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A significant new positive psychology movement focuses upon positive mental states and personality traits. It has been suggested that this movement should guide thought and practice in adventure-based therapy (ABT). This article examines that suggestion, including evidence offered in its support, and identifies certain regards in which positive psychology does not yet seem to provide cohesive guidance for ABT. It is suggested that, instead of restricting itself to a narrowly psychological perspective on clients lives and resources, ABT should employ constructive insights from multiple fields whose concerns are closely parallel to or interwoven with those of ABT, including education, social work, and several nature-oriented disciplines.


Introduction Traditional and Positive Psychology The New Movement Evidence-Based Practice The Positive and the Constructive Education as a Constructive Undertaking Other Sources of Constructive Insight Conclusion References

4 4 5 9 13 15 19 21 23

Positive Psychology and a Constructive Adventure-Based Therapy A recent issue of the Journal of Experiential Education carried an article by Dene S. Berman and Jennifer Davis-Berman (2005) on the subject of positive psychology. Positive psychology, as described, seeks to rectify a perceived negative orientation in todays mainstream psychology. The article cites positive psychology as a basis for substantial rethinking of contemporary practices in therapeutic outdoor education (referred to here as adventure-based therapy, or ABT). As the following pages indicate, however, positive psychology (particularly as construed by the Bermans) does not presently appear capable of providing, by itself, a coherent and compelling template for ABT. Rather, much would be gained from drawing upon several other fields including education, social work, and nature-oriented disciplines to develop ABT as a constructive, growth-oriented endeavor that is far more than a mere offshoot of psychology, positive or otherwise. Traditional and Positive Psychology Traditionally, the Bermans say, psychology has been focused on preventing and treating human pathology (p. 18). This traditional approach, they say, has used a deficitfocused or negative paradigm of human functioning that seeks to identify and often diagnose deficits in functioning and affect (p. 18). Against that, they contrast positive psychology, which they consider a relatively new movement (p. 17) concerned with enhancing clients strengths. By that description, deficit-oriented diagnosing of clients weaknesses is a characteristic of the negative paradigm. But such diagnosing comes very easily, even to those who are uneasy with it, as this quote from the Bermans shows: Many outdoor education programs are intended to work with vulnerable populations. Others are targeted toward people who have been diagnosed with
Comment [A2]: So why not simply focus on the contributions of these other fields, rather than setting positive psychology up as the proverbial straw man in this paper? Once youve outlined your claims about the contributions that these fields can make, you should then provide evidence to support your claims. Comment [A3]: Citations throughout the paper should follow APA style. More importantly, references should be more formal, less personal, than presented here. Comment [A1]: Is this phrase an accurate reflection of the practice? Why not just start out with ABT?

mental health and/or physical health problems. Increasing anxiety or aggravating any other mental health symptoms is not only an undesirable outcome when working with these populations, but it puts participants at added risk. (p. 22) The quotation appears to suggest that it is valid that clients have been diagnosed as being vulnerable and experiencing problems of a mental or physical nature, including anxiety and other mental health symptoms. Similarly, the Bermans draw upon the current conventional wisdom in psychology (p. 20, emphasis added) to criticize the ABT practice of taking people out of their comfort zones. Moreover, in support, they cite Maslow (1954), whose text is not part of any new movement. These examples call for a clearer understanding of the extent to which positive psychology really does diverge from traditional psychology, and what that divergence means for ABT. The New Movement American Psychologist is the official journal of the American Psychological Association. Introducing a special issue of that journal devoted entirely to positive psychology, Martin E. P. Seligman and Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi (2000) said this: Prevention researchers have discovered that there are human strengths that act as buffers against mental illness: courage, future mindedness, optimism, interpersonal skill, faith, work ethic, hope, honesty, perseverance, and the capacity for flow and insight, to name several. (p. 7) This was an important statement. Many writers (e.g., Gable & Haidt, 2005; Bacon, 2005; Sandage & Hill, 2001; Strmpfer, 2005) locate the founding statement of positive psychology in that article by Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi (2000). Observers (e.g., Cowen & Kilmer, 2002; Gable & Haidt, 2005) also indicate that positive psychology derived its momentum generally
Comment [A4]: Is it not valid?

from Seligmans vigorous promotion while he held the influential position of chair of the APA in the late 1990s. Then, and at other times, Seligman has devoted much effort to championing positive topics, such as learned optimism (e.g., Seligman, 1991) and authentic happiness (e.g., Seligman, 2002a). It is not yet clear what shape positive psychology will (or should) take. Some voices have expressed concern about the possibility of excess. Csikszentmihalyi (2003), for example, says, [T]here is a real danger that positive psychology will become, to some extent at least, an ideological movement in which serious research is obscured (p. 114). More sharply, in a discussion of articles on positive psychology, Lazarus (2003) said, The so-called desirable qualities are presented without empirical foundation or a thoughtful rationale. . . . As I read what [some positive psychologists have said], I found myself thinking I must have entered a house of worship rather than a scholarly or scientific debate (p. 176). At the same time, an urge to restrict positive psychology to a relatlively narrow track might be working against preexisting historical realities. Csikszentmihalyi (2003) asks and answers: Is positive psychology new? Of course not (p. 115). He explains that positive psychology pursues an agenda similar to that of Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers, and other humanists of the 1950s whose effort is still very much alive, especially in clinical and counseling settings (p. 115). Similarly, Tedeschi and Calhoun (2004) consider todays positive psychology a continuation of that earlier work (p. 3). Hence, one may distinguish todays positive psychology movement from a positive emphasis that has repeatedly arisen in various psychological perspectives over the years. For purposes of the latter, it seems that the humanistic psychology of Maslow, beginning in the 1950s, was not really the starting point either. Before World War II, according to Seligman and

