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Where wild things grow: Friluftsterapi as a preventative, health promoting, and sustainable method for children with neurodivergence in school, health care, family and leisure settings in Southern Norway

Lynn Van Hoof

Psychologist and Outdoor therapist, Belgium

Lynn Van Hoof is a Belgian clinical psychologist with a degree in Adventure Education, Client-Centered, Group, and Emotion-Focused Therapy. She is experienced in working with groups in the field since 2011, as well as in one-on-one outdoor therapy with individuals who suffer from a variety of mental health problems. Lynn was a representative of the International Adventure Therapy Committee for 10 years and is a co-founder of the European Adventure Therapy network and the Gathering for Adventure Therapy in Europe. She currently works as a student psychologist at a University College, for Outward Bound Belgium and in her private practice.

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You can run but you can't hide -
The effect of our different roles as outdoor group therapists

In comparison to group therapists in a classic indoor setting, outdoor group therapists have some extra ‘hats’ to wear. During the course of an outdoor program, we switch between multiple roles in a flexible and almost fluent manner. Not only are we facilitators, therapists, hosts, and timekeepers, very often we are also the outdoor experts, first aid nurses, caterers, persons who are in charge of logistics while at the same time being ‘co-adventurers’ to the participants. Boundaries between roles are less clear and qualities like flexibility and transparency are far more necessary than in a classic indoor setting. What I am interested in (and have researched/ experimented a bit within the last year or so) is how these extra roles impact the therapeutic group process. What is the effect of having to put on different ‘hats’ and having to switch constantly between these different roles as a group facilitator? During this workshop, we will definitely talk about processes such as projection, transference, and role fixation but I will also invite you to look into your own strengths and pitfalls as a facilitator. What roles are you more comfortable with? Where does this come from? And how do YOU handle the ‘switching between hats’ and what has been the effect on your groups? The aim is to co-create an experiential workshop, link experiences with small pieces of theory, and create a better common understanding of ‘our roles’ and the effect they might have.

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