Wilderness Therapy as a Specialized Competency

  •  Parker D. Houston    
  •  Joshua J. Knabb    
  •  Robert K. Welsh    
  •  Beth M. Houskamp    
  •  David Brokaw    


Wilderness Therapy (WT) is an emerging psychotherapeutic intervention for the treatment of youth and other
populations and is unique in that it is a competency area of psychology that differs from traditional
psychotherapy. Because of this, clinical training received in doctoral psychology programs may not be sufficient
to ensure competent practice of wilderness therapy. The goal of this article was to address the need for
standardization and the development of core competencies for WT as a specialty area. Furthermore, because WT
is a specialty area, this article proposes an outline of key competencies for psychologists looking to practice
within the field of WT. Given that the majority of programs serve adolescent populations, the competencies
outlined in this article will be specifically targeted at this population.

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