Julia Kosztka  (ELTE Eötvös Loránd University, Doctoral School of Sociology)

Topic: Adventure therapy at the university – Experiences and possibilities of a new course for social work students
Language: English 


A course titled “Adventure Therapy methods and application” is offered to social work students at Eötvös Loránd University (Budapest, Hungary) since 2020. This course is a pioneer in Hungarian social work education designed to introduce experiential learning-based outdoor methods, such as outdoor experiential education, wilderness and adventure therapy through exercises and games. The course is focused to get acquainted with the basic theoretical frameworks and discover the applicability of these methods to the various target groups of social work.

All students in the course were required to write a self-reflection at the end of the given semester as part of their coursework. I analysed these reflections (n=45) written by students from the three courses already finished. In this study, I analysed these reflections to evaluate the educational and developmental possibilities of this experience-based methodology course and its possible place in social work education.

The reflections focused on three dimensions: (1) professional development, (2) plans for applying the learned methods in future professional work and (3) personal development. The topic of personal development was emphasised the most and mentioned the most frequently. Although the focus of this course was not self-awareness development or community building, most of the students highlighted these as results of participating in the course.

Conclusion of this research is that next to giving applicable methods to use in future social work practice, an adventure therapy course can be used to promote the self-awareness of the students and may be applied as community-building training-like program at the beginning of a semester.