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Adventure/Experiential-Based Social Work Practice


Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None

Course Description

This advanced level methods course builds upon the foundation level practice methods course and prepares students for employment in the many human service delivery systems which address the needs of individuals (especially children and youth) and their families. This cross-cutting skills course will cover mostly direct/micro (i.e., assessment, intervention, prevention) and some mezzo and macro (program development and design, evaluation) practice methods. The development of social work skills, values, and ethics applicable to promotion, prevention, intervention, remediation and social rehabilitation activities with diverse individual populations at all levels of intervention will be emphasized.

This course will focus on experiential and adventure practice (theories, models, tools and techniques) that social workers may use in their work with individuals, groups, families, organizations and communities. Some particular focus will be given to their use in social work with groups. Students will be introduced to adventure through readings, discussions, guest speakers and experiences. This course is designed to provide the student with a theoretical, philosophical and experiential understanding of adventure and experiential learning and its application to Social Work Practice. Theoretical models of practice arising out of the adventure and experiential fields will be offered and discussed in tandem with current social work theories and models of practice. Evidence-based literature will be reviewed to promote experiential interventions that build on strengths and resources of individuals and their families, and that integrate components of evidence based practice into the experiential methodologies.

Socially just and culturally-competent policies and practice will be highlighted. This course will address how adventure/experiential practice must attend to the key diversity dimensions (including ability, age, class, color, culture, ethnicity, family structure, gender (including gender identity and gender expression), marital status, national origin, race, religion or spirituality, sex, and sexual orientation) as it relates to individuals and their families.


 Describe the theoretical underpinnings of Experiential and Adventure Practice
 Apply relevant Social Work practice principles into Adventure Practice
 Demonstrate a model for adventure/experiential facilitation.
 Demonstrate knowledge of the tools and techniques of adventure practice
 Perform adventure-based assessments, formulate adventure-based plans and
develop evaluation procedures.
 Understand the significance of environmental/ecological factors in individual
assessment and interventions, as well as broader contexts of family, group,
neighborhood, and society.
 Safely facilitate client systems through some of the common tools in adventure
practice, including those that are found in Challenge Courses
 Demonstrate ways to help the participant(s) transfer the learning from the facilitated experience to other aspects of their life.
 Adapt adventure tools for use indoors, particularly for the counseling or therapeutic
 Demonstrate appropriate use of adventure-based activities with diverse client
groups and in different settings.
 Discuss typical ethical concerns related to adventure-based Social Work practice.

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