Counseling ‘Adventure’ Fosters Cohesion

According to famous psychiatrist and group therapist, Dr. Irvin Yalom, universality and cohesion are crucial therapeutic advantages of group counseling. Together, they foster the feeling that “we’re in this together.” Little did Yalom know, these same factors are beneficial in group counseling classes as well!

Dr. K. Hridaya Hall and her students in the winter term Group Counseling class engaged in the second annual adventure-based counseling experience in December. This experience was facilitated by the coordinator of Plymouth State University’s Adventure Learning program Jamie Hannon and Christian Bisson, an associate professor of adventure education. Both have extensive experience in the field of adventure learning and education.

“Adventure-based counseling” is a group-based therapeutic experience intended to foster group cohesion among its members. By engaging in specific tasks, group members are encouraged to cooperate and rely upon each other for success. Tasks may include trust activities, cooperative games, and problem-solving challenges. Additionally, these tasks always incorporate some underlying metaphorical lesson that can be transferred into everyday life to promote greater healing and insight. For example, learning to trust each other in accomplishing a specific task throughout the experience, students may learn to trust each other more in the classroom.

This transfer of learning was a chief goal in Bisson and Hannon’s mission with Dr. Hall’s students as well. Throughout the evening, students not only learned the intricacies of adventure-based counseling, but they also developed this foundation of trust and collaboration to carry forth throughout the term.


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