Date of Award

5-1-2004

Degree Type

Thesis

University or Center

Clark Atlanta University(CAU)

School

School of Social Work

Degree Name

M.S.W.

First Advisor

Dr. Sarita Davis

Abstract

This study examines the effects of adventure-based counseling on the enhancement of coping skills of at-risk youth. Adventure-based counseling is an innovative form of therapy designed to enhance the coping skills of at-risk youth receiving treatment at residential facilities. This unique form of therapy is a burgeoning alternative to traditional forms of therapy. It places patients in a group setting (supervised by a counselor), for the purpose of attaining a specific goal through interaction with group members. Adventure-based counseling, a form of experiential learning, has not been widely adopted by facilities seeking to provide treatment services to youth diagnosed with at-risk behavior.

Based on empirical data, a large number of adventure therapy studies reviewed were not related to residential facilities; rather, they were independent studies conducted by researchers trying to assess the effects of adventure-based counseling in relation to youth. This study sought to determine the effect of adventure-based counseling on enhancing the coping skills of at-risk youth at Inner Harbor Hospital, a residential treatment facility in Douglasville, Georgia. This study was conducted to assess the effect of adventure-based counseling. Experiential therapists were interviewed to determine whether or not desired outcomes were being achieved through the interaction of patients in experiential activities. Patients from various campsites/units at Inner Harbor were used as the sample studied, and five experiential counselors were interviewed to assess the effects of adventure-based counseling. The findings suggested that there was a relationship between adventure-based counseling and the enhancement of coping skills, despite the many limitations of the study which imply that further research is needed.

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