2024 Outdoor Therapy Symposium Schedule


The Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Council is excited to return to St. George for the 2024 Outdoor Therapy Symposium.

Last year we celebrated the 20th annual Wilderness Therapy Symposium and this year, we are excited to expand the Symposium to all professionals doing therapeutic work outdoors. We get to see students, field staff, faculty members, clinicians, executive leadership, consultants - not just from the field of outdoor behavioral healthcare, but from fields and industries that are doing important work adjacent to ours.

You’ll see a number of presentations with CE’s listed. These are sessions we hope will confer CE’s (pending approval) for those seeking them, but we encourage all of you to look through the titles and descriptions of over 25 presentations, and attend what you believe will give you the tools and skills that help you be more confident in your work. You’ll see in parentheses suggestions for who may be a target audience for that presentation.

We want to make sure that your experience together and with us isn’t just enjoyable, but memorable.

We had so much fun in Asheville, and we can’t wait to spend time with you in St. George. Below are some changes we want to highlight that we know are going to make a difference in your experience:

  • Pre-conference Training including a workshop with the AEE Therapeutic Adventure Professional Group (TAPG)
  • Expo Hall, Welcome Reception and Eagle Award Ceremony on Wednesday
  • Lunch and Keynote presentation on-site on Thursday with Greg Jensen of Cultiva International
  • Ember Award and dinner on Thursday night
  • Diversity in presenters and presentation topics

You’ll notice in our schedule that we’ve included breaks between sessions. We know that some of you may still need to check email or take a call. Our hope is that you don’t feel like you need to rush between sessions, and this gives our presenters a little breathing room too.

There are coffee breaks in the morning, and coffee will be available on site for purchase during other times of the day. We know St.George is hot in August, and have made sure that there’s plenty of water - don’t forget your bottle too!

We’ve designated a room for a Friends of Bill meeting in the morning on Thursday and Friday, that will become a wellness break room during the day. Again, we know that you give a lot of energy in your jobs, put a lot of energy into your travel to St. George and are “on” during the Symposium. This space is meant to help you disconnect if you need to, but don’t want to take a break in your room.

Lastly, we’re excited that we’re able to see you all in person again and show you what we’ve been up to. On behalf of the Symposium Committee and the OBH Council we would like to welcome you to southern Utah!


Gill Hallows, Symposium Planning Committee Chair and the Symposium Planning Committee

2024 OTS Conference Agenda

SUPA/OBH Program Palooza Invitation Only

8:30 to 4:15pm in Garden Room

Pre-conference Training by TAPG

Included in registration

12:30 to 4:00pm in the Sunbrook BC room

12:30 Informal networking and CE paperwork
1:00-4pm Incorporating the Adventure Therapy Beliefs into Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Settings located in Sunbrook B,C

Incorporating the Adventure Therapy Beliefs into Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Settings:Jesy Cordle, PhD(c), LRT, CTRS, CCAT (3 CE)

The adventure therapy beliefs are fundamental to the work of adventure therapists and therapeutic adventure specialists, but how can these beliefs and values be incorporated into our everyday work in Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare settings? This workshop is developed to examine the seven adventure therapy beliefs: safety, freedom, belonging, trust, enjoyment, challenge, and effective communication; discuss how these beliefs can be broken down into tangible, easy to understand components; and describe how these components can be used with participants as established clinical goals, group conversation starters, or for individual reflection prompts. How do we create an environment of safety when the activities we run are inherently risky? How do we create an environment of freedom in a setting with limited choice? Come to the Therapeutic Adventure Professional Group preconference to find out more and discuss the incorporation of these beliefs in our practice settings. 

Expo Hall Set Up

4:00 to 5:00pm in Garden Room Lobby

The expo hall will be open for the duration of the Symposium. We invite you to stop by and meet programs and vendors. If a table is empty there will be instructions on how to get connected with their representative while at OTS.

Registration for Badge Pick up

2:00 to 5:00pm 

For those attending pre-conference events, name badges will be in the designated room. For all other attendees, name badges will be available for pick up at the Registration Desk. 

Welcome Reception, Expo Hall, Eagle Award Ceremony

Included in registration

Heavy Appetizers will be served. 

