233 episodes

Stories from the Field: Mental Health in the Outdoors is an authoritative and enlightening podcast that explores the vast landscape of mental health therapies in outdoor settings. Hosted by seasoned mental health professional Dr. Will White, the podcast offers deep insights into outdoor therapies like Adventure Therapy, Eco-Therapy, Wilderness Therapy, and Experiential Therapy, among others.

Dr. White engages with a diverse range of guests, including leading researchers, practitioners, authors, executive directors, guide staff, mental health clinicians, and critics, helping to shed light on the nuances of these unique therapy practices. In addition to exploring the modern implications of these evolving therapeutic modalities, he delves into their rich history, providing a holistic perspective for listeners.

With over 30 years of experience at the juncture of mental health and outdoor environments, Dr. White's expertise is unparalleled. As a co-founder of the pioneering Summit Achievement, an adventure therapy program based in Maine, he has been a guiding force in the field since the 1990s. His scholarly contributions include the book "Stories from the Field: A History of Wilderness Therapy" and a chapter in "Adventure Therapy: Theories, Research, and Practice." His doctorate work, "Stories from the Elders: Chronicles and Narratives from the Early Years of Wilderness Therapy," traced the origins and evolution of this specialized field.

To connect with Dr. White, visit storiesfromthefield.com. Listen to this immersive podcast to understand the power and potential of outdoor therapies in addressing mental health concerns.

Stories from the Field: Mental Health and the Outdoors Will White

    • Health & Fitness
    • 4.7 • 96 Ratings

Stories from the Field: Mental Health in the Outdoors is an authoritative and enlightening podcast that explores the vast landscape of mental health therapies in outdoor settings. Hosted by seasoned mental health professional Dr. Will White, the podcast offers deep insights into outdoor therapies like Adventure Therapy, Eco-Therapy, Wilderness Therapy, and Experiential Therapy, among others.

Dr. White engages with a diverse range of guests, including leading researchers, practitioners, authors, executive directors, guide staff, mental health clinicians, and critics, helping to shed light on the nuances of these unique therapy practices. In addition to exploring the modern implications of these evolving therapeutic modalities, he delves into their rich history, providing a holistic perspective for listeners.

With over 30 years of experience at the juncture of mental health and outdoor environments, Dr. White's expertise is unparalleled. As a co-founder of the pioneering Summit Achievement, an adventure therapy program based in Maine, he has been a guiding force in the field since the 1990s. His scholarly contributions include the book "Stories from the Field: A History of Wilderness Therapy" and a chapter in "Adventure Therapy: Theories, Research, and Practice." His doctorate work, "Stories from the Elders: Chronicles and Narratives from the Early Years of Wilderness Therapy," traced the origins and evolution of this specialized field.

To connect with Dr. White, visit storiesfromthefield.com. Listen to this immersive podcast to understand the power and potential of outdoor therapies in addressing mental health concerns.

    Wilderness Therapy Under Fire: A Deep Dive with Reporter Jessica Miller

    Wilderness Therapy Under Fire: A Deep Dive with Reporter Jessica Miller

    In this timely episode, Jessica Miller from the Salt Lake Tribune shares insights from her investigative article on the closures of wilderness therapy programs for teens in Utah. She discusses the factors driving these closures, such as negative media attention and financial challenges. Jessica provides an in-depth look at the current state of wilderness therapy in Utah and explains how the state government regulates the field. Tune in for an eye-opening discussion that sheds light on this crucial topic.
    Jessica Miller, an investigative reporter from the Salt Lake Tribune, reveals the significant challenges she faced while investigating the wilderness therapy industry. Despite numerous attempts, many within the industry were hesitant to speak with her, highlighting the difficulty of uncovering the full story. Jessica discusses the complexities of reporting on wilderness therapy, the importance of fair representation, and the delicate balance of presenting unbiased information. This episode offers a unique perspective on the role of journalism in shedding light on sensitive issues.
    Jessica’s article is titled “Nearly half of Utah’s wilderness programs for “troubled teens” closed in the last year.  Here’s what’s happening"- Salt Lake Tribue- Link here if podcast platforms let you use it.
    Jessica Miller’s bio from Salt Lake Tribune- "Jessica is an investigative reporter at The Salt Lake Tribune, where she has worked since 2011. She was part of the team that won a 2017 Pulitzer Prize, and she is a two-time Livingston Award finalist. She has collaborated with several national outlets for investigative projects, including FRONTLINE, American Public Media and ProPublica."

