I have been nourished by participating in outdoor activities since my teens and have found joy, learning and satisfaction from being actively involved in the field of adventure therapy since the late 1980’s. My passion for connecting with others through meetings and conferences started in New Zealand in the late 80’s and has continued to this day.
The IATC’s began when a small group of idealists, led by me, launched 1IATC in Perth in 1997. Since then I’ve been actively involved with most subsequent IATC’s as well as many other conferences around the world that connected with the field of outdoor healthcare.
Semi-retirement has enabled me to develop a passion for stone carving and to continue to write and publish in a range of fields, including outdoor based programs. I chair a community-based mental health alliance where I live in the South West of Western Australia and am able to find solace at my home in the bush.
Pekka A. Lyytinen
Pekka has worked with family counselling and therapy since 1989 and has used adventures as a means to establish a positive change in the lives of children, teenagers and families since 1990.
Pekka is a specialist psychologist in developmental and educational psychology as well as a family and couples therapist. He works as a rehabilitation coordinator in the Foundation for the Rehabilitation of Children and Young People at the Mannerheim League for Child Welfare. He is active within Finnish outdoor education and adventure therapy networks and is a Finnish representative to ATIC (Adventure Therapy International Committee) and NOTN (Nordic Outdoor Therapy Network).
Annette Bischoff holds a master’s degree in sport pedagogy and sport psychology from the University of Copenhagen, and a PhD in outdoor recreation and nature experience from the Norwegian University of Environmental and Life Sciences.
She has worked with outdoor studies, culture and nature facilitation at the University of South-Eastern Norway (USN) since 1993, currently working as head of “USN Center for Sustainable Transitions”. The main focus of Annette’s work has been on the human relationship to nature, nature connectedness, the importance of nature to us and how nature can be used pedagogically in different contexts – within health and rehabilitation, management, education and in the school system.
Anna María Pálsdóttir
Anna María is an Associate Professor at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Department of People and Society. She holds an MSc and PhD in landscape planning and environmental psychology. Anna María works with conceptual development and scientific evaluations of nature-based and nature-assisted interventions, conducted in various outdoor environments for different target groups.
She works with evidence based-design of sustainable health-promoting outdoor environments for human health and well-being. The work is in close collaboration with national and international universities, governmental offices, and stakeholders.
Anita has been involved in the field of Bush Adventure Therapy (BAT) for over two decades in roles of practitioner, manager, trainer and researcher/evaluator. In 2009, she completed a PhD in Public Health investigating the histories, practices, outcomes and evidence base of Australian outdoor adventure interventions.
From 2012 to 2015 Anita was co-chair of the International Adventure Therapy Committee (ATIC) and international representative of the Australian Association for Bush Adventure Therapy (AABAT). Anita currently supports BAT in Australia as co-Director of Adventure Works Australia Ltd and co-leader of AABAT’s Outdoor Healthcare policy unit.
Stephen is a Professor in the Child and Youth Care Department at Vancouver Island University. He has over 20 years of experience working with youth and young adults as a facilitator, guide, program manager, counsellor, and faculty member. He has a master’s in Transpersonal Counselling Psychology with a Wilderness Therapy specialization from Naropa University. He is currently completing his PhD in Outdoor Experiential Education with a focus on Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare (OBH) at the University of New Hampshire.
Stephen’s research interests include risk management and predictors of clinical change in OBH programs and change processes in nature-based counselling. He is a research associate for the Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Centre and the National Association of Therapeutic Schools and programs.
Luk has been working in the Experiential Outdoors since 1985. He holds a master in educational sciences and is a Gestalt and Person-Centred therapist with specialisations in Existential and Group Psychotherapy. He has been an Outward Bound trainer for more than 30 years and was the co-founder of a European Challenge Course Construction and Training Company.
He currently is a self-employed process facilitator and consultant. He is staff member of a Group Psychotherapy training program, the coordinator of an Adventure Therapy specialization year in Belgium and a partner in the international Via Experientia network.
Ray Burke has worked in the field of adventure therapy for 16 years and outdoor development for over 20 years. Ray led the development of an adventure therapy service within a young person care home, before establishing Active Connections, the organization he now leads in Ireland. Active Connections in 2021 carried out over 17000 contact hours with participants. Ray currently is leading the European Adventure Therapy network, together with the rest of the coordination team.
Natalia Ruiz de Cortázar Gracia
Natalia is a Psychologist, Family Therapist, Adventure Therapy and Wilderness Therapy facilitator and trainer for mental health professionals in Spain and Europe. She designs, coordinates and develops AT/WT programs and training courses for professionals in different contexts such as hospitals, day care centers, schools, and other organizations.
She has been part of the co-foundation of the Adventure Therapy Europe Network and the Gathering for Adventure Therapy in Europe organisational team. Passionate about nature, people, and the connection of both, Natalia has dedicated the past 7 years of her professional career to coordinate Experientia, a non-profit organization, and the development and promotion of AT in Spain.