What Leaders Say About Us

Dr. Nevin Harper, PhD.

Dr. Nevin Harper’s most recent book reflects the soul of our program model, family-focused.

Associate Professor, University of Victoria: Victoria, BC Canada

BA in Leisure Studies

MA in Organizational Leadership (studied risk and judgement in outdoor adventure education)

PhD in Education (studied adolescent wilderness therapy)

Dr. Nevin Harper regarding Adventure-Based Parenting: 12-Week Coaching Intensive

A supportive and healthy system of care is central to meaningful and sustainable change. This is basic ecology, and yet so often we see therapeutic interventions and services serving individuals outside of their systems of care. I was happy to see the Adventure-Based Parenting program as an alternative to youth treatment models addressing family-level communication, health, and wellbeing. Enriching the family versus pulling it apart is ecologically sound!

Dr. Nevin Harper, Associate Professor, School of Child & Youth Care, and Author of Nature-based therapy: A practitioners guide to working with children. youth and families outdoors.

About Dr. Nevin Harper:

“Nevin Harper is one of the gifted thought leaders of our industry. He has deep roots in this work, fortified by thoughtful inquiry, studious research and the type of experience that can only be forged from thousands of days spent in the field or on expedition. He has a wealth of knowledge to share and he shares it humbly.”

~Tony Cox  CEO, Leaders of the Day & Chair of the Canadian Adventure Therapy Symposium’s Advisory Committee

Cooperating with Nevin Harper will most certainly benefit any organization involved in outdoor therapeutic and/or educational work. It certainly has for our clinical research project group in Norway. Nevin is a key international academic within adventure therapy and has extensive and varied field work experience – a rare combination indeed. Equally important, however, is his no-nonsense approach, honesty, humor, and simply the fact that he is a very likeable guy.

~Leiv Einar Gabrielsen, PhD, Researcher and Outdoor Therapist, Sørlandet HospitalNorway

“For the last decade, Outward Bound Canada has been fortunate to have Nevin Harper in the role of National Research Coordinator, setting the direction for OBC’s research agenda. Nevin has played a critical role in providing guidance to the senior leadership team on research initiatives, as well as providing insight and recommendations to programming and risk management committees and the senior leadership team. His expertise and vast knowledge of the industry has been instrumental in assisting with the transfer of knowledge and practice at OBC.”

~Sarah Wiley, Executive Director, Outward Bound Canada

“Nevin Harper is a mentor and leader to many academic and operational organizations. His experience, knowledge, and skill in outdoor education and adventure therapy would be an asset to any venture, whether it be a new start-up, or a larger well-established program. Nevin is also incredibly well-connected with outdoor leaders and researchers from across the globe, and he often brings this international perspective to inform best practices for local organizational improvement.”

~Dr. Stephen Ritchie, Outdoor Adventure Leadership, Laurentian University

Nevin has demonstrated serious dedication to thorough ethical practice and amazing attention to detail on our collaborative projects. I consider it a point of pride to be working together with such a renowned leader in the Wilderness Therapy field.

~Laura Mills, Ph.D., Director of Research & Evaluation, Pine River Institute

We consider Dr. Harper to be the pre-eminent researcher in Canada focused on experiential education and adventure therapy.  His extensive knowledge, experience and historical perspective has contributed to Take a Hike’s program, evidence base and theory of change. ~Gordon Matchett, MBA, CEO, Take a Hike Foundation

Adventure-Based Parent Coaching

12-Week Coaching Intensives

Adventure-Based Parenting revitalizes relationships, motivates an active lifestyle, and fosters long-term connection between parents and their children/adolescents.

Learn More.

Dr. Nevin Harper’s Academic Background:

Nevin Harper
Dr. Nevin Harper presenting at the 8th International Adventure Therapy Conference
Sydney, Australia

In the years before graduate school, Nevin was a supervisor, trainer and guide in a number of outdoor and adventure based intervention programs, primarily with youth in the criminal justice system and residential care. Nevin was also active in the development of the Child and Nature Alliance of Canada and the Canadian Adventure Therapy Symposium. Prior to coming to SCYC, Nevin taught at Camosun College for six years. There he designed the Post-Degree Diploma in Adventure Education, and lead adventure-based field schools in the Andes with young adults focused on experiential learning and developing reflective practice.