    • 41 min
    Exploring Outdoor Therapy with David Wynn from Blue Ridge Treks

    Exploring Outdoor Therapy with David Wynn from Blue Ridge Treks

    In this episode Will chats with David Wynn, LCMHC, an outdoor mental health provider from Blue Ridge Treks. David shares his transformative journey from a river guide and camp mentor to a mental health professional, revealing how natural environments play a crucial role in psychological healing. He delves into the power of nature to transcend traditional therapy boundaries, offering clients a unique blend of psychological insight and environmental interaction. David discusses his approach to integrating therapeutic techniques with outdoor experiences, providing profound insights into how physical spaces can influence mental health treatment.
     As a professional who transitioned from conventional to outdoor settings, David illustrates through personal anecdotes and professional experiences the therapeutic benefits of engaging with the natural world. This episode not only highlights his methods and successes but also explores the broader implications of outdoor mental health practices, making it a must-listen for anyone interested in alternative and effective approaches to mental wellness.

    • 47 min
    Surf Therapy: A New Wave in Therapeutic Practices with Cash Lambert

    Surf Therapy: A New Wave in Therapeutic Practices with Cash Lambert

    In this compelling episode, Will engages with Cash Lambert about his groundbreaking new book, "Surf Therapy: The Evidence-Based Science for Physical, Mental, and Emotional Well-being." Cash discusses his evolution from a journalism student, initially participating in a surf therapy event to fulfill volunteer hours, to an author dedicated to documenting the profound impacts of surf therapy. His journey began with witnessing the transformative effects of surfing on children with autism, leading to his first book, “Waves of Healing: How Surfing Changes the Lives of Children with Autism” that captured these life-altering experiences. His narrative weaves together heartfelt stories and the significant changes observed in participants and volunteers alike, which fueled his passion for advocating surf therapy’s benefits.
    The conversation further explores Cash’s latest book, which expands the examination of surf therapy to a wider audience, including veterans and individuals suffering from PTSD. This book is supported by extensive research and aims to legitimize surf therapy as a recognized therapeutic method. Throughout the interview, Cash shares powerful testimonials and research findings, highlighting the unique benefits of surf therapy and his vision for its future as a mainstream therapeutic option. His dedication to enhancing understanding and acceptance of surf therapy shines through as he details the journey of bringing these healing practices to a global audience.
    To connect with Cash or buy his book use this link.

    • 50 min
    230: Everest Inc.: Debunking Myths with Author Will Cockrell

    230: Everest Inc.: Debunking Myths with Author Will Cockrell

    In this episode, Will talks with Will Cockrell, author of the new book, "Everest Inc.: The Renegades and Rogues Who Built an Industry at the Top of the World." Cockrell delves into the untold stories of the Everest guiding industry, offering a nuanced perspective that challenges the sensational narratives often associated with Everest. His book presents a counter-narrative, focusing on the complexity of the industry and the passionate individuals involved, rather than the common portrayals of chaos and disaster on the mountain.
    Cockrell explains his motivations for writing the book, highlighting his desire to address the oversimplified and often negative depiction of Everest in popular media. He shares insights from his conversations with key figures in the guiding industry, revealing a history driven by passion rather than mere profit. The discussion also touches on personal accounts from other notable climbers and their transformative experiences on Everest, underscoring the deeply personal and varied reasons people are drawn to the mountain.
    The episode concludes with a discussion on the potential impacts of Cockrell's book on public perception of Everest, aiming to enrich the listener's understanding of the guiding industry's complexities. Cockrell's in-depth research and fresh perspectives invite listeners to reconsider the narrative surrounding one of the world's most iconic peaks.
    To find out more about Will Cockrell and to buy his book check out his website: https://www.willcockrell.com/

    • 52 min
    Healing in the Outdoors: 'No Child Left Inside” author Bryn Lottig on the Journey to Emotional Well-being

    Healing in the Outdoors: 'No Child Left Inside” author Bryn Lottig on the Journey to Emotional Well-being

