Date of Completion

Spring 5-9-2010

Thesis Advisor(s)

Sara K. Johnson; Anita Garey

Honors Major

Human Development and Family Studies


Other Social and Behavioral Sciences | Recreational Therapy | Rehabilitation and Therapy


Researchers have noted that relationships created between instructors and clients in therapeutic wilderness experiences are unique (Russell, 2003; Russell & Phillips-Miller, 2001; Sklar, Anderson, & Autry, 2007; Taniguchi et al., 2009), but little research has been done to explore these relationships. The present study is an investigation of how instructors build and maintain relationships with participants, conceptualize these relationships, and define success in these tasks. Nine instructors from a wilderness program for at-risk youth participated in interviews. Data were analyzed using a line-by-line coding technique. Results of this study add to existing research on wilderness therapy and therapeutic wilderness experiences, provide models of successful instructing, and guide programs and instructors in the services they provide to their participants.