Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Adventure therapy, Psychotherapist and patient, Countertransference (Psychology), Transference (Psychology), Wilderness therapy, Outdoor behavioral health care, Transference


This qualitative study set out to explore the ways in which clinicians in Wilderness Therapy (WT) manage and address the clinical phenomena of transference and counter transference as it arises in the field. Additionally, the topics of personal and professional boundaries were explored in order to help assess ways clinicians maintain appropriate boundaries and educate their para professional staff about this topic. Seven clinicians from various WT programs across the country participated in a thirty to forty minute long interview via telephone. Throughout the interview process, valuable information was gained pertaining to the process of transference and counter transference within the clinical encounter. The major finding from this research shows that transference plays a key role within the clinical dialogue and practice of each participant. Clinicians reported using a multitude of resources to help address the transferential relationship with clients. One of the most commonly referred to resources were the natural surroundings inherent in Wilderness Therapy. Further, it was noted that the majority of participants reported how transference arises more quickly during WT, when compared to traditional front country models. The findings from this research are intended to contribute to the ongoing discourse about the clinical aspects of Wilderness Therapy.




iii, 68 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2012. Includes bibliographical references (p. 58-65)

Limited Access until August 2017