Undergraduate Honors Theses

Date of Award





Dr. Peter Hoaken


Rehabilitation within forensic psychiatric offenders has traditionally focused on the reduction of symptomatology. An emerging idea, however, is to additionally target their criminogenic risk factors, such as depression and self-esteem. Adventure-Based Counseling, a type of Wilderness Therapy, has been shown to be efficacious in treating certain non-forensic populations. The current study is an attempt to merge these two different lines of research and evaluate this type of counseling in a forensic psychiatric population. The current study will look at the effectiveness of the Adventure-Based Counseling program on a number of intrapersonal criminogenic risk factors in a sample of forensic psychiatric patients. This is an innovative form of treatment for this population, which consists of an Adventure-Based Counseling program across 12 sessions. The treatment modality will employ outdoor challenges such as a rock climbing activity and team-building exercises. Measures include depression, anxiety, hopelessness, perceived stress, self-esteem, as-needed medication use, and risk or threat of self-harm events. Participants were patients from the Southwest Centre for Forensic Mental Health Care in St. Thomas, Ontario. All participants suffer from a mental illness and have come into contact with the criminal justice system. Results showed directionality for a number of the variables; however the only significant change was in the wrong direction. Limitations and future directions are discussed.