Csikszentmihalyi (2000), psychology did give considerable attention to the nurturance of talent, and to positive efforts to make peoples lives more productive and fulfilling. There are some signs that todays positive psychologists may not yet be entirely prepared to acknowledge that they are merely part of a very broad and ancient human search for positive outcomes in human thought and experience. One small example may help to illustrate this. Consider the remark by Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi (2000) that, in any large bookstore nowadays, the psychology section contains at least 10 shelves on crystal healing, aromatherapy, and reaching the inner child for every shelf of books that tries to uphold some scholarly standard (p. 7). In that remark, the authors certainly do not appear to consider aromatherapy, for instance, to have as much value as some scholarly standard in psychology. It seems odd that two scholars of such repute apparently disregarded extant evidence supporting aromatherapys efficacy for certain purposes (e.g., Buckle, 1999; Diego et al., 1998; Hay, Jamieson, & Ormerod, 1998; Wilkinson, Aldridge, Salmon, Cain, & Wilson, 1999). One might reasonably ask whether Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi, who were originally trained in the deficit-oriented scholarship that is said to dominate traditional psychology, are themselves hesitant to accept the possibility that non-traditional techniques like aromatherapy are not merely flaws or overly enthusiastic legacies of Maslows humanistic psychology (Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000, p. 7). The seeming preference, by Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi (2000), for some scholarly standard (p. 7), is also perplexing if, as they seem to say, the dominant, deficit-oriented scholarship is precisely not the direction in which they would lead todays positive psychology movement. In such light, one might pause to reflect upon their acknowledgment that perhaps Maslow and Rogers were ahead of their times (p. 7).
Comment [A5]: How about tracing this to the Aristotelian discourse regarding the development of virtue?

In practical terms, it might be that the shelves in the bookstore are not, after all, entirely misallocated that, rather, to some extent, the bookstores customers may actually be leading the pack. With or without the blessing of scholars, starting long before humanistic psychology, such readers favored works seem to have been giving them positive guidance that they were evidently not finding in the professionals variously unaffordable, stigmatized, inefficacious, interminable, and inscrutable works and treatments. As a simple but sage example, the adage, Laugh, and the world laughs with you; cry, and you cry alone, originated in an ordinary daily newspaper back in 1883 (Wallechinsky and Wallace, 1975). While the intellectuals were struggling with Freud, book purchasers in the early 20th century were flocking to inspirational works by Orison Swett Marden (1908/2003); and long before the advent of the id, ego, and superego, they were admiring the oft-quoted Augustine and the Pauline faith, hope, and love (I Corinthians 13:13, New English Bible). There is much more that one could say, to demonstrate the breadth and endurance of interest in a positive approach to mental wellness. For example, Strmpfer (2005) detects a total of more than 40 forerunners of positive psychology, in a list that includes such 19th-century intellectuals as Sren Kierkegaard and William James. He also cites Chinese and other ancient examples of positive orientation. According to Walsh (2001), methods for cultivating psychological health, devised in ancient Buddhism and yoga, have shown their effectiveness in hundreds of studies. In short, the positive psychology movement of today has probably approached, thus far, a mere fraction of the aggregate current and historical interest in, and insight into, positive mental phenomena, as documented on the levels of popular and scholarly literature and practice; and the list of contributing fields probably includes, not only psychology, but also religion, philosophy, literature, sociology, and others.

The positive psychology movement has the potential for, and may be achieving, important insights. In significant part, however, the movement could be construed as a belated and hesitant step toward putting western academic psychology back in touch with the needs and interests of ordinary people, and with the perspectives available in other fields, some of which have endured for millenia. To the extent that such a reading is valid, the ABT practitioner might properly consider positive psychology to be just one among many non-deficit-oriented perspectives that a wellness-oriented outdoor therapy could properly take into account. Evidence-Based Practice In 1997, Hattie, Marsh, Neill, and Richards warned outdoor researchers against writing research papers that read more like program advertisements (p. 45). Enthusiasm for a movement can actually be counterproductive, if its net effect is to undermine the movements credibility. With that concern in mind, it may be appropriate to provide a cautionary note about another aspect of the current interest in positive psychology, using as a specific example the following research summary provided by the Bermans: Using two samples of Outward Bound participants, [Leberman & Martin, 2002] looked at the relationship between activities that took participants out of their comfort zones, and the extent to which they related to and learned from those activities . . . . Their results indicated two interesting findings. First, the activities that took people out of their comfort zones were, for the most part, not those from which they learned the most. And second, the activities from which they learned the most were primarily social, creative, and reflective. These findings certainly are not definitive; nevertheless, they support a more positive model of change, and suggest that participants learned more when in positions of safety. (p. 21)
Comment [A6]: It would be helpful to frame the development of PP within the broader development of psychology. Psychology itself is a rather young field of study, going back little more than 100 years. Why, how, when, etc., did positive psychology arise within the field of psychology? Comment [A7]: Doesnt seem an appropriate section title.