5:30pm to 7:30pm in the Garden Room lobby and banquet hall

Join us from 5:30 to 6:30 in the Garden Room Lobby to peruse our exhibitor tables and mingle with other guests.  Exhibitor tables will remain on display throughout the symposium.  During this designated time, representatives will be there to answer any questions.

At 6:30 we will move to the banquet hall for the official welcome and presentation of the 2024 Eagle Award.

Registration for Badge Pick up

7:00am to 5:00 pm 

Name badges and ribbons will be available for pick up at the Registration Desk. 

Morning Mingle

8:00 to 8:30 am in the Lobby near Exhibit Hall A 

Coffee service will be provided from 8 to 9am.

Friends of Bill 

8:00 to 8:30 am in the Snow Canyon room

Breakout Sessions and Workshops

Breakout sessions and workshops will be in the following format:

Thursday Morning 

8:30 to 10am: 1.5 hour sessions

Acudetox and Brainspotting, presented by Wes Fischer, CAS, NADA Certified, and Kelly Corn (1.5 CE) in Entrada

The presentation starts with an explanation of both Acudetox and Brainspotting and why these practices can work well in the outdoor setting. It is followed by an opportunity for attendees to experience the integration of Acudetox and coached self-brainspotting in the group setting.

It is Solved by Walking, presented by Michael Sanders in Sunbrook 1

What is solved by walking? Why do we hike? Why do we walk? These are questions often asked by students in outdoor behavioral healthcare programs, and sometimes also by staff! Baguazhang is a Taoist internal movement art that has its origins in the mountain circumnavigating practices of Tibet and Nepal. The central practice is walking a circle.

There is a reason that walking, as a practice, has been held in high esteem across the world. The Diné of the southwest say that life is a walking, the Asian Taoists wrote that walking is the mother of ten-thousand exercises, and famously, it is told that St Augustine quoted the Greek philosopher Diogenes when he said “Solvitur Ambulando”, It is solved by walking.

This workshop will explore walking and its applications for mental and physical health within a therapeutic programmatic context working with youth and young adults. We will use the circle walking practices of Baguazhang to do this.

Baguazhang, or Bagua for short, is related to Taiji (Tai Chi) and Qi Gong, and has many principles in common. It can be applied in three main areas: Promoting health and healing, exploring interaction and interpersonal relationships, and for meditation and spiritual endeavors.

In this workshop we will ::

- Explore the body mechanics of walking.

- Learn the circle walking method from Baguazhang.

- Calibrate the circle walking movements in interaction with others.

- Engage mindfulness as a tool in this movement art.

- Openly discuss applications for use in therapeutic programs.

This will be a gentle, active and interactive experience. Exercises can be adapted for participants of all levels of activity and ability.

Increasing Engagement and Decreasing Trauma in Young Adult & Adolescent Treatment, presented by Heather Hayes, M.Ed, LPC, CIP (1.5 CE) in Sunbrook 2

In the US, it is estimated that over half of teens will suffer from a mental health issue at some point during their adolescence. These figures from the National Institute of Mental Health display an alarming epidemic with grave consequences. However, it is widely evidenced that swift intervention, relevant treatment, and parental involvement in the therapeutic process significantly lessen the detrimental impact on the individuals as they journey into adulthood. Research indicates that parental involvement throughout a teenager’s treatment and recovery, by way of family engagement in the treatment plan, helps the teen achieve the best success rates. Research also shows that combined parent-adolescent and family therapy treatment plans demonstrate far better outcomes than plans in which teenagers only received individual therapy. Adolescents whose families do the work see long-term success, improved participation, higher levels of attendance, and overall family satisfaction.

This presentation continues within this realm and delves into Family Systems Theory, which seeks to explore and understand both the internal and external family models of the individual in question. By nourishing and restoring the whole self as well as the entire family, it is possible to heal exponentially. Together we will explore how increasing family engagement decreases trauma and yields healing and greater recovery success

Never Enough? Why the ADHD brain craves stimulation and how the outdoors can support dopamine regulation, presented by Mike Hench, LMFT and Kade Matthews, LCSW (1.5 CE) in Mezzanine 1

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is characterized by difficulties in sustaining attention, controlling impulses, and regulating activity levels. Individuals with ADHD often experience a heightened craving for dopamine and stimulation, which can lead to impulsivity, distractibility, and difficulty focusing on tasks. Traditional treatment approaches such as medication and therapy may not fully address these underlying needs for stimulation. Outdoor adventure therapy offers a promising alternative by harnessing the natural environment to provide novel sensory experiences and physical challenges that can help regulate dopamine levels and improve attentional control. Outdoor adventure therapy that provides a safe experience for clients with ADHD, holds great potential as a holistic and experiential approach to managing ADHD symptoms and cravings for dopamine and stimulation. By providing novel sensory experiences, promoting attentional control, and fostering social connection and personal growth, this presentation aims to empower individuals with ADHD to thrive in both outdoor and indoor environments, leading to improved quality of life and well-being.

