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Valdis Vanags

Sense of Team/ Adventure Therapy Latvia

Es_Nepala - Valdis Pētersons.jpg

My name is Valdis Vanags / Sense of Team from Latvia and I have been working with people since I graduated Latvian Academy of Sport Education. I worked for some years in classic school systems, but soon understood, that I was more keen to work with disadvantaged youth and NGOs.

So my first experience with adventure-based programs was with local community disadvantaged youth programs for lengths of one year - to correct behavior and direction from youth prison to other choices. We mainly work with an experiential education approach. It gave me a unique experience of how group support and adventures combined give people an understanding of responsibility for their lives and choices. After youth, I see the potential to work with adults who have "normal" lives but still have issues with self-esteem, life-work balance, and behavior models who are productive and who are not... So, I have been working with adult adventure programs since 2013.


My field of interest always has been group dynamic and personal growth through adventures with group and personal support during reflections and personal insights. We organize adventure programs with therapeutic intent in Europe - Italy, Norway, Portugal, Catalonia, and Nepal.

Therapeutic intent in adventure expeditions

Last five years I have been diving in Nepal Himalayan expeditions/ trekking with therapeutic intent on a solution-focused basis. With cultural richness and simplicity in social norms, there are opportunity to find ways and come back for an "easy life" in our daily routine. After the urban environment, we are going for less or more remote trekking to see ourselves in different, even difficult situations - as physically, as mentally... Usually expedition takes 15 to 30 days with wide opportunities to learn and reflect upon ourselves - in cities, villages, mountains, and trails to discover personal believes, limitations and the possibility to see unknown situations from different angles.

Evening reflections and personal talks are ones, that make sense when participants apply new experiences to daily situations and benefit from them. I will share my approach and techniques on how to create a safe, non-competitive environment in a group, which will lead to sharing and interpersonal gain. There will be practical examples from the last expeditions to the Kanchenjunga, Langtang and Gosaikunda treks.

Workshop will be especially useful for those who work with groups in adventure setup, but do not have special therapeutic education or basics.
There will be a combination of theoretical and practical work in small groups.






This session will be about the journey of Adventure Therapy Latvia- how from a quiet dream and idea in 2019 we have grown in 5 years into a flourishing national network, and facilitator of GATE2024. 

We'd like to take time to reflect and celebrate, share and acknowledge how much awesome stuff has happened in the last five years. We'd like to share what has worked and what hasn't in our journey of growing the adventure therapy field in Latvia. Come along, listen and join in the conversation about how we can support each other in growing adventure therapy practice nationally and worldwide. 

Adventure Therapy Latvia - network story

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