Research interests

Outdoor and adventure-based education and therapy; human-environmental relationships; experiential and environmental education; ecopsychology; youth and emerging adult development.

Nevin’s research and practice focuses on the theory, process and outcomes associated with outdoor, adventure, and experiential activities and programs as they relate to educational, developmental or therapeutic aims. While primarily focused on adolescents, he has conducted research with children, families, college students and veterans. His work is conceptually located and published in the areas of adventure education and therapy, ecopsychology, and child and youth care.

Adventure-Based Parent Coaching

12-Week Coaching Intensives

Adventure-Based Parenting revitalizes relationships, motivates an active lifestyle, and fosters long-term connection between parents and their children/adolescents.

Learn More.

Dr. Nevin Harper regarding Adventure-Based Parenting: 12-Week Coaching Intensive

A supportive and healthy system of care is central to meaningful and sustainable change. This is basic ecology, and yet so often we see therapeutic interventions and services serving individuals outside of their systems of care. I was happy to see the Adventure-Based Parenting program as an alternative to youth treatment models addressing family-level communication, health, and wellbeing. Enriching the family versus pulling it apart is ecologically sound!

Dr. Nevin Harper, Associate Professor, School of Child & Youth Care, and Author of Nature-based therapy: A practitioners guide to working with children. youth and families outdoors.

Dr. Nevin Harper’s Publications

Kirwin, M., Harper, N. J., Young, T., & Itai, I. (2019). Mindful adventures: a pilot study of Outward Bound Canada’s Mindfulness Program. Journal of Outdoor and Environmental Education, 21(1), 75-90.

Harper, N. J. (2018). Locating self in place: Expedition-style study abroad in Bolivia and the global awareness of emerging adults. Journal of Experiential Education, 41(3), 295-311.

Dobud, W., & Harper, N. J. (2018). Of Dodo birds and the common factors: A scoping review of adventure therapy direct comparison trials. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, 31, 16-24.

Harper, N. J. (2017). Outdoor risky play and healthy child development in the shadow of the ‘risk society’: A forest and nature school perspective. Journal of Youth Studies, 38(4), 318-334.

Gabrielsen, L. E., & Harper, N. J. (2018). The role of wilderness therapy for adolescents in the face of global trends of urbanization and technification. International Journal of Adolescence and Youth, 23(4), 409-421.

Harper, N. J. (2017). Wilderness therapy, therapeutic camping and outdoor adventure in child and youth care literature: A scoping review. Children and Youth Services Review, 83, 68-79.

Lim, C., Donovan, A. M., Harper, N. J., & Naylor, P. J. (2017). Natural elements and fundamental motor skill development at five elementary school districts in British Columbia. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 14(11), 1279.

Harper, N. J., Gabrielsen, L. E., & Carpenter, C. (2017). A cross-cultural exploration of “wild” in wilderness therapy: Canadian, Australian and Norwegian perspectives. Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning, 18(2), 148-164.  

Harper, N. J., & Webster, A. L. (2017). Higher learning: Impacts of a high-altitude field school on college student development. Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning. 17(1), 67-81.

Carpenter, C, & Harper, N. J. (2016). Health and wellbeing benefits of activities in the outdoors. In B. Humberstone, H. Prince & K. A. Henderson (Eds). International Handbook of Outdoor Studies (pp 59-68). London, UK: Routledge.

Ritchie, S., Patrick, K., Corbould, M., Harper, N., & Oddson, B. (2016). An environmental scan of adventure therapy in Canada. Journal of Experiential Education39(3), 303-320.

Harper, N. J., Peeters, L., & Carpenter, C. (2015). Adventure Therapy. In R. Black & K. S. Bricker (Eds). Adventure Programming and Travel for the 21st Century (pp 221-236). State College, PA: Venture Publishing Inc.