8:30 to 11:30am: 3 hour sessions 

Rewriting the story: grieving what’s lost and finding what works, presented by Rob Meltzer, MA, CEP (3 CE) in Mezzanine 2

In this workshop, I will invoke lessons from Yuval Noah Harari who teaches us that the stories that we live “inside of” define how we behave and how we function. I will share some theories about how stories get formed and perpetuated in our modern digital age. But, mostly, I will make space for us to collectively look at the narrative that is emerging about our field. What is your narrative about your work within the field of Wilderness / Outdoor Therapy? What is changing? What are you grieving? Are you writing a new chapter? What is it about? I cannot think of anything more important than to look at how we are individually and collectively sharing the stories about who we are and how we show up to do our work in the field of Wilderness / Outdoor Therapy.

Keeping the Tradition Alive: Wooden Spoon Carving, presented by Justin Swensen, AMFT (3 CE) in Mezzanine 3

Join master spoon carver Justin C Swensen in a unique workshop that transcends the mere act of carving, guiding participants on a journey into the art of transforming a simple piece of wood into a functional and exquisite creation. This experience is more than just a skill—it is an avenue for unleashing your creative energy, fostering self-expression, and crafting something both utilitarian and aesthetically pleasing. Through the process of spoon carving, you will explore new opportunities for creative self-expression and develop a greater connection to the natural world. This workshop offers a profound way to engage with clients in your field, using the rich metaphors found in the act of carving. As we meticulously carve away the excess wood to unveil the inherent beauty of each spoon, you will discover how this practice mirrors personal and professional growth. The workshop covers essential topics, including the selection of quality wood, mastery of basic tools, and adherence to wood carving safety protocols. Additionally, we will delve into the ceremonial use of hand-carved wooden spoons, highlighting their significance and traditional value. Participants will not only gain theoretical knowledge but also practical experience, culminating in the completion of their own handcrafted wooden spoon. Elevate your craftsmanship, immerse yourself in the artistry of spoon carving, and join Justin C Swensen in keeping the tradition of handcrafted wooden spoons alive.

10:00 to 10:30am: mid-morning coffee break 
10:30 to 12:00pm: 1.5 hour sessions

You Never Know How Strong You Are Until Being Strong is Your Only Choice, presented by Derek Daley, SUDC and Laura Mills, Ph.D, QM (1.5 CE) in Entrada

Get Up. Stand Up. (Bob Marley) Bob said it so well, and now is the time to show the strength and value in the work we do.

It is well-known that progress and outcomes monitoring is a key to optimizing treatment experience and outcomes for clients (Stecker et al., 2017). This presentation will provide an example of how programs can use progress monitoring to ensure the best care for their clients. We will also demonstrate how programs can harness their existing data to validate their work and provide accountability to clients, families, referrers, and other stakeholders.

Legacy Treatment Center recognized that for over a decade they had been collecting client health data, but had not been using it to demonstrate the impact of their work. This changed with their commitment to develop an Evaluation Report, which highlights client demographics and treatment outcomes and explores whether clients change differently based on their gender or age.

We will dialogue about Legacy’s outcomes, with a strong focus on how engagement with attendee programs can access and harvest their own data can help get up, stand up, and show their strengths.

It's Knot Just Hair: Generational Trauma, the African Diasporal Hair and the Intersectionality with Mental Health, presented by Christine Carter, in Sunbrook 1

This presentation journeys through how the cultural hair experience reinforces identity in the black and brown communities, and how it can contribute to an understanding of how to support clients and staff from diverse backgrounds in a more impactful way. It touches on generational trauma, how it can be passed down culturally and cellularly, how it is reinforced consciously and subconsciously, and starts the conversation on how to better serve clients and staff from black, brown, and other communities. As we work to understand the generational importance of something that appears trivial to most people, like hair care, we move closer to bridging the gaps communally and moving the mission of inclusion further ahead.

