New Perspectives - Mar,
2002 Issue #91
Tom Hansen, PhD., L.C.S.W
Rivertherapy strives to “enhance the interpersonal relationships
in couples and families by combining professional counseling with enjoyable experiences to promote positive change and lasting memories.”
They seek to provide “high quality professional services in a manner that respects the inherent worth and dignity of each individual
participant”... “and protects the environment we use.”
Couples considering marriage can use Rivertherapy to identify strengths, examine expectations and work on areas that need clarification.
Married or committed couples can improve patterns of communication, examine unspoken expectations and revitalize intimacy.
Rivertherapy can also help families assess their functioning in terms of emotional distance and communication patterns, so they can
set goals that improve family satisfaction and quality of life. Blended families can use this program to clarify roles and authority,
thus promoting understanding and cohesion. The program can help siblings create healthy interactions, learn conflict- resolution techniques
and strengthen bonds. Single parent families can define and strengthen generational boundaries, while parent- child and adolescent
relationships can use Rivertherapy to affirm and solidify generational bonds. Corporate teams also can use this program to develop
unified goals, examine appropriate professional boundaries, build trust and improve communication and problem- solving skills.
Rivertherapy develops each therapeutic adventure in consultation with participants to assure sound professional programming and appropriateness,
combining an enjoyable outing with a life-changing, relationship-enhancing experience. Alternating sessions of therapy and adventure
are structured to provide continuous focus. Pre and post- assessments are used to measure progress, and the Clinical Director develops
a final report and summary of the work and progress, along with recommendations. Six months after the program is completed, additional
information is sought and a brief report forwarded along with any additional recommendations.
Clinical Director, Tom Hansen, PhD., L.C.S.W., is a mental health consultant and licensed clinical social worker with a private practice
based in Ellsworth, Maine. His doctorate is in Family Studies with a concentration in marriage and family therapy. He is an adjunct
faculty member of the Department of Human Development at the University of Maine. Director of Program Operations, Ian Cameron, MS,
RC, is a registered counselor who works with at-risk families and children, is a registered Maine Guide for whitewater rafting and
fly-fishing, and is a trained mediator in dispute and conflict resolution. He has been teaching river-running skills for twenty years
and has guided and operated whitewater rafting and adventure-travel programs for families and corporations in Maine, New York, West
Virginia and Costa Rica, as well as an outdoor program for adjudicated youth. Staff Therapist, Eilean Mackenzie is a Licensed Clinical
Professional Counselor in the State of Maine with two masters degrees and a Clinical Fellowship from Harvard Medical School’s Center
for Addiction Studies. Currently she is the Clinical Director for a wilderness program for adolescent girls, is a school counselor
and maintains a small private practice.