Glossary and Resources

Adventure Therapy Glossary:

ACEs and the ACE Study:

Adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs, are potentially traumatic events that occur in childhood (0-17 years). For example:

  • experiencing violence, abuse, or neglect
  • witnessing violence in the home or community
  • having a family member attempt or die by suicide

Also included are aspects of the child’s environment that can undermine their sense of safety, stability, and bonding such as growing up in a household with:

  • substance misuse
  • mental health problems
  • instability due to parental separation or household members being in jail or prison

ACEs are linked to chronic health problems, mental illness, and substance misuse in adulthood. ACEs can also negatively impact education and job opportunities. However, ACEs can be prevented.

Adventure Therapy: the prescriptive use of adventure experiences provided by mental health professionals, often conducted in natural settings that kinesthetically engage clients on cognitive, affective, and behavioral levels.” (Gass, Gillis, and Russell, 2012)

Behavioral Health Service Organization: a designation by the Kentucky Department for Medicaid Services that recognizes an organization as offering mental health services and represents a pre-requisite to obtaining contracts with Kentucky’s five, Medicaid approved, health insurance companies for reimbursement for individual client therapeutic interventions. ( )

Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) is the qualified professional providing recreational therapy services. The CTRS is a certified recreational therapist who has demonstrated professional competence by acquiring a specific body of knowledge and passing the NCTRC exam.

Conner-Davidson Resilience Scale (CD-RISC 10)

Psychometric tool for the measurement of resilience or the ability to “bounce back” or recover. Used at Life Adventure Center with participants in our longitudinal programming, it is our goal to collect qualitative data in efforts to understand our effect on resilience and growth in those we serve.

Experiential Education: a teaching pedagogy based on Kolb and Fry’s Experiential Learning Model ( ) by which “…educators purposefully engage with learners in direct experience and focused reflection in order to increase knowledge, develop skills, clarify values, and develop people’s capacity to contribute to their communities” (

National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification: Established in 1981, the premier credentialing organization for the profession of Therapeutic Recreation is NCTRC, a non-profit organization dedicated to professional excellence for the protection of consumers through the certification of recreational therapists.

Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare: “the prescriptive use of wilderness experiences by licensed mental health professionals to meet the therapeutic needs of clients” (

Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Accreditation: a credentialing program for outdoor behavioral healthcare providers offered through the Association for Experiential Education and the Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Council – a nationally recognized accrediting body. (

Recreational Therapy, also known as therapeutic recreation, is a systematic process that utilizes recreation and other activity-based interventions to address the assessed needs of individuals with illnesses and/or disabling conditions, as a means to psychological and physical health, recovery and well-being. Further, “Recreational Therapy” means a treatment service designed to restore, remediate and rehabilitate a person’s level of functioning and independence in life activities, to promote health and wellness as well as reduce or eliminate the activity limitations and restrictions to participation in life situations caused by an illness or disabling condition.

Therapeutic Rehabilitation Program: a designation by the Kentucky Department for Medicaid Services that recognizes an organization as offering mental health services and represents a pre-requisite to obtaining contracts with Kentucky’s five, Medicaid approved, health insurance companies for reimbursement for individual client therapeutic interventions (


Acute or Direct Trauma: a onetime event that happens under a limited amount of time. Examples include a sexual or physical assault, going through a natural disaster or possibly car wreck (

Complex Trauma: both adult and children’s exposure to multiple traumatic events, often of an invasive, interpersonal nature, that result in wide-ranging, long-term effects. They usually occur early in life and can disrupt many aspects of the child’s development and the formation of a sense of self (

Trauma Informed Care: “…a strengths based framework that is grounded in an understanding of and responsiveness to the impact of trauma, that emphasizes physical, psychological, and emotional safety for both providers and survivors, and that creates opportunities for survivors to rebuild a sense of control and empowerment” (Hopper, Bassuk, & Olivet, 2010,

Therapeutic Adventure Professionals Group: The Therapeutic Adventure Professional Group is committed to the development and promotion of adventure-based programming and the principles of experiential education in therapeutic settings. We are also committed to the professional development of our members and the profession as a whole.

Staff Certifications:

ACA| Canoe-Kayak-SUP-Raft-Rescue:

Founded in 1880, The American Canoe Association (ACA) is a national non-profit organization serving the broader paddling public by providing education related to all aspects of paddling, stewardship support to help protect paddling environments, and sanctioning of programs and events to promote paddlesport competition, exploration, and recreation. There are a variety of training courses provided by ACA including Universal Paddling, Paddlesports Safety Facilitator (PSF), and multiple levels of skill advancement certification for the paddlesports including canoeing, paddleboard, kayaking, and more!

Certified Horsemanship Association:

CHA is the industry leader in horsemanship education and instructor certification, seeking to change lives through safe experiences with horses.

Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association:

EAGALA is a global standard in psychotherapy and personal development incorporating horses.

Their team approach includes a licensed Mental Health Professional, a qualified Equine Specialist, and horses working together. All the work is done on the ground with no riding involved.

First Aid Training:

All of our staff have basic First Aid & CPR training through recognized national providers. Some program staff have additional training and certification in wilderness medicine, preparing us to keep participants safe, prevent injuries, and respond when the unexpected happens while they are in our programs, whether we can easily reach emergency care, or in more remote areas.

Challenge Course certifications / Association for Challenge Course Technology (ACCT):

Staff who program and manage our challenge course have a combined thousands of hours of practical experience, along with training and certifications from industry experts as practitioners at Levels I & II (safety, facilitation, and technical skills) and as Challenge Course Managers (theory, training, management, and safety).


Our staff are certified through the National Archery in the Schools Program: NASP® is an activity that doesn’t discriminate based on popularity, athletic skill, gender, or size. We utilize archery as an opportunity to work on self- regulation, goal setting, and fun!

Other Helpful References:

Gass, M., Gillis, H., Russell, K., 2012, Adventure Therapy Theory, Research, and Practice 1st Edition, Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, NY.

Van Der Kolk, B., 2014, The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind and Body in the Healing of Trauma, Penguin Books, NY.