Mike Gass - book presentation, in Sunbrook 2

Nature Therapy for Survivors of Sexual Violence Trauma Informed Principles for Individual Sessions, presented by Deborah E. Padilla, LMSW (1.5 CE) in Mezzanine 1

This workshop will focus on applying trauma-informed principles in sessions with clients to increase empowerment in individuals who have experienced sexual violence.

Lunch and Keynote

Keynote speaker Greg Jensen

12:00 to 1:20pm in Garden Room

Included in registration

Lunchr and beverages will be served. If you have an allergy or intolerance, please let us know.

Speakers: Greg Jensen

Thursday Afternoon

1:20 to 1:30pm: post-lunch break

1:30 to 3:00pm: 1.5 hour sessions

Back to the “Why” of Leadership, presented by Katelyn BeVard, in Entrada

In this workshop we will honor and explore what it means to be a leader. Is there such a thing as a good or bad leader? If so, how do we define each? Working in outdoor therapy inherently makes you a leader and our influence on our clients is immense, but the pressures of the job can feel overwhelming. In this workshop we will dive into leadership from an internal perspective taking a look at our own values and why we do this work in order to help inform the way we lead our clients, students and employees. Understanding our why can help reduce the stresses of the job and remind us how we got here in the first place. The hope is to leave the workshop with a renewed feeling of passion towards leading clients and/or employees.

Research Based Benefits of Nature Connection through Equitable Access, Culturally Responsive Pedagogy, and Equitable Evaluation Techniques, presented by Julie Byle, PhD (1.5 CE) in Sunbrook 1 

During this interactive session, individuals and organizations will learn the latest research on the health benefits of nature connection with applicable techniques to bridge research to practice into their programs. Topics will cover the barriers to nature and how to overcome them, designing frameworks for culturally responsive pedagogy, and instruction on how to create equitable evaluation techniques. The session will close with time for organizations to discuss their issues and ask questions about solving them.

The Darkness of Our Eyes, presented by Michael Sanders in Sunbrook 2

Natural Response: Integrating Energy Work and Neurofeedback for Mental Health First Aid, presented by Angie Shockley, MA, CSP and Dianne Kosto (1.5 CE) in Mezzanine 1

In the challenging and often unpredictable environment of outdoor behavioral health, planning for and providing mental wellness first aid is crucial for staff well-being. A dual-layered approach that combines on-site energy work with post-field neurofeedback sessions can provide staff with the perfect tools to not only manage but to improve their mental health.

Energy work techniques, including breath work, grounding exercises, and mindfulness, are ideal for the unpredictable outdoor setting, offering immediate relief from acute stress and trauma responses (Hover-Kramer, 2011). Once back in a structured environment, qEEG brain mapping can be used to quickly identify areas of brainwave dysregulation (Sterman, Egner, 2006). This leads to individualized neurofeedback sessions that calm the central nervous system. This holistic approach ensures staff are well-equipped to handle both immediate and ongoing emotional and psychological challenges, enhancing their capacity to provide effective care.

1:30 to 4:30pm: 3 hour session
3:00 to 3:30pm afternoon break
3:30 to 5:00pm 1.5 hour sessions

The Pendulum Swing: How Trauma Fragility Fuels Avoidance, Determinism, and Transference in Treatment Settings, presented by Patrick Devlin, LCSW, CADC II and Brennon Moore, LPC, CADC II (1.5 CE) in Entrada

This presentation will look at how the recognition of trauma and its impact on a person has been groundbreaking to the evolution of psychology, psychotherapy, and addiction counseling. What we now understand in regards to the impact trauma has on the brain, and thus how it distorts a person’s perception and the way that they relate to the world (making them more vulnerable to self-destructive and addictive behaviors), has created a lens through which we can now conceptualize a client and better treat them. However, this presentation will also look at how an over identification with trauma, such as the idea of being a trauma survivor, without the integration of being a trauma thriver who moves beyond one’s traumatic experiences, can often lead people to be stuck in a pattern of determinism. The presentation will provide the latest research on what we are seeing with youth and families and how social media is impacting these patterns of trauma fragility, avoidance, determinism, and transference and the overall presentation of clients and families in wilderness and aftercare programs.

