Forum Program

The National Forum Program is nearly complete. With just a few more sessions to be included it is looking to be a fantastic line up.

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Or browse through sessions below…

Please note that every effort has been make this program as accurate as possible however, it may be necessary to change it to some degree in the lead up due to unforeseen circumstances.

Pre Forum Workshops

A circle conversation

Judy Atkinson

Friday 21st April at 11:00am

‘Billy’ lives in a NSW country town. He hasn’t had the best start to life. At school, he ‘bounces off the walls’. In another town, remote from NSW, in the Northern Territory, 14 year old boys are being pulled in by the police, often for minor misdemeanours, but with serious belief systems. They believe the world no longer cares for them.

Bush Adventure Therapy 101

Friday 21st April at 9:00am

This 1-day workshop will provide an introduction to bush adventure therapy history, definitions, research evidence, theories, principles and practices. An overview of Australian BAT programs will be provided, including the range of target groups, models and practice frameworks that exist, and a closer look at some key program examples.

Get Grounded - With Groundwork Therapy

Kylie Peters

Friday 21st April at 9:00am

A hands on experiential demonstration of equine therapy in action. How it works, what it looks like, how you can access it, why you would access it and and first hand experience of the power of the outcomes of it.

Friday Sessions

We still have a few more sessions to add in here.

Around the World with Adventure Therapy

Kylie Agnew

Friday 21st April at 8:00pm

In 2012 I undertook the trip of a lifetime to learn about Adventure Therapy programs in different countries around the world. 5 years later, I am reflecting on what I learnt from this experience and how I have incorporated this information into my work and university research. This session will provide practical suggestions of how to improve practice in a range or areas and inspiration to apply for the Churchill Fellowship Program.

Lessons learnt from working with youth – a mother’s journey

Judy Atkinson

Friday 21st April at 8:00pm

What I learnt from being a mother of four teenagers, at a time of crisis in our lives. What worked was getting them out into country, allowing them to take risks, canoeing rivers, shooting rapids, camping, extended hikes, dragging their friends along.

BAT programming as a team effort

Martin Ringer

Friday 21st April at 8:00pm

The workshop is based on the premise that no single practitioner will have all of the competencies required to run multi-day BAT events.

The mPassport – Passport to a rich and meaningful experience.

Adam Dickinson

Friday 21st April at 8:00pm

Explore ACT concepts and a mPassport (guided journal) as a pre, during and post program can possibly enhance the outcomes from an experiential, therapeutic and or bush program.

Saturday Sessions


John Marsden

Saturday 22nd April at 9:30am

Brief Overview

John Marsden, renown author and founder of Candlebark School which he has described as ‘somewhere between Steiner and The Simpsons’, will be presenting at the 2017 Bush Adventure Therapy National Forum. Set up in 2006, Candlebark School is the majestic setting upon which the 2017 forum will be held.

John’s passionate interest in education led him to start his own P-10 school, Candlebark. The school’s motto is “take risks”.


John’s literary work includes more than 40 books, mostly for teenagers and children, including Tomorrow When the War Began, So Much to Tell You, and Letters from the Inside. He has sold around five million books worldwide, and has won every major writing award in Australia for young people’s fiction. South of Darkness, is John’s recent novel for adults.
For more information on John Marsden visit his website

Bringing generations back together in what may be called ‘Adventure Therapy’

Judy Atkinson

Saturday 22nd April at 1:00pm

Brief Overview

Children, colours of the rainbow; women searching for a belonging place; Elders in country sharing knowledge of culture and cultural resources.


Emeritus Professor Judy Atkinson: is a Jiman (central west Queensland) and Bundjalung (northern New South Wales) woman, with Anglo-Celtic and German heritage. Judy has made academic contributions to the understanding of trauma related issues stemming from the violence of colonisation and the healing/recovery of Indigenous peoples. Judy is the author of the book “Trauma Trails”. Judy spends a great deal of her time, in retirement, having adventures, travelling to rural and remote parts of Australia and Papua New Guinea, working with community groups for healing.


