Click here to watch an informative video about the OBH Council and the Wilderness Therapy Symposium!
The Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Council was founded in 1996 when representatives from a handful of wilderness treatment programs joined to collaborate and to share best practices.
The founding programs realized the advantage of uniting to promote program standards and excellence and thus the OBH Council was founded.
Today, the organization and its member programs have been instrumental in raising the bar for outdoor behavioral healthcare, facilitating research on the efficacy of wilderness and other outdoor behavioral treatments for adolescents and adults, and in promoting the field as a whole.
What is Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare ?
Outdoor behavioral healthcare is the prescriptive use of wilderness experiences by licensed mental health professionals to meet the therapeutic needs of clients.
Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare (OBH) includes:
- Extended back-country travel and wilderness living experiences long enough to allow for clinical assessment, establishment of treatment goals, and a reasonable course of treatment not to exceed the productive impact of the experience.
- Active and direct use of clients’ participation and responsibility in their therapeutic process.
- Continuous group-living and regular formal group therapy sessions to foster teamwork and social interactions (excluding solo experiences).
- Individual therapy sessions, which may be supported by the inclusion of family therapy.
- Adventure experiences utilized to appropriately enhance treatment by fostering the development of eustress (i.e., the positive use of stress) as a beneficial element in the therapeutic experience.
- The use of nature in reality as well as a metaphor within the therapeutic process.
- A strong ethic of care and support throughout the therapeutic experience.
Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare is delivered by trained professionals in an outdoor setting.
OBH practitioners are trained in therapeutic techniques and interventions as well as adventure and wilderness facilitation. OBH refers to the work done in providing primary care, secondary care and is considered an alternate intermediate care program with regards to public health and for obtaining full insurance reimbursement according to state and federal mental health and substance abuse parity regulations.