In that research by Leberman and Martin (2002), one of the groups studied consisted of female prison inmates in New Zealand; the other was comprised of persons who had chosen to participate in an Intertouch course, in the Czech Republic, that used principles of dramaturgy. It is an understatement to observe, as the Bermans do, that these participants might have been looking for something that would be different from their experiences of daily life. The stated program goals including an awareness of educational opportunities in the areas of womens health, fitness and nutrition, drugs and alcohol (Leberman & Martin, p. 14) may also differ significantly from the goals of many other experiential education programs. Leberman and Martin themselves emphasize that the purpose of their qualitative research was not to produce generalizations that would apply to other kinds of programs; they emphasize the limits of their work and the need for more detailed exploration. Does this research support a more positive model of change? The Bermans summary does track the language of Leberman and Martins (2002) abstract; but delving into the article itself yields a more complex picture. Leberman and Martin state, for instance, that participants in the Czech program mentioned many different things from which they had learned the most, including e.g., playing with clay and meeting the Czech people (p. 15) but that none of those things was mentioned more than twice. Certainly one can learn from many different sorts of activities; but it is not clear that one can learn, from playing with clay, the things that one might learn from ABT. The kinds of techniques and goals pursued in challenge education, as described by Luckner and Nadler (1997, pp. 257-258), include a cooperative approach, shared goals, communication, introduction of new skills, increased self-esteem, an increased internal locus of control, development of more effective problem-solving skills, reflection upon the experience,
Comment [A8]: The authors treatment of the Bermans is too personal. I get the sense that there is some professional jealousy at play here. The reference should read Berman and Berman (200X). Remember APA style.

and transfer of learning into ones lifestyle. For such reasons, Leberman and Martin (2002) appropriately observe that typical adventure activities do tend to seek the kinds of social, physical, creative, and reflective (p. 13) outcomes that the Bermans (2005, p. 21) also favor. Leberman and Martin (2002) ask, in the title of their article, Does pushing comfort zones produce peak learning experiences? They express some doubt, however, that Intertouch participants from various nations all understood the comfort zone concept clearly in translation. Therefore, they did not actually ask those participants about their comfort zones. Instead, they asked, What was the hardest part of the course for you, and why? (p. 14). It is not clear that this question has any bearing on comfort zones. The responses to that question do nonetheless yield interesting insights. Leberman and Martin (2002) report that three of the hardest aspects of the course identified by participants were physical activities, dealing with other people in the group, and sharing. Two of those three items seem to be social in nature, which seems inconsistent with the Bermans proposition that social activities were among those from which participants learned the most. The same is true for the parallel proposition regarding reflective activities: the number of New Zealand women who considered reflection days most helpful (7, i.e., 28% of respondents) was barely higher than the number (6, i.e., 29% of respondents) who felt that the hardest thing about the course was dealing with the back stabbing, negative attitudes, and other aspects of group relations (pp. 15-16). There is much to wonder about, here, regarding the programs social and reflective content as well as its perceived emotional safety. Nor is it surprising that a group of people who signed up for dramaturgy, or that female prisoners who have had problems with drugs and alcohol, tended not to be overly excited about the physical activities, which included an apparently frightening rock-climbing activity that


Leberman and Martin (2002) seem to have considered poorly tailored to participants ability levels. Yet even with respect to that particular activity, Leberman and Martin point out that physical challenge may have enabled some participants to report that their peak learning occurred in [subsequent] reflection activities (p. 17) which might not surprise practitioners of Luckner and Nadlers (1997) approach. Moreover, typical examples from which participants had learnt the most (p. 15) included non-verbal communication games and soloing, both of which do enjoy frequent usage in various experiential education programs. The Bermans have provided a valuable contribution in opening this area up for discussion. The best construction of their argument, regarding the work by Leberman and Martin (2002), may be that ABT workers should not relax their vigilance in the complacent assumption that their method is always positive, but should rather continue to avoid discouraging or destructive outcomes. Also, this discussion of the Leberman and Martin research seems to justify the foregoing citation of Hattie, Marsh, Neill, and Richards (1997), as echoed in Csikszentmihalyis (2003) concerns about an ideological movement (p. 114) the point being that one might wisely lean toward cautious interpretation of research findings. There may be other research that would provide solid support for the view that positive psychology, or some interpretation thereof, does militate against existing ABT practice; and of course much can be said for the Bermans concerns about potentially deleterious effects that poorly designed challenge education might have upon vulnerable individuals. The error, in this case, may have been to assume that a seemingly therapeutic approach, concerned with reflection and socialization, would necessarily be profoundly positive. By now, the reader may have an increasing sense that the word positive is vague, and may even be negative in application that, for example, it may lead senior psychologists like


Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi to find fault with valuable books and therapies that happen to lie beyond their own training and preference, and that it may similarly encourage ill-founded criticism of valid approaches to ABT. This concern with the word positive should not, however, be interpreted as a rejection of the underlying idea. It may be helpful to pause, at this point, to clarify that idea and its potential value for the future of ABT. The Positive and the Constructive In their introduction to the special issue of American Psychologist, Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi (2000) indicate that positive psychology has to do with subjective experiences, personality traits, and civic virtues. They provide numerous dimensions and examples of each. Other articles in that issue expand upon their list. Thus, according to Cowen and Kilmer (2002), the contributors to the special issue collectively advanced a total of more than 60 desired outcomes of positive psychology; but few of the 60+ outcome variables listed were cited by more than several contributors (p. 455). The boundaries of the positive were, in their estimation, very vague. They cite one article that discusses the premise that America experiences an excess of freedom that is said to result in a kind of tyranny and increased clinical depression (pp. 455-456). Whatever the merits of that view, their concern is simply that they cannot determine what distinguishes that article as a work of positive psychology. One bid for clarity comes in the form of a polar distinction between positive and negative. Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi (2000) say, [O]ur message is to remind the field that psychology is not just the study of pathology, weakness, and damage; it is also the study of strength and virtue (p. 7, emphasis added). It might be more viable, however, to adopt a nuanced approach, a recognition that positive and negative may be chameleonic appearances of a single phenomenon. For example, optimism interests some positive psychologists (e.g.,
Comment [A9]: Choose a different way of saying this. I felt a little moronic when I stumbled on it.


Schneider, 2001). Yet Norem and Chang (2002) say that the ostensibly negative mindset of the pessimist may actually represent a positive adaptation to special circumstances. In a similar vein, Harvey and Pauwels (2003) point out that many people derive strength from their vivid recollection of tragedies which some might mistakenly characterize as a negative preoccupation and, for example, their determination that never again should such a thing occur (e.g., Gilbert, 2000). More generally, one is doubtless familiar with situations in which what appears negative from one perspective can be fairly characterized as positive from another. If the goal is to identify and study traits, attitudes, experiences, or other phenomena that are in some sense helpful for people, in contrast to those that merely distinguish instances of human pathology and failure, then it appears possible that the word positive is extraneous that one could simply refer directly to what is helpful, wellness-oriented, or strength-enhancing. Or if it appears useful to have an umbrella term for the general thrust of the inquiry, it may be more suitable to refer, not to the positive (which, in the worst case, could validate a reduction of meaning to the level of a mere plus sign or smiley face), but rather to the constructive. Construction, in one literal sense, acknowledges the possibility that one may have to pull out some nails, or tear down an old wall, before one can proceed with the main project. That proposed term may help to avoid some difficulties that have been identified in regard to the existing nomenclature (see e.g., Held, 2002). It also seems more compatible with intellectual inquiry: it is not hypocritical to employ negative commentary about positive psychology, particularly not if the purpose of the commentary is to achieve an outcome that is constructive in net terms. To draw on somewhat compatible terminology from another field, Schumpeter (1942/1976) postulated a process of creative destruction through which an


economy frees up underutilized resources for productive purposes. Perhaps a constructive psychology could do likewise. Education as a Constructive Undertaking To this point, the discussion has been oriented toward the positive psychology movement. Yet supposedly the need for that movement arises because the psychology of recent decades has been dominated by a non-positive mentality. In other words, the proposed agenda seems to be that one must first reform the field of psychology, and then use that reformed field to correct imperfect practices in experiential education. Some, especially persons with psychological training and orientation, may productively exert themselves along those lines. Meanwhile, however, others might consider an alternate route. Gable and Haidt (2005) cite Seligman (2002b) for the proposition that, in the original vision, positive psychology would address not only positive experiences and traits, but also positive institutions and communities. Yet positive psychology has not produced much research on the latter, they say, and there has also been no linkup with any positive sociology or anthropology. That is, even if the field of psychology were completely revamped, it might still address only a part of what might need to be done to develop a multifaceted, constructive science of people. It is not clear that the scope of ABT must be restricted to psychology. According to Newes and Bandoroff (2004), ABT is rooted in experiential education. Education and psychology are two distinct fields. Thus, an ABT practitioner might reserve the right to be curious about non-psychological fields that can impact experiential education beneficially. As a general proposition, educators attempt to facilitate the growth and learning of students. On the whole, their efforts to rectify deficits typically occur within the context of a


