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Max Prieto

Via Silvestre / Madrid Outdoor Education, Spain

Foto de maxi prieto - Max Prieto_edited.jpg

Max graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2015 with a degree in psychology. In 2020, he completed a Masters in Outdoor Education at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. Max has been a certified Wilderness First Responder since 2014 and is also a qualified Mountain Guide (UIMLA).

Over the past 10 years, he has gained extensive experience in facilitating therapeutic, personal, and social development experiences through outdoor journeys in various countries, adapting his approach to different cultural contexts. After spending several years abroad, Max returned to Europe and continued his passion for facilitating and developing outdoor therapy programmes and training in Spain. Currently, he is one of the country representatives for Spain in ATE.

Max is passionate about his work in the field, continuously exploring new theories and critical perspectives to provide better support to those he adventures with.

Navigating Choice in Outdoor Therapeutic Contexts

In adventure education and outdoor therapeutic contexts, the concept of choice plays a significant role. It encompasses various aspects, ranging from the decision to participate and the level of engagement in specific activities to choices regarding meal preparation and conflict resolution within a group. We firmly believe that offering choices empowers participants to actively and meaningfully engage in adventurous learning experiences that are both authentic and significant. 

Ideally, participants should have the opportunity to make real choices that have tangible consequences, allowing them to gain insights into their own decision-making processes. However, it is important to be mindful of various factors that can influence participants' choices and overall experience. Power imbalances, past experiences, social pressures, and societal expectations are all potential influencers on decision-making. It is crucial to avoid giving pseudo-choices, as this can undermine participants and disrupt therapeutic relationships. 

As practitioners, we recognize the significance of considering the extent, manner, and timing of offering choices. We continuously challenge ourselves by asking whether participants feel safe enough to make honest and authentic choices. In this workshop, we invite you to join us in exploring the diverse factors that influence choice within the experiences of both participants and facilitators. Together, we aim to create a collaborative space where we can develop strategies that better support agency, empowerment, flexibility, and self-determination for healing and growth.

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