Adventure therapy, as a distinct and separate form of psychotherapy, has become prominent since the 1960s. Influences from a variety of learning and psychological theories have contributed to the complex theoretical combination within adventure therapy. The underlying philosophy largely refers to experiential education. Existing research in adventure therapy reports positive outcomes in effectively improving self-conceptand self-esteem, help seeking behavior, increased mutual aid, pro-social behavior, trust behavior and more.

Adventure therapy encompasses varying techniques and environments to elicit change. These include cooperative games, problem solving initiatives, trust building activities,high adventure (rock climbing/rappelling, ropes courses, peak ascents); and wilderness expeditions (backpacking, canoeing, dog sledding, sailing, etc.). Wilderness therapy, adventure based therapy, and long term residential camping are the most common forms of adventure therapy.