larger struggle to help those students achieve. Education thus seems to be a primarily positive undertaking. Hence, its insights may prove useful for people who are concerned about enhancing a constructive orientation in experiential education. Unfortunately, what would seem to be a natural fit, between education and experiential education, has actually not been quite so smooth. In criticizing the state of research in experiential education, Hattie et al. (1997) observed that programs were often conducted as if they operated in isolation from the educational world (p. 77). Certainly efforts have been made to rectify that. Yet one can still identify areas in which the experiential education literature diverges from, or simply ignores, the state of the art in the mainstream educational press. There is a possibility that the educational component of ABT has been artificially prevented from serving as a counterweight, one that could offset an otherwise excessive preoccupation with psychology. If that should prove to be the case, then an effort to enhance a constructive orientation in ABT might begin with removal of any blockage that might unduly hinder practitioners from paying appropriate attention to the educational literature. To that end, it may not be necessary to seek out the myriad ways in which educational insight could be useful. One example may suffice to highlight a dysfunctional propensity. The example offered here is one that lies at the very heart of ABT thinking. The example is that of John Dewey. Writers in experiential education frequently cite Dewey (1938) as a foundational source of the fields theoretical concepts (e.g., Carlson, 2005; Hubbs & Brand, 2005; Martin & Leberman, 2005). The articles citing Dewey do not frequently attempt, however, to apply his ideas in any depth, preferring rather to summarize them briefly on the way to some other topic. A critical reader could infer, from the superficiality apparent in


some such references, that Deweys primary value may be merely to add an intellectual pedigree to ones preferred views. For instance, according to Hatch and McCarthy (2005), Dewey posited that by putting the learner directly in touch with the subject of study, the ensuing experience, followed by reflection on the experience, would result in learning (Keeton & Tate, 1978) (p. 247). This quote is worth scrutinizing. The reader notes, first, that it contains no direct citation to a specific work by Dewey; indeed, his name does not appear in the articles list of references. That is, Hatch and McCarthy do not claim to have looked at Deweys works themselves; they merely provide a secondhand summary, derived from an interpretation by Keeton and Tate (1978). That approach to a foundational work can be risky. As a contrast, McKenzie (2000), who seems to have examined Deweys text, does not rest with a mere reference to experience. Rather, she points out that Dewey (1938) distinguished educative from miseducative experiences (McKenzie, 2000, p. 21). Some experiences, she recognizes, can be not merely uninformative; they can actually have a detrimental effect upon future learning. This is, in fact, the very concern addressed by Roberts (2005), writing in Education and Culture, the journal of the John Dewey Society. According to Roberts, Dewey considers an experience miseducative when it has the effect of arresting or distorting the growth of further experience (p. 17, quoting Dewey, 1938, p. 25). This may happen, Roberts says, when activities, however lively or interesting, are strung together in a disconnected way. Roberts, who is experienced and has published in experiential education, detects great potential for miseducative experience within experiential education practice: In the experiential paradigm activity can easily substitute for real human interaction. Students experience a product delivered to them. They rarely have


control over its construction. This is pronounced in its difference from Deweys definition of control. . . . Gone from this construction is the Deweyan legacy of placing experience at the center of the educational endeavor. In its place is deliverable product, easily made into candy. (Roberts, 2005, pp. 22, 24) Roberts might be wrong. So, for that matter, might Dewey. And so might some or all of the interpretations of Dewey that appear in the experiential education literature. One can gain confidence and insight in such matters, not by avoiding them, or by taking them for granted, but rather by exploring them by learning, in particular, what writers in the field of education have had to say about Deweys ideas over the past seven decades. In that way, in place of a weak foundation that rests everything upon accurate or inaccurate interpretations of a single philosopher, one might help to build a solid theoretical base, capable of supporting multiple perspectives and a rich, sophisticated exchange of ideas on experiential education. This discussion of Dewey is, again, merely one example of how experiential education in general, and ABT in particular, might benefit from a determined effort to learn from literature in the field of education. That literature is voluminous. It stands a good chance of having already addressed many issues that have arisen (or that will arise, or perhaps should arise) in experiential education. A person who browses among the articles can barely help becoming interested in the positive, helpful orientation that emanates from articles on such topics as group socialization theory (Austin, 2002), civics education (Galston, 2001), social constructivist approaches (Pruneau, Gravel, Bourque, & Langis, 2003), and the value of daydreaming (cf. Miller et al., 2004; Gold & Cundiff, 1980) and unstructured recess (Waite-Stupiansky & Findlay, 2001). In these and in many other regards, education offers much for a robustly constructive conception of experiential education and adventure-based therapy.


Other Sources of Constructive Insight The sobering reality is that many human undertakings do seek to achieve constructive outcomes for people and that an eclectic appreciation of those undertakings may prove very beneficial for ABT. For example, the field of social work already offers a portal into a constructive science of people. Social workers are trained to take account of biological, psychological, and social factors in clients situations (e.g., Keefe, 2003). Employing an orientation toward strengths, the social worker assesses client resources across that biopsychosocial spectrum. This assessment includes a look at what individuals, families, and communities surrounding the client know, and what they are capable of doing (Saleebey, 1996). The inquiry may include consideration of factors that enhance a clients capacity to bounce back after adversity (Norman, 2000; Constantine, Benard & Diaz, 1999), and of protective factors that may develop over the life span (Walsh, 1998), as well as the creation of new strengths (Lee, 2001). Applied to ABT, such perspectives could provoke consideration, not only of individual practitioners and clients, but also of relations among participants on extended outings; of interactions with people who live in areas where outings occur; and of the shared cultures of outdoor leaders, and of clients, on organizational, local, national, and international levels (cf. Carpenter & Pryor, 2004). In addition to social work, outdoor-oriented disciplines offer many insights that may enhance mental adjustment to ones world. For example, Haluza-Delay (2001) finds that the practice of conducting experiential education trips in exotic locations may lead participants to conclude that nature does not really exist in their own neighborhoods when, in fact, a life in, and attention to, ones local landscape may foster resiliency (Larson & Dearmont, 2002) and a developmentally important sense of place attachment (Low & Altman, 1992). Ones sense of