The Natural Space to Be - Meditation and Movement in Nature

Kate Gilson

Saturday 22nd April at 6:45am

Join Kate for early morning experiences on Saturday and Sunday. The interactive workshop will explore nature inspired meditation practice. It will include a Walking Yatra (sanscrit for pilgrimage), Walking Meditation, Seated Meditation and a Yoga Nidra (rest).

Carrying Fire

Nick Hall

Saturday 22nd April at 11:00am

In this session we will be learning something about the practice of carrying fire, whilst we explore these ideas; What is your passion?; What do you do to encourage, ignite, and sustain your passion?

Equine Assisted Therapy with the Candlebark herd of horses

Jessica Liston

Saturday 22nd April at 11:00am

This session will require volunteers, vulnerability and the ability to say yes to the unknown. No prior horse experience is required, if you are fearful of horses then lean into your discomfort and join us anyway!

Connecting Adventure Therapy and Occupational Therapy

Helen Jeffery

Saturday 22nd April at 11:00am

The connection between occupational therapy and adventure therapy is established, and participants are invited to compare their own profession’s philosophical assumptions and theoretical base with that of adventure therapy.

The therapy in human connections

Martin Ringer

Saturday 22nd April at 11:00am

This interactive session explores the therapeutic essence of the person-to-person connection, paying particular attention to unconscious processes in both participant and adventure therapist.

More Than Just Fun: Integrating Playful Moments into Bush Therapy

Mark Collard

Saturday 22nd April at 11:00am

This very experimental session will invite participants to explore what is means to integrate playful moments into adventure-based bush therapy programs.

Just How Good Are You?

Will Dobud

Saturday 22nd April at 11:00am

This workshop procides attendees with the opportunity to learn about how they can measure their effectiveness and improve their BAT performance.

Behind the scenes of bush adventure therapy - lawyers, accountants and insurers

Helen Collins

Saturday 22nd April at 3:30pm

The basics of setting up and running a bush adventure therapy business, what do I need to know about law, finance and insurance.

Power, Identity and Bush Adventure Therapy

Ben Knowles

Saturday 22nd April at 3:30pm

As humans we make sense of our experiences through language and stories, yet the events of our lives are often inscribed in our bodies in ways that words alone cannot make sense of or shift.

Consciousness in Connection

Sandi Dwyer

Saturday 22nd April at 3:30pm

Bringing a psycho-spiritual approach to Bush Adventure Therapy. This model introduces the awareness of participants to the parts of us that represent Ego, or the small self and the parts of us that represent Soul, or the Higher Self. As we improve our ability to recognise the language of each level of consciousness, we develop awareness of where our clients are speaking from and what is moving within us. Armed with this awareness we can respond in a way to deepen connection.

Econnection: Arts-based pedagogies and experiential nature education.

Kumara Ward

Saturday 22nd April at 3:30pm

This session will engage participants in creative processes to experience and interpret the natural world through the arts and in turn to think artfully when in natural world.

The 'I see you...' Moment - connection with the help of horses

Kylie Peters

Saturday 22nd April at 3:30pm

This is a hands on experiential workshop and demonstration of equine facilitated learning and therapy.

Connecting the dots - theories in common with adventure therapy practice

Ray Handley

Saturday 22nd April at 4:40pm

A practical look at the theories of practice across a number of fields such as education, psychology, social work and health that link with approaches in Adventure Bush Therapy.

Strengthening Women Through Bush Adventure Therapy

Josette O'Donnell

Saturday 22nd April at 4:40pm

This session will be a collaborative workshop where we can explore, share and expand our thinking about the role of Bush Adventure Therapy in strengthening Australian women of all ages.

Traditional Indigenous Games: how to weave into your HPE and outdoor learning programs

Kalindi Brennan

Saturday 22nd April at 4:40pm

Breaking down barriers, learning about culture and developing connection to self, others and place through playing Traditional Indigenous Games.