Experience Integration - Continuing growth through nature connection beyond the wilderness, presented by  Kathleen McIntyre, MS (1.5 CE) in Sunbrook 1 

Newly discovered ways of relating to oneself, family, and the surrounding community can be challenging to integrate after an extended therapeutic nature experience. Returning to ecological systems where behavioral patterns were formed can cause feelings of uncertainty about continued growth or falling back into old habits. Offering strategies to clients to support them in integrating new skills learned in the wilderness, such as mindfulness, somatic awareness, and therapeutic nature connection, within their home environment can offer hope and success with continued growth.

In this workshop, you will learn strategies to expand a client’s concept of nature beyond the wilderness experience to include the nature around them in the urban/suburban landscape. This expanded view of nature is empowering and honors a wide range of socioeconomic backgrounds that have limited access to more wild spaces. You will learn how to support your clients in creating an ecomap of accessible nature resources and strategies to incorporate somatic, mindfulness, and therapeutic nature connection tools within their ecological landscape.

Transport Discussion Panel, led by Brian Shepherd in Sunbrook 2

Total Eclipse of the Parts - Learning More About Youths That the Total YOQ Can Tell Us, presented by Laura Mills, PhD QM Psych and Mike Gass PhD, LMFT, CCBT, CCAT (1.5 CE) in Mezzanine 1

Much of the wilderness literature that has used YOQ has adopted the TOTAL score as an indicator of health outcomes. The assessment, however, has important subscales that can help us understand the impact of our work and consider client characteristics that may affect their experience while in therapy.

During this presentation, we will review the findings about the nature of client health change and the client characteristics that impact change trajectories. These characteristics include gender identity, age, and family functioning. Our interactive dialogue will include audience input on their experiences and how they tailor therapy for clients across the gender and age spectrums.

Our study found that family functioning was a strong predictor of client change and outcomes. We will engage in a discussion about the importance of family functioning, and how family functioning should be considered at the time of admission, as a part of treatment planning, as a factor in therapeutic approaches, and as a factor in expected treatment outcomes. The audience will be key in this discussion, to bring broad perspectives of clinical insight to the presentation.

5:00 to 5:30pm evening break

Dinner and Ember Award Ceremony

6:00-8:00pm Garden Room 

The Ember Award Ceremony and Staff Recognition Reception is an opportunity for OBH Council member programs to recognize the work and dedication of a stand-out field guide. We invite all Symposium attendees to join us in celebrating the passion that all who work in this field exemplify. 

Morning Mingle

8:00 to 8:30am in the Lobby near Exhibit Hall A  Coffee service will be provided from 8 to 9am.

Friends of Bill 8:00 to 8:45 am in Snow Canyon

Breakout Presentations and Workshops

Friday Morning 

8:30 to 10am: 1.5 hour sessions

How does caregiver engagement predict adolescent outcomes of wilderness therapy? presented by Joanna Bettman Schaefer, Phd, LCSW; Laura Mills, PhD, QM Psych; Anita Tucker, PhD, Naomi Martinez Gutierrez, MA (1.5 CE) in Entrada

Wilderness therapy outcomes are in part predicted by family functioning (Liermann & Norton, 2016; Tucker et al., 2016).Therapeutic wilderness programs can improve youth and family functioning (Liermann & Norton, 2016). There are positive relationship outcomes from wilderness therapy, one of them being improved family communication (Liermann & Norton, 2016). These improved family relationships led to increased abstinence from drugs and alcohol and improved school performance (Liermann & Norton, 2016). Some research suggests that parents’ perception of treatment gains were predictors of youth functioning post-discharge(Combs et al., 2016). In parents that had attachment disorders, those disorders predicted the parents' perception of change from the wilderness program (Combs et al., 2016). Negative family dynamics are related to the highest proportion of families who drop out of treatment (Liermann & Norton, 2016).

This session will present the results of a study examining how caregiver engagement predicted adolescent outcomes of adolescent wilderness therapy. The study aimed to answer the question: What program activities and treatment components involving caregivers predicted optimal adolescent wilderness treatment outcomes? Using the NATSAP database, the study used statistical analyses to answer the research question. Implications for programs and treatment interventions will be presented and explored.