bonding to the land may grow with continued exposure (cf. Bogner, 1998). At the extreme, exposure to the outdoors may be beneficial even if it comes in the form of micro-restorative experiences of glancing out of a window in ones home (Kaplan, 2001, p. 508). Outdoor activity may also provide an opportunity to escape from the tyranny of the clock (Wohlwill, 1983; Borden, 1985) though not, perhaps, where an outdoor program obliges participants to account for every minute (cf. Nicholls, 2004). Some participants may also find that, by removing time constraints and other distractions, an outdoors experience can provide a felicitous opportunity to work on personally beneficial practices in, say, meditation (cf. Walsh, 2001; Kabat-Zinn, 1990; e.g., Monk-Turner, 2003). People have also long felt that the outdoors fosters development of an important, healthy mental dimension insofar as it increases ones awareness of something greater than oneself. The ABT leader whose concept of spirituality is to toss in some feathers and a few beads may underserve this orientation. There does seem to have been a serious sense, among countless people over the eons, that the experience or presence of nature can be extraordinary. Among the many sources from which one might draw, toward a fuller utilization of the power and/or propriety of an outdoors-oriented spirituality, it may be worth mentioning the Native American vision quest (Dugan, 1985; Martinez, 2004); classic non-western views emphasizing harmonious participation in nature, such as those of Hindus (Choudhury, 1994), Taoists (Yao, 1994), and Cree Indians (Berkes, 1999); and western philosophical ideas, including Paul Tillichs unity of all life (Drummy, 2000), Transcendentalism (Albanese, 2002), deep ecology (Naess, 1986; Metzner, 1999), feminist theologys sense of a healing nature (Larkin, 2001), and the Romanticist fascination with restorative wilderness (Nash, 1967) that inspired Denecourt to invent the woodland hiking trail, circa 1837 (Schama, 1995). If nothing else, one might note that


traditions that revere nature seem especially likely to take care of it (cf. McLuhan, 1994; Peden, 1974; Henderson, 1990) and thereby, perhaps, themselves. These examples, and many others, underscore the sense that ABT may usefully draw from a panoply of intellectual disciplines and perspectives, many of which may enhance ones awareness and development of various strengths in, or dimensions of, oneself and ones world. To the extent that ABT draws from the best of such sources, it may serve its clients by offering a constructive approach to therapy that is more robust, and more in connection with its frequently outdoor setting, than a purely psychological orientation could achieve. Conclusion Dene S. Berman and Jennifer Davis-Berman (2005) have identified concerns that arise from deficit-oriented conceptualizations of psychology. They have suggested that the positive psychology movement offers a viable alternative, with specific implications for ABT. Contemplation of their suggestions raises the thought, however, that positive psychology may thus far appreciate only a fragment of the mass of the available, constructively oriented material that, for example, leading thinkers in positive psychology may still hesitate to accept empirically supported viewpoints that diverge from those of mainstream contemporary psychology, and that the use of the word positive itself may indicate a very incomplete conceptualization. While observing progress in these regards within positive psychology, ABT practitioners might consider relevant perspectives from fields other than psychology. Given ABTs roots in experiential education, one obvious candidate is the field of education, which seems to have the potential to offer numerous valuable insights including insights regarding the interpretation and application of John Deweys ideas. Another candidate is social work, which offers a framework


within which adventure therapists can address, not only the inner functioning of the individual pursuant to psychologys latest developments, but also the larger systems that may significantly shape and develop the persons growth. Nature itself as experienced in the tapestry of many interwoven fields, including environmental education, environmental psychology, therapeutic gardening, horticultural therapy, and nature-oriented spirituality provides much material on which to base constructive therapeutic efforts. Collectively, such perspectives offer ABT the possibility of going beyond psychologys largely individual therapeutic concerns to take account of strengths and growth prospects across multiple levels.


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[Note: this is an OCR version of the comments supplied by reviewers. This version has been cleaned up somewhat but not proofread carefully against the comments sheets from which these words were scanned. This OCR version facilitates the entry of my responses adjacent to the suggested changes.]

