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Halvor Vaaje - Carina Ribe Fernee.jpg

Halvor Vaaje

Halvor is a social worker and among our newer members of the outdoor therapy team at the Department of Child and Adolescent Mental Health at Sørlandet hospital HE in Kristiansand, Norway. Halvor is involved in running our nature-based day programmes and has recently joined the core team in charge of running the father-son interventions.

Department of Child and Adolescent Mental Health, Sørlandet hospital HE, Kristiansand, Norway

The importance of involving fathers of neurodivergent boys
in nature-based treatment – and how to do it!

This workshop will present the theoretical background for why fathers should be involved in the treatment of their sons, who struggle with neurodivergence (ADHD/ADD/ASD/Tourette), and why we have developed nature-based father-son interventions. We will present three different formats that we have applied in this innovative work so far and clinical examples will illustrate our experiences. Following an introductory session indoors (45 mins), we will move outside where the workshop participants will be divided into four groups to experience exercises that are used in our clinical interventions for the remaining 45 mins.

In this workshop, we will share some interesting observations from the father-son interventions:

- Fathers validating their sons by joining their activities during the group sessions, supported by nature’s rich potential for diversity and uniqueness.

- Fathers recognising behaviour they might have expressed in their own childhood due to their own experience with neurodivergence.

- Sons showing their troubles “in vivo” and fathers coping with this, supported by therapeutic supervision or by modelling the behaviour of other fathers.

- Sons receiving support from their fathers through shared nature-based activities aimed at building self-efficacy.

- Fathers and sons gaining insights into their reactions when feeling stressed and their shared possibilities for seeking out nature to reduce stress, restore attention, and experience connectedness to nature and each other. 

Furthermore, this workshop will present a model for linking these clinical experiences to the local communities, schools and networks where the child grows up.

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