Ethical Considerations for Field Staff and Supervision, presented by Merill Heslop, MSW, LCSW (1.5 CE) in Sunbrook 1

Discussion of ethical overview of clinical and field staff supervision. Topics include the differences and similarities between supervision and coaching. We will also discuss psychotherapy based and developmental based models of supervision and what healthy supervision relationships are and are not. We will also discuss documentation of supervision and consultation.

Agency, Challenge, Choice and Control, presented by Thomas Leahy, MS (1.5 CE) in Sunbrook 2

Our personal adventures begin in a place of comfort and control. For most of us in the experiential field, adventure is a choice. For our participants adventure is something imposed by well-intentioned others. Our programs create a risk-based social learning situation and most participants arrive out of their comfort zones and in a state of high stress. Our programs impel participants so far into the novel that establishing and maintaining control is a very difficult task.

Why do we lead people into risk-based social learning situations? This workshop tells a story of risk-based adventures in the social settings of education, therapy and personal growth. This workshop explores essential questions around the modality of facilitated challenge. Such as: What are we hoping our participants gain when out of their familiar and thrust into experiences of risk? How do participant self-perceptions influence their choices, behaviors and outcomes? What  psychological and physiological responses can we expect to see? Should participants be impelled out of their comfort zones? And if so, by whom? What role do the perceptions, beliefs and behavior of the facilitator have for the participant experience? While guided by passionate facilitators with positive intentions, why do some participants thrive while others

struggle, freeze and reflect that they have failed? Finally, how do we help people who end up highly emotional while facilitators and participants on the ground cheer them on to perceived shared goals? This is the workshop that provides a prescription of how to make adventure resonate for everyone.

Help Us ⇆ Help You: A mastermind meeting to solidify transformative experiences, presented by Hillary Moses, LCSW; Casie Fariello and Jared Alston, LCMHC, CPC (1.5 CE) in Mezzanine 1

Through the framework of parent peer support, parent coaching and family therapy, we address different ways that IECs, schools, and programs can support their students by nurturing stronger, more adept, and more resilient family systems. We will share themes we see prior to, during and after a residential or wilderness experience, we will suggest some dos and don’ts based in our own successes, failures and realizations after 20+ years of advice giving to this population, we will share with you what you teach that seems to have staying power and what does not and we will invite a brainstorm from participants to better ensure a transformative experience for the families we serve.

Healing Journeys: Supporting Mental Health Through Dog Sledding, presented by Kristen Cline, J.D., M.R.C.P, RYT-200, Trauma-Conscious Yoga Training and Kay Neznik, LICSW, ACSW, EMDR Clinician (1.5 CE) in Mezzanine 2

The purpose of this proposed workshop is to introduce participants to our innovative approach to outdoor therapy, which combines animal-assisted therapy, EMDR therapy, and trauma-conscious yoga to create one-of-a-kind therapeutic dog sledding adventures.

While you might not have heard of dog sledding as a form of animal-assisted therapy before, any one who has ever stood on the runners of a sled behind a team of dogs understands how empowering and special it is. Learning to run sled dogs is a powerful invitation to: learn leadership and teamwork skills; develop an internal sense of confidence; and to experience unconditional love for self and one’s four-legged partners. Dog sledding requires coordination of the body and mind, and watching the dogs run produces bilateral stimulation – just as in EMDR. When paired with therapeutic support and trauma-conscious yoga instruction, learning to dog sled is a healing journey unlike any other.

8:30 to 11:30am: 3 hour sessions 

Sharing from the Heart: Create your own heart stick to use it in ceremony, presented by Justin Swensen, AMFT (3 CE) in Mezzanine 3

In this workshop, we are going to explore the use of the heart stick, also known as a talking stick, in wilderness therapy. In one form or another, the heart stick has been used in different cultures around the world for thousands of years (Browning, 2016). It is used in ceremony, healing, and conflict resolution discussions just to name a few. Quite often a heart stick is sought out in nature by a medicine man, healer, elder, or member of a tribe or community. It is ceremoniously decorated with significance to the community and blessed for use in a larger ceremony or talking circle. Other times, the heart stick finds the person who needs a way to express what is weighing heavy on their heart (Browning, 2016). In wilderness therapy, we often use the heart stick in ceremonies with our clients during times of transition. We invite them into a sacred space and pass the heart stick around allowing them to speak from the heart. I would like to invite you to come and create your own heart stick. Starting with local responsibly sourced stick of wood, we will be using paint, feathers, beads, and wood carving tools to create a heart stick that will be worthy of ceremony in your own community. All participants will have an opportunity to be a part of a ceremony where a heart stick is used as well as complete their own heart stick by the end of the workshop.

