Alum to speak on ‘adventure-based’ counseling

Patrick McMillion

Patrick McMillion

From Buddha to Thoreau to Krakauer, histories from all corners of the world have told stories of men and women who have found emotional catharsis from experiences with nature.

It seems that, even with the advent of cell phones, iPods and PDAs, evolution has not caught up. Humans are still hardwired to crave nature, exercise and the thrill of physical challenges.

That’s where adventure-based counseling comes in – a form of therapy where clients practice mindfulness, test their fears and build self-efficacy by engaging in nature.

Though practiced informally across human history, it was first formally recognized by mental health professionals in the early 1900s, was applied to youth populations in the ’30s, and continued to evolve through the ’60s and ’70s into its current state as a recognized and research-supported therapeutic tool.

At 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 24, professional adventure therapist and NIU alum Pat McMillion will present on this innovative and fun approach to mental health healing.

Logo of Adventure Works of DeKalbThe presentation will take place in Graham Hall 423. It is free and open to all. A standing-room only crowd is expected, so audience members should be prepared to arrive early.

Hosted by the NIU Counseling Association, the program will teach the NIU community about ABC and whet its appetite to participate in an ABC workshop in April, a two-day adventure that will be facilitated by McMillion and two members of the counseling faculty in the NIU Department of Counseling, Adult and Higher Education.

McMillion, who has been working in the mental health field since 2008, is the clinical adventure group coordinator at Adventure Works of DeKalb.

He started as a rehabilitation counselor/case manager at Ben Gordon Center, working with the adult chronic mentally ill population and then moved into working with youth as an outreach case manager and finally as a counselor/therapist. He also has extensive outdoor experience with climbing, hiking, backpacking, paddling and wilderness survival skills.

For more information on the Jan. 24 presentation, email etsherrill@gmail.com or elisa.woodruff@gmail.com.

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