The Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Council was founded in 1996 when representatives from a handful of wilderness treatment programs joined to collaborate and to share best practices.
About the Council
The Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Council was founded in 1996 by representatives from a handful of wilderness treatment programs who believed through collaboration that best practices and standards of care could be developed to elevate the industry and field.
Today, the organization, its member programs and friends have been instrumental in raising the bar for outdoor behavioral healthcare, facilitating research on the efficacy of wilderness and other outdoor behavioral treatments for adolescents and adults, and in promoting the field as a whole.
History Timeline for the Council
OBH Council Founding
Representatives from five leading wilderness therapy programs formed the Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Industry Council (OBHIC), which has become known as the Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Council (OBH Council).
Creation of the Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Research Cooperative (OBHRC)
Dr. Keith Russell was the founding director and primary researcher.
Inaugural Wilderness Therapy Symposium
Started by Naropa University, the Wilderness Therapy Symposium brings together field staff, therapists and leaders from the industry and field of OBH to collaborate, learn and grow.
Creation of the AEE-OBH Accreditation
The OBH Council invited the Association for Experiential Education (AEE) to work together to expand on AEE’s existing standards to better reflect the field of wilderness therapy’s current practices.
Creation of the Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Center
In the College of Health and Human Services at the University of New Hampshire, Dr. Michael Gass and Dr. Anita Tucker along with their research team have a place to explore and promote research, accreditation and risk management in outdoor behavioral healthcare and adventure therapy programs.
The Center is a separate organization from the OBH Council, however, the OBH Council does support third-party research the team at the Center has done as it helps inform better practices in the field, which aligns with the Council’s mission.
Inaugural Regional Wilderness Therapy Symposium
This addition to in-person professional development has created deeper connection for OBH professionals from cross the country to come together to connect and learn on a smaller scale.