How I got here
After 15 years of working as a Psychologist I became disillusioned with the mental health sector. I saw billions of dollars being spent on models which focused heavily on a diagnosis and labeling. Through my observations, I felt these models often kept people in a position of feeling like they were the problem as opposed to someone with a problem which kept them in that place. As a result the mental health sector has swelled with no hint of it slowing down.
There had to be a better way?…
Partly for my own sanity, I began conducting therapeutic sessions with young people in the outdoors. As a result, I found that there were a number of groups of people who favored this way of working and that I was being sort after. These people often reported that they felt alone and like failures because the “evidence based” mental health system had not worked for them therefore the logical solution was that there was something wrong with them.
But could it be that it wasn’t the client that was the failure, but that the system was failing some people?...
From conducting outdoor sessions, I began engaging in outdoor group therapy sessions, and then outdoor workshops. I found that by working outside, individuals could connect themselves to their environment and community and reduce feelings of loneliness. This was in complete contrast to my training as a Psychologist which saw clients being isolated in a room with me. I completed an additional Masters program and focused my research on outdoor therapy and began to find like-minded therapists who believed in the benefits in this way of working also.
But how could I do more?...
Workshops became day long group adventures, then “overnighters”, and then the next logical step was camps. When I conducted overnight programs, I saw the benefits of addressing issues of power by sharing the space with others. So for the past 3 years I have engaged with a number of 5 day camps that used the Rites of Passage models. Models based upon transitions into adulthood predominately seen in collective cultures.
The Retreats we run can be a one off experience or participants can progress through all three stages as needed. Retreats are tailored for the demographic which I experienced most as a therapist - the 18 to 30 year old’s. A transitional age bracket that many services do not focus on yet has the highest rates of mental health issues.
So now I’m here, with Embark. We have indoor session which focus less on pathalogising and diagnosis and more on the individual experience. We run Embark Treks for people aged 14-17, Embark Retreats for the 18-30 year old age bracket and Narrative Walks for all ages and to compliment the other programs.
So, have a wander and tell me what you think or come along and check it out firsthand...
I hope you like it.