Adventure Based Counseling

Youth and families at Holston UM Home for Children take part in Adventure Based Counseling (ABC) to develop emotional awareness, interpersonal skills, self-confidence, trauma recovery, empathy, team building, problem-solving skills, assertiveness, anger control, overcoming fear, addiction, and other mental health challenges.

What happens during Adventure Based Counseling?

Through professional facilitation of outdoor adventure experiences, youth take part in the life-changing method of experiential therapy which engages youth in a hands-on approach to outdoor adventure that they will never forget. More than a field trip, youth will first be guided in forging a contract together to build cohesion and trust, take part in an experience, and finally conclude their time together with a time to process. Facilitated by ABC staff, this process time encourages youth to take a look at themselves, each other, and how the adventure applies to their personal lives outside of Adventure Based Counseling. When all is said and done, a single adventure can provide profound self-revelation and change for youth and their families.

List of ABC Activities

Imagine a summer camp built specifically for experiential therapy, but year-round. There you have Adventure Based Counseling. Because of our ideal setting in the mountains of East Tennessee, an abundance of adventures can be pursued on our campus or just a short drive away.

Any given day might include the following programs:

Who Lives at the Barn?

Our barn and property houses 10 horses, 5 sheep, 2 dogs, and 3 cats, each animal with its own unique personality. The use of animals in therapy provides our youth with the opportunity to build relationships, trust, and empathy. Often youth will regain their ability to build trust through creating relationships with the animals at the barn.

How Often Do Adventures Take Place?

The youth at Holston Home not only have Adventure Based Counseling built into their weekly school schedule but take part in private Eagala sessions after school and on the weekend.

What is Eagala? ABC staff are thoroughly trained and certified through the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association, Eagala, to provide Equine Assisted Psychotherapy for our youth. At the forefront of experiential therapy, Equine Assisted Psychotherapy uses a team of three to provide private or group sessions. The team consists of a mental health professional, an equine specialist, and at least one horse working with the participant(s).Any of our youth and families can take part in an Eagala session. Participants will find themselves on the ground in an open space, having new learning and healing experiences as the horses provide honest feedback to the verbal and non-verbal cues from the participant. During an Eagala session, the horse is free to respond naturally to the environment, and in doing this, the horse often mirrors what is happening in the life of a participant. Interacting with horses in this way provides an opportunity for the participant to create significant connections between the session and their personal life.  

For more information call (423) 638-4171 or send us an email.