Comment Sheet Reviewer Number: 1 Manuscript Number: 01-04-06-269 Reviewer Comments: This paper begins with a discussion of Berman and Davis-Bermans (2005) suggestion that perhaps some adventure programs could benefit from a positive approach, involving supportive communities, rather than a model involving anxiety or perceived risk (Berman & DavisBerman, 2005). First it critiques a couple components of the Berman & Davis-Berman article, then it raises problems with the positive psychology movement. In concludes with specific suggestions for incorporating approaches from a variety of other disciplines or philosophies into adventure-based therapy. Overall, this paper has a number of positive attributes. It looks at a wide variety of literature to address the promise of ABT, and in doing so has a number of worthwhile ideas. I do have a few concerns, none of which should be obstacles to publication: 1. It needs a brief outline of the article in the introduction to explain the structure of the paper. The paper felt sprawling and the focus was not clear in the first half. Response: I have sharpened the organization of the paper and have also added an introductory, outlining paragraph. There were too many references to the author. They did not contribute to the paper, and were unnecessary. Response: Resolved. The considerable use of acronyms made it somewhat difficult to follow. Response: I have removed these acronyms: B&DB, S&C, PP. I have retained ABT because it is frequently used in the literature. I did not find the discussion of Seligman & Csikszentmihalyis 2000 article satisfactory. That article was essentially an introduction to an issue of American Psychologist devoted to positive psychology. As such, its focus was on the 15 articles within that edition. In particular, the author criticized Berman & Davis-Bermans inclusion of Csikszentmihalyi s flow model, (Berman & Davis-Berman state, the flow experience has been widely cited and examined as an important part of positive psychology), claiming that the Seligman & Csikszentmihalyis 2000 (S&C) article (which Berman and Davis-Berman, 2005, cite) gave little support for flow as a component of positive psychology; and claiming





that even Csikszentmihalyi himself did not bother to propose flow as an important component of positive psychology in this issue. However, to me, the reason Csikszentmihalyi did not bother to discuss his flow concept was because the American Psychologist issue was devoted to the 15 articles, none of which were by Csikszentmihalyi. In fact, another article cited by the author (Kelly, 2004) specifically address Csikszentmihalyis flow as one of the contemporary models of positive psychology, and Csikszentmihalyi claims, in a different article by Csikszentmihalyi cited by the author (Legs or Wings?), to be one of the founders of the positive psychology movement. So the authors claim that Seligman & Csikszentmihalyis themselves seem to consider flow nearly irrelevant to PP is puzzling. And, if flow is one of the contemporary models of positive psychology, it is not surprising that Berman & Davis-Berman would incorporate it into their paper. Response: The previous attempt to address the subject of flow is best deferred for another time, when I can do it greater justice. Accordingly, I have deleted the section on Csikszentmihalyi and flow, retaining only the introduction of Seligman and Csikszentmihalyis (2000) article, which I have integrated into the next adjacent section. 5. There were a few strong terms, judgments, which I felt were overblown. The author suggested: Berman and Davis-Berman (2005) conveyed the sense that Luckner and Nadlers model of outdoor therapy] was misguided and dangerous (p. 8). I did not get the sense from Berman and Davis-Berman (2005) at all. Nor do I feel Berman and Davis-Berman (2005) should have acknowledged their contributions to Luckner and Nadlers book (p. 8). Response: the deletion of the section on Csikszentmihalyi and flow includes deletion of the remarks criticized here. I did not get a sense that Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi (2000) seem to sneer at the bookstore selling several shelve of popular psychology (p. 9). The author (p. 8) suggests that positive psychology itself is too critical, basing this judgment on one article by Csikszentmihalyi. Response: the offending passages have been deleted or substantially reworked. 6. Once the author gets beyond those criticisms of Berman and Davis-Berman (2005), beginning on p. 8, I believe the author critiques positive psychology within the context of portions of the Berman and Davis-Berman (2005) article. I found this section (pp. 8-12) a little difficult to follow due to its lack of focus, i.e., a wide range of disparate sources. It would be nice to have a brief orientation at the beginning of this section to address clearly


the point. Language such as medieval bloodletters of deficit-oriented pathologizing, scholarly psychology,... didnt really contribute. It appears their may be some legitimate criticisms of positive psychology, if that is the intention of this section. (Actually, I wasnt that clear what the intention of this section was.) If criticism is the intention, just presenting the critical arguments would be sufficient. The criticism of Berman & Davis-Bermans use of Leberman and Martin (pp. 10-12), I found interesting. I wasnt clear what conclusions to draw about positive psychology. The Leberman and Martin may not sufficiently support positive psychology, but the Leberman and Martin failure to support does not provide a blow against positive psychology or its use in ABT. Response: I have done a major rewrite of this section, with particular attention to these concerns. 7. One problem with the authors criticism of Berman & Davis-Berman is that the Berman & Davis-Berman article is merely a suggestion for rethinking about some practices, it does not attempt to be a definitive, or complete argument, for its thesis. I personally thought there were a few flaws in the Berman & Davis-Berman article, but I also thought the overall article made some good pointsdefinitely points worth thinking about. However, this authors criticisms were not the ones I would make, nor did they seem to me to attack the essential suggestion(s) of Berman & Davis-Berman. Response: In the revised draft, I have more clearly expressed the thought that the Bermanss advocacy of positive psychology is appreciated as far as it goes, but that there are further horizons to which ABT can profitably look. 8. The next section, pp. 12-14, seems to suggest that the concept of positive psychology is fuzzy (my language)there are some 60 different desired outcomes. (A similar criticism was made about Kuhns concept of a paradigm, some 20 different meanings.) The author talks about items, and the many different items which are part of positive psychology. Unfortunately, it is not clear what is meant by an item. The author also talks about negative aspects. It is not quite clear to me what an aspect is.

