Narrative and Bush Adventure Therapy

Ben Knowles and Pete Rae

When: 10/06/2017, 9:00am to 11/06/2017, 4:00pm
How Much: $380.00 ($340.00 AABAT members)
Where: Parks Victoria Conference Centre - Westerfolds Park (Templestowe, Victoria)

Register Here

We dream in narrative, daydream in narrative, remember, anticipate, hope, despair, believe, doubt, plan, revise, criticise, construct, gossip, learn, hate, and love by narrative.Hardy, B in MacIntyre, 1981, p211

As humans we make sense of our experiences through language and stories, yet the events of our lives are often inscribed in our bodies in ways that words alone cannot make sense of or shift. Together, narrative therapy and bush adventure therapy offer respectful and non-blaming practices that enable people to experience themselves in new ways and create space to better understand problems they may face in life. This workshop will explore how playful, whole-of-body adventures in nature and the stories we create about these experiences can support learning, connection with a preferred sense of oneself, and recovery from adverse life experiences.

Workshop Content

This two-day workshop provides an introduction to ideas and practices that join narrative therapy and bush adventure therapy. Participants will determine specific content to be covered from the following list:

  • understanding the narrative analogy*;
  • the concept of exchange in therapy vs practitioner as expert;
  • creating unity in diversity, bringing groups together around shared intentions;
  • externalising and collective externalisation practices, talking about problems safely*;
  • creating safe space, authoring rights and the politics in privacy;
  • power, self-surveillance, dominant narratives and territories of preferred identity;
  • news of difference and the interaction between experience and identity*;
  • outsider witnessing, special practices of noticing to strengthen identity;
  • memory theory, adverse life experiences and re-authoring practices*;
  • playful adventures and the somatosensory bath of bush adventure therapy.

* these topics are considered foundational in bringing narrative and bush adventure therapy practices together and, as such will definitely be covered over the weekend.

What is Narrative Therapy?

There are likely as many versions of narrative therapy as there are narrative practitioners, however each shares a set of assumptions and principles that unite narrative as a rich and ethical way of working with people from all walks of life. One description that resonates with bush adventure therapy follows:

As people, we are inescapably meaning-makers. We have an experience, and then attach meaning to it. Since time immemorial, and the days around the campfire, we have been telling stories. Stories are the most familiar means of communicating the meaning we find in our experience. Narrative therapy is interested in the stories we live by - those stories we carry with us about who we are and what is most important to us. Narrative therapy involves unearthing these, understanding them and retelling them [in ways that make us stronger].Sween, E., 1998

Bush Adventure Therapy and Adventure Works

Bush Adventure Therapy (BAT) is a holistic approach to human health and wellbeing. Undertaking adventure in a natural environment within a safe small group offers a unique therapeutic milieu. When BAT experiences are personally chosen and individually tailored, the therapeutic potential is magnified.

Adventure Works (AW) have  found that natural environments offer a unique setting for intentional conversations and the gaining of helpful insights. Our BAT programs and Bush Counselling services are delivered by people trained in narrative therapy, family therapy, outdoor education and leadership. Our common aim across these mediums is to invite participants to reflect, act and relate in new, preferred ways. And research evidence demonstrates that people from all walks of life find BAT seriously good!

Workshop Location

The workshop will be held at the Parks Victoria Conference Centre within Westerfolds Park - Templestowe, Victoria. 


Getting There

Public transport

Find your public transport options here: PT Victoria

Flying in

If you are coming from interstate or overseas we can help support transport from and too the airport. Please note this is by request only and you will need to ensure your flight in arrives by 7am on 10th and your flight out doesn't require you to be at the airport prior to 5:30pm.

Workshop Fee

The workshop fee: $380.00 per person ($340.00 for AABAT Members)

This includes:

  • Food for the two days (morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea)
  • Workshop content
  • Supplementary online content to revisit key concepts
  • A narrative and bush adventure therapy reading pack

Accommodation on Saturday night is not covered by the registration fee.

We offer a 10% discount to current members of the Australian Association for Bush Adventure Therapy Inc and Current Students.

What to Expect

This workshop will invite participants to explore the concepts and practices of narrative and bush adventure therapy in a relaxed and semi-formal setting. Expect to participate actively in conversations and experiences. There will be opportunities to practice skills associated with each topic area and consider how you might take the ideas back to your particular context. Some of the practice sessions give the opportunity for participants to engage in real conversations with each other. These are highly structured, are intended to be ‘light’ in the content they explore, and are not intended to explore significant unresolved problems.

What to Bring


Warm comfortable clothing appropriate for bushwalking (waterproof jacket, good walking shoes and warm jumper, pants). Be prepared to spend at least a few hours each day outdoors on short walks.


We encourage a collaborative learning environment where we can encounter new ideas and linger awhile, as such it is important to come with an open mind and whatever other disposition that is useful to engage with some challenging and thought provoking ideas. Come prepared to sit in the sometimes uncomfortable space of not knowing, where there are not clear delineations between right and wrong.

Further Information

If you have any questions about the venue and logistics relating to travel, accommodation, food and other practicalities contact Pete

If you have any questions about the training content, what to expect and making a payment, please contact Ben

Important Note

While it is not the purpose of this workshop to engage you in therapy, we need to acknowledge that the potential exists for conversations and topic areas to trigger personal responses. It is important to come along knowing that this is possible and understand that sometimes personal responses come up unexpectedly. Training staff are professionals with extensive experience and can offer support if needed, however we will need to limit this support to the duration of the workshop. We expect that if personal concerns, issues or problems come up for you over the weekend that you will seek out further professional support following the workshop. We consider it  very important that practitioners are not hindered in their work by personal concerns, and as such strongly advocate for practitioners to undertake their own therapeutic work and/ or participate in regular formal supervision.

Workshop Facilitators

Ben Knowles

Pete Rae

Ben began work in the outdoor education field in 1997. Over his adult working life he has found himself traversing the fields of outdoor education, teaching, training, bush adventure therapy and clinical therapy. Ben currently balances being a Director of Adventure Works Pty. Ltd., Secretary of the Australian Assocition for Bush Adventure Therapy and a Senior Clinician for Berry Street's Take Two Program. Read More...

Pete has worked professionally as an outdoor leader, educator and practitioner in BAT for over 20 years and has enjoyed his own personal adventures in the outdoors for nearly 40 years. He brings experience in program development, administration and management to the Adventure Works team, and has helped establish program operations. Pete has worked across a range of outdoor activity disciplines and modes of delivery with children, young people and adults, in groups and with individuals. In his spare time Pete works on his family’s organic hobby farm and escapes for adventures in Tasmania’s fantastic outdoors with his family.   Read More...