230 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.

    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
    From Military to Mindfulness: Tripp Johnson's Journey to Behavioral Healthcare Innovation

    From Military to Mindfulness: Tripp Johnson's Journey to Behavioral Healthcare Innovation

    In this enlightening conversation, Will talks with Tripp Johnson who shares his unique journey into behavioral healthcare and his evolution into a social entrepreneur. His accidental entry into the field, catalyzed by personal challenges with alcohol and a transformative exploration of mindfulness and yoga, marks the start of his commitment to improving mental health care. Tripp discusses his foundational experiences, including his time at West Point, his military service, and his eventual pivot towards integrating his passion for holistic wellness into his professional life. This journey led him to co-found Green Hill Recovery, focusing on helping young adults navigate life's challenges through integrated treatment programs that blend academic, career development, and mindfulness practices.
    Throughout the conversation, Tripp delves into the challenges and successes of shifting from private pay to an insurance-driven model, emphasizing the importance of accessibility, affordability, and quality of treatment. He critiques the private pay segment of the industry for often prioritizing marketing and referral relationships over clinical sophistication and advocates for systemic changes to make high-quality care accessible to a broader demographic. Tripp's approach, inspired by his personal growth journey and professional experiences, underscores the need for the healthcare industry to innovate and adapt to serve clients better and ensure sustainability.
    The interview concludes with Tripp's vision for the future, where he hopes to see an industry that continues to innovate and provide care that is both high quality and accessible to all. He discusses his role in leading an innovation-focused offshoot to develop back-office systems and technology to streamline processes and enhance patient care. Tripp's story is a compelling call to action for the behavioral healthcare industry to evolve and embrace models that prioritize patient well-being, accessibility, and the integration of holistic practices into treatment methodologies.
    We want to thank Adventure Recovery for underwriting Season 18 which focuses on addiction and recovery. 
    Listeners are invited to explore the rich archives of over 200 episodes of this podcast on Stories from the Field.com.
     

    • 50 min
    From Addiction to Adventure: How Nature Transforms Lives with Nate Bennick

    From Addiction to Adventure: How Nature Transforms Lives with Nate Bennick

    In this episode Will sits down with Nate Bennick, the National Field Director for Adventure Recovery, to dive into the transformative power of combining mental health treatment with outdoor adventures. Nate shares his personal journey from battling addiction to finding solace and strength in the wilderness, leading him to his role in Adventure Recovery. Nate's story exemplifies the impact of nature-based immersions and adventure in fostering recovery and self-discovery, resonating with anyone looking for a path to healing outside the conventional therapy rooms.
    Nate shares his story from working in the confines of traditional residential treatment programs to the expansive possibilities offered by wilderness therapy. The episode delves into how Adventure Recovery leverages adventure and the natural world as vehicles for change, providing individuals in recovery with opportunities to challenge themselves, enhance resilience, and cultivate a sense of community. It further highlights the operational aspects of Adventure Recovery, including the preparation and certification of guides, the array of activities available, and the tailored support provided to clients on their recovery journeys.
    This episode not only illuminates the innovative approach of Adventure Recovery but also stands as a tribute to the therapeutic potential of the outdoors. Nate's dedication to aiding others in finding their recovery path through adventure is both moving and motivational, making this episode essential listening for anyone interested in the confluence of mental health treatment and outdoor exploration.
    We want to thank Adventure Recovery for underwriting Season 18 which focuses on addiction and recovery. 
    Listeners are invited to explore the rich archives of over 200 episodes of this podcast on Stories from the Field.com.

    • 48 min
    Embracing Adventure for Recovery: The Foundation House Experience

    Embracing Adventure for Recovery: The Foundation House Experience

     In this episode Will talks with Dan Schmader, the Program Director at Foundation House, to delve into the therapeutic integration of outdoor activities in the realm of mental health and addiction recovery. Schmader unveils the unique approach of Foundation House, located in Portland, Maine, emphasizing its dedication to males aged 17 to 35. He outlines the transition journey of residents from structured care environments to a blend of Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP) and Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP), all while residing in a sober living house. Schmader highlights the program's success in leveraging the natural beauty and resources of Portland and Bethel, Maine, to foster recovery through a diverse array of outdoor activities, including wilderness outings, sports, and life skills workshops.
    The conversation further explores the profound impact of outdoor adventures on the residents' recovery process. Schmader shares personal anecdotes and the transformative experiences of participating in both local and international expeditions, such as service work in the US Virgin Islands and trekking in Patagonia. These adventures, rooted in challenges, accountability, and teamwork, significantly contribute to the mental, spiritual, and physical facets of recovery. Schmader’s own journey from a resident to a leading figure at Foundation House underscores the profound personal and communal growth facilitated by the program.
    Conclusively, this episode not only sheds light on Foundation House's innovative treatment model but also underscores the invaluable role of outdoor activities in healing and recovery. The discussion vividly illustrates how embracing adventure, confronting challenges, and fostering connections can pave the way for a renewed sense of purpose and well-being among individuals battling addiction.
    We want to thank Adventure Recovery for underwriting Season 18 which focuses on addiction and recovery. 
    Listeners are invited to explore the rich archives of over 200 episodes of this podcast on Stories from the Field.com.

    • 45 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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