The findings suggest that extended group-based nature recreation experiences can have significant positive impacts on veterans struggling with serious health problems. This approach is especially intriguing since many veterans may find nature recreation programs more appealing than conventional clinical treatments. Engaging in activities outdoors that involve physical challenge, camaraderie, and achievement of an objective may resonate with types of
experiences that make military service highly meaningful and rewarding.
Eight Danish veterans participated in a 10-week nature-based therapy. Qualitative interviews were conducted and analyzed using the interpretative phenomenological method. The results indicated that the veterans have achieved tools to use in stressful situations and experienced an improvement in their post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms.
Based on a collaborative pilot project conducted in the summer of 2010 between the Veterans Administration, the University of Utah’s Department of
Parks, Recreation, and Tourism, and O.A.R.S. (a river rafting company), the study identifies several areas where therapeutic recreation shows considerable promise in contributing to the healing process of veterans with PTSD.
The study found that an Outward Bound Veterans course provided the following psycho-social benefits for veterans: increased closeness with others/intimacy, patience and less reactivity, ability to relate to and express emotions, self-confidence, confidence to cope, physical health, and decreased
isolation. Other research shows that Outward Bound Veterans also helped Vietnam veterans address post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms.