Adventure-Based Psychotherapy

Hiking Out of the Grand Canyon Redwall Limestone,

The Prescott College Adventure-Based Psychotherapy program is designed for self-directed learners with some background in either mental health or outdoor/ experiential education who wish to specialize in adventure-based intervention.

This is one of very few academic programs in the United States that incorporates the experience of the wilderness in modalities designed to heal clients and facilitate their personal exploration. Graduates possess competency in both conventional psychotherapy and adventure therapy, including wilderness leadership (if desired), and find employment in a range of settings, from educational to clinical.

Counseling students must pursue the appropriate state licensure as an integral aspect of their whole study plan. Students should obtain a current copy of requirements from their respective state’s Licensure Board early in the first term of the Master of Science Program (if not before), and plan to consult them regularly during their course of study.

Due to the interdisciplinary nature of this emerging area of study, most students should expect to spend a minimum of five terms (two and a half years, full time) to complete this degree concentration.

Graduates of the Adventure-Based Psychotherapy concentration will receive a one-page Concentration Endorsement, included in their official transcript. The endorsement gives a detailed summary of the training standards set forth by Prescott College and achieved by the graduate. As the graduate applies for professional positions and the field of therapeutic adventure becomes increasingly standardized and regulated, Prescott College anticipates this achievement will distinguish our graduates from other practitioners with less intentional training.

A Unique Blending of Coursework

Students must take all of the following counseling core courses:

  • Human development
  • Group dynamics
  • Theories of counseling
  • Counseling skills
  • Multicultural foundations
  • Professional ethics
  • Helping relationships
  • Career counseling
  • Social and lifestyle issues
  • Psychopharmacology
  • Trauma and addiction
  • Psychopathology
  • Diagnosis and treatment planning
  • Research and evaluation

Additional course content areas for this concentration include:

  • History and theory of adventure-based psychotherapy
  • Therapeutic facilitation skills
  • Risk management
  • In-depth study of theory
  • Wilderness as a healing place

Adventure Skills Training (AST)

In order to meet graduation requirements, Adventure-Based Psychotherapy students must demonstrate minimal competencies in backcountry travel/living,

and at least one area of skill concentration – for example, rock-climbing, paddling, challenge course, skiing – as well as Wilderness First Responder (WFR) training in first aid. The student’s chosen practicum site may expect a specific level of prerequisite training in one or more areas.

Students in need of Adventure Skills Training (AST) should arrange to gain these skills during summer or winter breaks. Documentation of this learning (completed in coordination with Core Faculty) is due and semester credits are assigned in the term immediately following summer or winter break training experiences. Some shorter trainings may be interwoven into related courses during a term.

While students have the option of receiving academic credit for their Adventure Skills Training, this credit qualifies as theory in the Master of Arts Program, not toward the practicum. Some may elect to decline credit for this training if they have enough credits to meet the program requirements. To obtain credit, the student will plan with faculty guidance to incorporate scholarly literature, reflection, writing, and the training experience to be submitted in a regular study packet.

Wilderness First Responder (WFR)

Students should plan to complete an 80-hour Wilderness First Responder course through a nationally established program prior to completion of their practicum experience.

Students can receive up to three theory credits for documented completion of the WFR course. Suggested (though not endorsed) sources for specific Adventure Skills Trainings include, but are not limited to: National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS); Outward Bound; Project Adventure; American Mountain Guides Association; American Canoeing Association; Wilderness Education Association; Tom Brown Jr. Trackers School; Animas Valley Institute; School of Lost Borders; Wilderness Awareness School; Boulder Outdoor Survival School; and outdoor leadership and training seminars.

Post MA Certificate in Counseling: Adventure-Based Psychotherapy FAQ

Q: How much will this program cost me?*


Tuition and fees: $11,325

Books and supplies: $900

On-campus room & board: not offered


For further program cost information see

*The amounts shown above include costs for the entire program, assuming normal time to completion. Note that this information is subject to change.

Q: What financing options are available to help me pay for this program?


Financing for this program may be available through grants, scholarships, loans (federal and private) and institutional financing plans. The median amount of debt for program graduates is shown below:

Federal loans: *

Private education loans: *

Institutional financing plan: *


* Less than 10 graduates received loans. Median amounts are withheld to preserve the confidentiality of the loan recipients.

   To see available Prescott College scholarships, see Prescott College Scholarships

Q: How long will it take me to complete this program?


The program is designed to take 8 months to complete. Of those that completed the program in 2012-2013, *% finished in 8 months.


*Less than 10 students completed this program in 2012-13. The number who finished within the normal time has been withheld to preserve the confidentiality of the students.

Q: What are my chances of getting a job when I graduate?


The job placement rate for students who completed this program in 2012-2013 is *%.


* This institution is not currently required to calculate a job placement rate for program completers.

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