Sunday Sessions

We still have a few more sessions to add in here. Including a whole forum session ‘Creating a Holistic BAT Safety-Net’.

Facilitating Deep Nature Connection

Claire Dunn

Sunday 23rd April at 11:30am

Spending time outdoors does not necessarily equate to deep nature connection. How can we facilitate profound reconnection to nature, and each other, even in the suburbs?

Complex Trauma Focused Adventure Therapy

Graham Pringle

Sunday 23rd April at 11:30am

This emerging model may help you but needs your help too. Come and contribute.

BAT and Aboriginal Men

Jacob Prehn

Sunday 23rd April at 11:30am

A look at Bush Adventure Therapy and its benefits for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Men.

Walk of Life Program

Mark Cartner

Sunday 23rd April at 11:30am

Senior Constable Mark Cartner is a police with 18 years experience, spent mainly as a Detective in Child Abuse working in Cape York indigenous communities, Cairns and Bundaberg. Currently serving full time as a school based police officer, Mark is using

Exploration of the Mindfulness-Nature-Wellbeing Connection

Son Truong

Sunday 23rd April at 11:30am

This workshop will explore the interconnectedness of mindfulness-nature-wellbeing, through an experiential movement and breathing activity to initiate discussions on embedding mindfulness practices into diverse settings.

Learning to Live our Practice

Shea Callaghan

Sunday 23rd April at 11:30am

Relationships create challenges for us all. So, when relationships break down, how do we find a way back and a way forward? Please join us as we share our journey embedding a Restorative Practices Framework into our work with clients and colleagues.

AABAT Annual General Meeting

Sunday 23rd April at 1:15pm

AABAT was incorporated as a not-for-profit association in 2008. Since its inception it has grown to be the main body for connecting people and organisations who work in bush adventure therapy and related fields. Completely self-funded and operating with an entirely voluntary committee, the AGM is a space for celebrating the achievements of the year and signing off a few formal bits and pieces.

Closing Ceremony

Sunday 23rd April at 4:15pm

A celebration of ‘Connecting’ with all things BAT. Join the forum convenors, AABAT committee members, presenters and delegates in a fun and reflective finale.

After lunch we will hold the AABAT Annual General Meeting followed by ‘Bush Adventure Therapy Unplugged‘ an afternoon of participant driven interest groups and conversations. Pick up and continue an idea that has been presented already or begin a new one. People are already adding ideas for these discussion groups such as: Research and BAT, Ethical Encounters, Body Work and BAT .

Have you got an idea for one of these unplugged conversations? Let us know here!

Monday Post Forum

8th International Adventure Therapy Conference – Your part in its success

Martin Ringer , Cathryn Carpernter and Anita Pryor

Monday 24th April at 9:00am

Brief Overview

This workshop is intended to involve you in thinking together about how to create an exceptional 8th International Adventure Therapy Conference.


Martin Ringer

Martin Ringer has been involved in group work, adventure therapy, management consulting, writing, running workshops and engaging with others and their ideas for a while now. He’s interested in what goes on under the surface of human interaction and what we might learn by paying close attention to what is not obvious. Martin was also the convenor of the 1st International Adventure Therapy Conference in 1997.

Anita Pryor

Anita is a keen practitioner, trainer and researcher in BAT as well as a director of Adventure Works. At a young age, Anita noticed that adventuring with friends and family in natural environments made her feel good and she wanted to share that with other people. After more than two decades of doing just that, starting the business Adventure Works and contributing to the BAT and international AT world is still a high priority in life.

Cathryn Carpenter

Curiosity and passion have determined Cathryn’s employment pathway. An educator in secondary and tertiary institutions as well as private and philanthropic organisations, she has meandered from Outdoor Education and Creative Arts, through to Sociology, Public Health, and Youth Work. Her explicit involvement in the development and promotion of Bush Adventure Therapy began in 1997 and she is currently one of the conveners for the 8th IATC in 2018.