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date: 06 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

It has been proposed that our growing separation from nature is a driving force behind a multitude of physical, psychological, and emotional ailments pervasive in modern-day society. This chapter provides an overview of the therapeutic use of nature. The history of this use, including the rise of the camping movement, is reviewed to provide the foundation for modern day programs and practice. A theoretical framework of the wilderness experience illustrates how various factors present in nature-based experiences work to restore mental fatigue and revitalize mind, body, and spirit. A review of wilderness therapy programs provides a practical example of how wilderness experiences are integrated with clinical treatment models to effectuate change in adolescents and young adults. The chapter concludes by describing emerging programs and other therapeutic uses of nature, including nature-based programs for cancer survivors and returning veterans, and rites of passage programs for people seeking renewed perspectives on their lives.

Keywords: nature, therapy, wilderness experience, restoration, treatment, adolescents, ecopsychology

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