for children and young adults, and want to help them to be all that they can be, using a proven, impact-assessed , pressure tested, structured, explicitly therapeutic approach based in nature.
Sound good so far? Then this training really is for you.
What experience do I need?
Ideally, you should be someone with one or more of the following backgrounds:
- an Outdoor Practitioner background, possibly already trained and qualified, or seriously considering training as an outdoor practitioner
- a Therapy background, possibly already trained and qualified, or in training and looking for something additional which is specifically Wilderness-Therapy focused
- a school or education background: whether mainstream, alternative, or Special Educational Needs. Perhaps looking for specifically therapeutic training as part of your school’s approach to Mental Health and Wellbeing; or training for your own personal and career development
- a children’s worker background outside of school or education
- a trained and qualified healthcare worker
an individual already trained or qualified via other eQe Wilderness Therapeutic Training and you want to do more