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Stories from the Field: Mental Health and the Outdoors

Jun 22, 2021

In this episode, Dr. Mike Gass talks about research in the field of wilderness therapy that is occurring at the Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Center ( at the University of New Hampshire.
Dr. Gass reviews the history of the center, its leadership team, and the researchers. He shares how researchers address biases and how the center is funded. He educates about the research related to the safety of participants, transports of young people to programs, and a new million-dollar research study.

Bio from the website.

Michael Gass, PhD, LMFT, is a Professor and the Director of the Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Research Center ( at the University of New Hampshire.

Dr.  Gass received his PhD in educational research from the University of Colorado/Boulder and his postdoctoral work in clinical marriage and family therapy. With Drs. Gillis and Russell, he has published the leading textbook in the field (Adventure Therapy published by Routledge Press). Dr. Gass was the inaugural Chair of the AEE Accreditation Council for its first 10 years of existence as well as President of the Board of Directors of AEE in 1990. Some of his current research projects include: Risk management statistics of adventure therapy programs, adventure competencies for therapists, enhancement of NATSAP Practice Research Network database, researching adventure therapy programs with vulnerable populations, cost benefit analyses of outdoor behavioral healthcare programs, supporting emerging scholars/researchers in adventure therapy, and publishing and presenting in traditional mental health/psychology venues (e.g., APA). He is a licensed marriage and family therapist.