    In this episode, Will talks with Bryn Lottig who shares her compelling journey from an aspiring pilot changed by 9/11 to a pioneering force in the field of outdoor experiential education. Through her personal experiences with adversity, including a challenging childhood and a transformative experience with Outward Bound, Bryn discovered her passion for the outdoors and its profound impact on personal development. This realization led her to pursue a career that not only embraces adventure but also utilizes it as a tool for fostering social and emotional growth in individuals.
    Bryn co-founded Kikori, a digital platform that epitomizes her commitment to democratizing experiential education. Kikori aims to bridge the gap between outdoor activities and educational curricula, providing educators and students alike with access to resources that promote social and emotional learning through adventure. The platform reflects Bryn's belief in the power of community and collaboration, featuring thousands of activities contributed by hundreds of educators, designed to cater to a diverse range of needs from early childhood education to corporate team building.
    "No Child Left Inside," Bryn's new book, encapsulates her vision for integrating character development into education via outdoor experiential learning. The book serves as both a memoir and a guide, offering insights into the science behind experiential learning, practical activities, and the personal stories that inspired Bryn's work. Through her narrative, Bryn advocates for a shift in educational paradigms, emphasizing the importance of equipping the next generation with the resilience, empathy, and leadership skills needed to navigate the challenges of the 21st century. Her story is a testament to the transformative power of the outdoors and its essential role in shaping confident, compassionate individuals.

    • 47 min
    Embark's Closure of New Visions and the Future of Wilderness Therapy

    Embark's Closure of New Visions and the Future of Wilderness Therapy

    In this special episode, Will sheds light on the upheaval in the wilderness therapy landscape, particularly spotlighting the closure of Embark Behavioral Health's New Visions Wilderness Therapy programs. This narrative delves into the broader implications of private equity's role in the mental health care industry, with a focus on how these financial underpinnings have influenced the recent pivot away from wilderness therapy models, especially in the context of adolescent treatment. The episode underscores the closure of not just New Visions in Wisconsin and Deschutes Wilderness Therapy but notes a startling trend: the total cessation of ten adolescent wilderness therapy programs in the past year alone, signaling a seismic shift in the field.
    In discussing New Visions Wilderness Therapy, the episode shares a brief history of the program and spotlights the utilization of trauma-informed care as a factor in its growth and success. The incorporation of trauma-informed practices into their treatment model did play a role in differentiating New Visions in a growing behavioral healthcare marketplace, aiding in its expansion and the subsequent interest from larger, investment-driven entities. This examination underscores the complexity of the adolescent wilderness therapy field, where clinical innovation intersects with business interests, leading to significant changes in the availability and approach to adolescent mental health care.
    This episode navigates through the nuances of these closures and the broader implications for the changing wilderness therapy landscape, offering a dive into the intersection of financial decisions, clinical practices, and the changing dynamics of adolescent mental health treatment. As the wilderness therapy sector faces this pivotal juncture, White's analysis provides essential insights for professionals, families, and stakeholders, charting the ongoing evolution of treatment modalities in the face of economic and clinical challenges.
    Article and podcast episodes talked about in this episode:
    Wilderness Therapy Industry's Decline Accelerated by Embark Behavioral Health's Exit
    Podcast episode with Steve Sawyer in which we talk about trauma-informed care
    Podcast Interview with Drew Hornbeck, Co-founder of New Visions
    Podcast Interview with Steve Sawyer, Co-founder of New Visions

    • 36 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
96 Ratings

96 Ratings

New Portugese ,

Stellar podcast on mental health in the outdoors

Every time I listen, I’m challenged and encouraged. I find my skills as a mental health provider improved, and I find a joy in my steps as I listen to what others are doing to help people get healthy in the outdoors.

kmahler15 ,

A must listen for mental health professionals

The podcast I didn’t know I needed! Stories from the field is packed full of wisdom and personal anecdotes about how adventure therapy and challenging life events has the potential to elevate your life in unimaginable ways. Thank you Will as always for being such a strong advocate for this field, our work and the stories behind each and every one of us. Can’t wait to keep listening!

ashleybubba808 ,

Will White is Awesome

As a mental health clinician working in residential treatment, I have always had a preconceived idea of what wilderness therapy looks like. I have learned so much from this podcast that has really helped with my perspective on this powerful treatment. Will White is awesome! He knows how to hold a dang good conversation!!!! And I am so so so fortunate to be working closely with him this year, continuing to learn from his experience and wisdom! 🖤

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