Throughout my career, when talking about my day’s work, I get tongue in cheek responses like these..
“Oh gee.. you’ve got it tough” “How lucky are you? You get to play outside for a living!” “Hard day at the office hey?!”
Well, they’re not wrong, I do have an amazing job and the views from the office are first class! But there’s a little bit more to it than that.
One of the most important roles of an outdoor facilitator is to be fun and engaging and bring people along on the journey. There’s a big difference though between hype and big energy and being really attuned to how each individual is experiencing a session. The work I do is a little different to what you might encounter with a mainstream big tour operator.
It might sound obvious, but the best outcomes are achieved when we really tune-in to what an individual finds helpful and important and what they hope to get out of a session. In my work I focus on tailoring each experience to the clients own expectations, abilities and preferences.
It’s not my adventure, its yours! And as facilitators we must remind ourselves to privilege a person’s experience and emotional safety over the convenience of a one-size-fits-all approach.
Last year I had the opportunity to participate in training delivered by Dr. Scott Miller and Dr. Will Dobud on using Feedback Informed Treatment (FIT) for Adventure Therapy. Feedback Informed Treatment is an evidence-based practice framework used to track client engagement and client wellbeing. When used correctly it can help to highlight what your client actually thinks about how useful your sessions are for them. It might come as a shock sometimes but it is important to realise when our approach or activities are not hitting the mark the way we’d hoped.
I’ve been using this measure over the past six months and have found it really helps me to focus my energy on ensuring sessions have a lasting positive impact on participants. The introduction of Feedback Informed Treatment to my toolkit has me paying even more attention to the verbal and non-verbal feedback I receive from participants. I am better able to recognise what is working well for them and when I need to take things in a new direction.
It’s early days for Gippsland Adventure Therapy, but I truly believe that this approach allows me to provide a really unique service which is always striving to be individually tailored, flexible and beneficial to each client.
Yes, I am lucky. I have the privilege of witnessing the people I work with build confidence, try new things and find enjoyment in nature. And the views from the office are a pretty spectacular bonus too!
To all my clients... Please know that I work really hard to make your experience the most positive, safe and relevant experience for you. It’s your honesty and feedback that helps me do that, don’t be afraid to let me know if something isn’t working for you.
Yours in adventure,
Owner/Operator Gippsland Adventure Therapy