Regardless, of my lack of clarity in understanding details in this section, I believe I grasp the point. The authors summary of the positive as a swamp in which brave souls may waste the best years of the lives in vain wanderings among philosophical quandaries.. (p. 14) seemed a little overdone; but I believe the authors point was that the concept is fuzzy, and the fuzziness needs to be cleared up.

(However, his point may have been that the fuzziness of the concept is a fatal flawthat without clear terminology, psychologists can not be sure precisely of what they speak. Or maybe, the authors point was merely that it is fuzzy; and thats all.) Response: The revised draft incorporates a major rewrite and clarification of this section,


addressing these aspects of the previous draft. 9. The remainder of the article to me was fine (pp. 14-23). A number of suggestions for adventure based therapy (ABT) -- with which little of did I have a problem. I do question the claim that in ABT, the group is treated solely as a means to help the individual, not as something having value in itself, that the philosophical underpinnings are individualistic, and self-centered. .There is no sense that ABT intends to teach people to think of themselves as part of anything larger p. 15). My understanding of group process, and the small group psychology is that for an effective group, group members value being part of the group. To me, this implies that the group has value. When teaching group process, students need to learn that groups are valuable, and that being part of a group is important to people.

Response: I have replaced that illustration with one pertaining to the views of John Dewey, and have taken pains to explain and explore that illustration more carefully. My only other concern is that this section seemed to be a little long perhaps worthy of another paper. It brought in a large number of different ideas, a lot of food for thought, but without really developing (without metaphorically leading the reader to digest?) the thoughts.

Response: This section is now shorter, with a better explanation of the educational component, a more condensed list of other ideas, and a better summation. A final question involves the statement the movement appears ignorant of its own history (p. 22). Im not sure this is correct. In January 2001, Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi published a response to responses to their article issue, this point was brought up. They explained they didnt want to diminish the history, but they did not want to blur the boundaries between their movement and its predecessors. Response: That remark has been deleted. In summary, I believe this article has considerable promise. It does need some significant reworking.


Comment Sheet Reviewer Number: 2 Manuscript Number: 01-04-06-269 Reviewer Comments: It is hard to see this article as a REPLY to the Bermans (or should I say B&DB) article on Positive Psychology. It seems to be much more of a paper written for some other purpose (a class? A thesis?) and adapted as a response to the Bermans piece. Granted the author(s) did quote the Bermans excessively in the first 1/3 of the paper demonstrating the lapses in logic used in advocating positive psychology, but this was lost on my as the author(s) delved into too much detail on the issues with Csikszentmihalyi & Lazarus. Response: The reviewer is correct in recognizing, as I failed to clarify, that this article is more than a mere reply to the Bermans. I address that point in more detail below. The section on Csikszentmihalyi has been deleted. I found some nuggets of wisdom in the article that I feel would justify a REPLY to the Bermans. I do feel I have to admit I was not impressed with the Bermans original article as I felt it offered no new contribution to the field. Be that as it may. I would suggest the following: Shorten the article by at least 1/3 Briefly discuss how positive psychology is not new Highlight the lack of criticism of Luckner & Nadler (page 8) Highlight information from the lat paragraph on Page 10-page 12 (misinterpretation of research from reading only the abstract) Focus and say more about the group models vs. individual models currently in adventure based therapy Consider highlighting one of the four alternatives: education, social work, nature, Appreciative Inquiry. In short, point to the shortcomings in the Bermans article, especially where there logic does not work and point the readers of the journal toward more productive ends. .and do this with much less ink and please lose the shortcuts (B&DB, PP, S&C)

I do applaud the well referenced paper and the fact that the author(s) chose to highlight four, not one alternative leading this reviewer to feel the author(s) did not their own ax to grind.

Response: The shortcuts are gone, with the exception of ABT, which appears elsewhere in the literature. I have highlighted education as suggested, have dropped the reference to Appreciative Inquiry, and have condensed the description of social work and nature. Those last two remain, in abbreviated form, to preserve the sense that there are indeed multiple dimensions upon which a well-conceived and well-developed ABT should draw. I think I did myself and this reviewer a disservice by characterizing the previous draft as a mere reply to the Bermans. That title, and the corresponding, incompletely explained introductory emphasis, appear to have prompted the reasonable impression that, if the goal is to provide a response, I ought to be able to do that much more briefly by focusing upon 34

e.g., the weaknesses in the Bermans approach to the work of Luckner and Nadler, and of Leberman and Martin. What I was actually trying to do, however, was to use their article as a basis for a look at how ABT might grow by drawing upon the best of multiple relevant intellectual influences, rather than being a mere handmaiden of psychology. The progression that I have sought to achieve, in the revised draft with a different title and with greater clarification at the outset is to question the sufficiency, for ABT, of positive psychology; and then, on the strength of that questioning, to present education and other fields as sources of fundamental insight. The Bermans supply an entre into that discussion by suggesting that positive psychology itself suffices to justify a sea change in the practice of ABT. My paper is a reply, but it is also much more than that, in the sense that (a) they have not made that case, (b) positive psychology does usefully remind us to focus on client growth and wellness, but (c) positive psychology suffers from other drawbacks, and therefore (d) development or revision of ABT practice should not hinge upon positive psychology, but should rather draw from several relevant fields.