10 to 10:30am: mid-morning coffee break 
10:30 to 12:00pm: 1.5 hour sessions

How to get the most out of psychological testing - going beyond diagnosis, presented by Jennifer Brown, PsyD (1.5 CE) in Entrada

Accurate diagnosis is essential, and so is understanding the finer details of that diagnosis; how various diagnoses impact each other, as well as your clients’ strengths and weaknesses. Autism is not the only diagnosis that comes in a spectrum, another example is ADHD, a disorder of the executive functioning skills, but what are executive functioning skills and which ones are impacted in your client and how badly? Are there other factors also playing a role? Is depression manifesting more psychically or cognitively? Is the anxiety situational or a more imbedded set of traits? This workshop will define psychological testing in simple terms, will help explain what all the numbers mean, define the common jargon, explain the depth and breadth that is possible, as well as give multiple tips as to how to set up a testing culture within your setting aimed at maximizing results.

Exposures in the Woods, Discussing the Intersection of ERP and Adventure Therapy, presented by Mark Rainsdon, LCSW and James Mason, CMHC, CCAT (1.5 CE) in Sunbrook 1

Exposure Response Prevention (ERP) is indeed considered the gold standard for treating anxiety disorders, including OCD. It involves gradually exposing oneself to feared objects or situations (exposure) while refraining from performing compulsive rituals or avoidance behaviors (response prevention). This process helps individuals learn that their feared outcomes are unlikely and that their anxiety will reduce over time.

Adventure therapy, on the other hand, utilizes outdoor activities and experiences to facilitate personal growth and enhance mental health. Combining ERP with adventure therapy can be powerful, as it allows individuals to confront their fears in a novel and engaging environment. In addition, both models of therapy are experiential models, and numerous facets of each model intersect. For instance, the Facilitated Wave Model used by AT therapists is similar to the exposure hierarchy process utilized by ERP therapists.

However, there are ethical and clinical considerations to be mindful of. It's crucial to ensure that the level of challenge in adventure therapy is appropriate for each individual, considering their specific fears and comfort levels. Therapists must maintain a safe and supportive environment, providing adequate debriefing and processing as balancing the excitement of adventure with the therapeutic goals of ERP requires careful planning and expertise.

Yoga in Therapeutic Settings for Adolescents Who "Hate Yoga", presented by Suhad Saadeh, MSW, CSW, RYT (1.5 CE) in Sunbrook 2

The presentation will cover the importance of use of self and self disclosure responsibly, explain yoga through billable, evidence-based terminology, guide professional to deliver yoga through a trauma informed lens and facilitate the increase of client's sense of autonomy, and highlight the additional benefit of self care staff receive by facilitating yoga which aids to reduce burnout and staff turnover.

Wilderness Collaboration in Mezzanine 1

This session will be the continuation of the virtual conference presented by the Wilderness Collaborative.

Closing Ceremony and Wrap Up

12:00 to 12:30pm in the Garden Room

Wellbeing while at the Outdoor Therapy Symposium: The OBH Council recognizes that Symposium days are long, engaging and can sometimes lead to overstimulation and exhaustion. In the spirit of our work and encouraging you to take care of you, we’ve designated the Snow Canyon for those who need some time to disconnect during the day. After the Friends of Bill meeting on Thursday and Friday mornings, the Snow Canyon will transform into a break area. We have also built 30-minute breaks into the schedule between morning and afternoon sessions. Our hope is that you will be able to learn and digest the information before diving into your next session. 

We also recognize many of you are leaders with your programs, companies and organizations and may need to squeeze in some work time.

Meals: We’ve included the Welcome Reception and Expo Hall with the presentation of the Eagle Award on Wednesday evening where heavy appetizers will be served. Thursday lunch with our Keynote presentation and dinner buffet on Thursday evening where we will present our Ember Awards. These meals are all included in your registration. The Dixie Center doesn’t have coffee or a restaurant on site, but we have two coffee breaks  on Thursday and Friday. For those staying until Saturday, we encourage you to explore St. George. The Dixie Center is located less than 10 minutes (by car) from downtown St. George. 


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