Municipality of Kristiansand – World conference on outdoor therapy comes to Kristiansand

Photo: Alexander Dorum

The International Conference on Adventure Therapy

The International Adventure Therapy Conference is a global conference that has previously been held in Germany, Canada, New Zealand, Scotland, Czech Republic, USA and Australia. Joint Journey is the theme of this year’s conference, where you will experience outdoor therapy as a journey through body, mind and on a metaphorical level.

The conference, which runs from June 20-25, will bring together 380 participants from 41 nations. Additionally, there will be digital participants from 45 nations. This year’s program includes more than 100 lectures and workshops from 24 countries. Here you will find everything from morning activities, family activities and social activities, to celebrating Sankthan in Hovden, a trip to the summit in Nos and a concert with KRS Soul Stew in Haubitz Låve.

What is Adventure Therapy?

– Adventure Therapy is an umbrella term for health promotion and therapeutic work that takes place outdoors, often in groups, and always contains elements of mastery and challenge. Tracking or nature-based activity is perhaps the easiest way to explain the concept. In Norway and Sørlandet, there has been an exciting development on this over the past ten years, says Leif Roar Kalleberg, who is department manager at the Swedish Energy Agency in Kristiansand Municipality. Additionally, he notes:

– We see that more and more people are interested in this area. The municipality, together with the ABUP of Sørlandet Hospital and the Blue Cross, organized the conference of the Scandinavian camp “nature and mental health” in Bragdøya. Here, participants, professionals and researchers came together to share experiences and knowledge and to network during the period 2017 to 2019.

What does it mean to you that the conference is being held in Kristiansand for the first time?

– First of all, it means that we get a lot of attention from all the nations participating in the conference. It is overwhelming to be able to invite to a world conference. At Kristiansand Health and Adaptation Services, we have worked hard to develop good outdoor activities and aftercare. We are now showing it to a large international professional community. The conference also contributes to our increased focus on all the opportunities and challenges we can work with in nature. We can show the versatile nature we have here and participants can experience the coast, the forest and the mountains, says Kalleberg and adds:

– For Energiverket, we have invested a lot in life and outdoor activities for ten years. We now have a unique opportunity to pass on our foundation, which means we believe that everyone has opportunities and it is through community, mastery, belonging and a strong cheerleading squad that we are creating a good framework for growth and development.

Photo: Alexander Dorum

Everyone is invited to attend the following events

As part of the conference taking place in Kristiansand, IATC invites all residents to the following three events, which are open and free to all:

  • morning bath in Tuesday, June 21 from Berte at 07-08. Here, residents are invited to a morning swim with conference attendees.
  • coastal walk Monday, June 20 at 5 p.m. Meeting at Odderøyhallen. Here, residents are taken on a coastal walk on Odderøya with Lars Verket and a guided art walk through several of Odderøya’s galleries.
  • Exploratory workshop on the Blue Health participatory methodology at Bendiksbukta on Odderøya on Monday 20 June at 17-18.

– Explorative Workshop is a follow-up to a workshop held at the 2018 Sydney World Conference. ‘adventure. It’s a good workshop for anyone who wants knowledge, is curious, or wants to learn more about what adventure therapy is, Kalleberg says.

Photo: Alexander Dorum

Anniversary book “Ten years with the Swedish Energy Agency”

Energiverket is an activity offering for residents with mental health and addiction issues, and is part of the Life Mastery service. Recently they launched a book called “Ten years with Energiverket out”, which can be purchased from Energiverket. The book will also be sold during the conference. In the anniversary book, ten participants tell their stories and experiences of being in outdoor groups.

– Participants who are part of our groups have encountered challenges to varying degrees, but by participating in the outdoor groups, accepting challenges, achieving goals and taking trips, something happens with the way you live yourself and what you think of the future and own resources. With this book, we want to bring out those stories, because they give us insight into how nature affects us, says Kalleberg.

Photo: Municipality of Kristiansand

Here you can see this year’s conference program.

More information about the conference can be found on their website.

You can find more information about Energiverket on our website.

Alec Dittman

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