Harper, N. J. (2015). Contact with nature as a research variable in wilderness therapy. In Norton, C., Carpenter, C., & Pryor, A., (Eds). Adventure Therapy around the Globe: International Perspectives and Diverse Approaches (pp 536-551). Champaign, IL: Common Ground Publishing.

Harper, N. J., Norris, J. & D’astous, M. (2014). Veterans and the Outward Bound experience: An evaluation of impact and meaning. Ecopsychology, 6(3), 165-173.

Harper, N. J., Carpenter, C., & Segal, D. (2012). Self and Place: Journeys in the Land. Ecopsychology 4(4), 1-7.

Richards, K., Carpenter, C., & Harper, N. (2011). Looking at the landscape of adventure therapy: Making links to theory and practice. Journal of Adventure Education & Outdoor Learning, 11(2), 83-90.

Taylor, D., Segal, D., & Harper, N. J. (2010). The ecology of adventure therapy. Ecopsychology2(2), 77-83.

Harper, N. J. (2010). Future paradigm or false idol: A cautionary tale of evidence-based practice in adventure therapy and education. Journal of Experiential Education. 33(1), 38-55.

Harper, N. J. (2009). Family crisis and the enrollment of children in wilderness treatment. Journal of Experiential Education. 31(3), 447-450.

Harper, N., Potter, T., Bilodeau, M., Cormode, T., Dufresne, A., Dyck, B., et al. (2009). Canada and the state of adventure therapy: Wilderness expeditions, integrated service delivery models and democratic socialism? Mitten, D. & Itin, C. M. (Eds.). Connecting with the Essence of Adventure Therapy. Boulder CO: Association for Experiential Education.

Harper, N. J. (2009). Relation of the therapeutic alliance to outcome in adolescent wilderness treatment. Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning. 9(1), 1-15.

Harper, N. J., & Russell, K. C. (2008). Family involvement and outcome in adolescent wilderness treatment: a mixed-methods evaluation. International Journal of Child and Family Welfare. 11(1), 19-36.

Harper, N. J., Russell, K. C., Cooley, R., & Cupples, J. (2007). Catherine Freer Wilderness Therapy Expeditions: An exploratory case study of adolescent wilderness therapy, family functioning, and the maintenance of change. Child and Youth Care Forum, 36(2/3), 111-129.

Harper, N., & Cooley, R. (2007). Parental reports of adolescent and family well-being following a wilderness therapy intervention: An exploratory look at systemic change. Journal of Experiential Education. 29(3), 393-396.

Harper, N. J., & Scott, D. G. (2006). Therapeutic outfitting: Enhancing adolescent mental health service through innovative collaborations with a wilderness experience program. Therapeutic Communities27(4), 524-545.

Russell, K. C., & Harper, N. J. (2006). Incident monitoring in outdoor behavioral healthcare programs: A four-year summary of restraint, runaway, injury and illness rates. Journal of Therapeutic Schools and Programs. 1(1), 70-90.

Harper, N., & Robinson, D. W. (2005). Outdoor adventure risk management: Curriculum design principles from industry and educational experts. Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning. 5(2), 143-156.

Dr. Nevin Harper regarding Adventure-Based Parenting: 12-Week Coaching Intensive

A supportive and healthy system of care is central to meaningful and sustainable change. This is basic ecology, and yet so often we see therapeutic interventions and services serving individuals outside of their systems of care. I was happy to see the Adventure-Based Parenting program as an alternative to youth treatment models addressing family-level communication, health, and wellbeing. Enriching the family versus pulling it apart is ecologically sound!

Dr. Nevin Harper, Associate Professor, School of Child & Youth Care, and Author of Nature-based therapy: A practitioners guide to working with children. youth and families outdoors.

Adventure-Based Parent Coaching

12-Week Coaching Intensives

Adventure-Based Parenting revitalizes relationships, motivates an active lifestyle, and fosters long-term connection between parents and their children/adolescents.

Learn More.

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: