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Ask the Experts: Creating a sense of adventure

Updated: Dec 6, 2022

Q: How Do You Create a Sense of Adventure Throughout the Summer??

A: Remember back in the spring when you were dreaming of summer adventures? Now that we’re at the mid-point of summer, consider if your schedule is so packed with activities that you’re missing living in the moment. Or, perhaps it’s the opposite – your schedule is sparse and you’re under-stimulated. The good news is there’s still time to become intentional about creating a sense of adventure this summer to rejuvenate your mental health and welcome fall knowing you embraced the joys of Michigan summer.

Adventures can be challenging, enjoyable and often lead to learning or growth. They encourage us to practice mindfulness, to be in the present moment, and empower us to step outside of our comfort zone. Adventure therapy is an approach to mental health treatment that uses active experiences to focus on the attainment of therapeutic treatment goals. Adventure therapy may be done in nature, such as mindful walks in a park; or in an office, creating an experience with art, to name a couple examples. Clients are able to practice new, healthier coping skills through adventure activities, and in turn use these skills in their daily life.

To create your own adventure, consider what you want from an experience. If you’re feeling lethargic and disconnected, the goal may be feeling energized and grounded. So the adventure may include weekly nature walks with a friend or family member. This is a small way to incorporate adventure into everyday life.

Adventure therapy practices are grounded in seven values called the “Adventure Beliefs”: safety, trust, challenge, empowerment, enjoyment, connection and communication. Think about the last time you experienced these values. When was the last time you felt a challenge or genuine joy? Create an adventure around the value you need most right now. Big or small, the important part is that adventure is how we approach daily life.

If you or someone you know is overwhelmed with mental health difficulties, seek the help of a professional. Emma Ottenhoff, LCSW is the owner and psychotherapist of Adventurous Heart Therapy, PLLC. Emma utilizes her training and experience with adventure therapy and facilitation to help clients reach their therapeutic goals in addition to other styles of therapy. Adventurous Heart Therapy, PLLC treats youth ages 10 and up, young adults including women and LGBTQ+ individuals, with a focus on trauma, self-esteem, anxiety and depression. For more information, please visit

*This article was written and published for the Grosse Pointe News and newsletter for the Family Center of Grosse Pointe on July 27, 2022


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