Wilderness Therapy Training

Nordic Friluft Therapy

“The clearest way into the universe, is through a forest wilderness”

John Muir

The Scandinavian Nature and Forest Therapy Institute has the great pleasure of offering a training in Nordic Friluft Therapy for the first time in Sweden. This is a special form of “Wilderness Therapy” in the field of Outdoor Therapy, which is clinically developed with children and adolescents within ABUP, the equivalent of Children and Adolescent Psychiatry in Sweden and scientifically evaluated. We have the good fortune to learn about this Nordic method by some of Norway’s foremost representatives in the field and also the creators of Nordic Friluft Therapy. The training takes place in 3 modules during 2020, between March and November. Welcome to read more below!

What is Nordic Friluft Therapy?

Nordic Friluft Therapy is a version of Wilderness therapy or Adventure therapy, developed and adapted in a Nordic context. Wilderness Therapy is an experience-based therapy that was primarily developed in the United States but is now found in various forms, worldwide. It is primarily aimed at young people and young adults who are grappling with varying degrees of mental challenges.

In Norway, a team of psychologists and therapists in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Care, have developed this form of outdoor therapy, in combination with what is included in the concept of “Friluftsliv”. They have conducted research studies and a brand new doctoral dissertation has just been published by one of our leaders for this program.

In Nordic Friluft Therapy, nature is a partner and co-therapist in treatment, there is a conscious and clinical flexibility regarding the degree of challenge for the participants, and the length of the outings. Circumstances are adapted to the needs of young people and can vary, from staying at a so-called “base camp” to going for a walk or staying shorter or longer times in an outdoor environment together with treatment staff.

The training

The training spans over 3 modules. You may want to sign up for one or two, or all three. As a programme they are offered with a few months in between each, to allow for reflection and integration. The aim of the full programme is to provide you with a broad base and sufficient skills, to facilitate your own groups of Nordic Friluft Therapy or Wilderness Therapy.

Each module comes with a certifying diploma. Participation in all three modules, in accordance with the standards set by the leaders, includes a certifying programme diploma in “Nordic Friluft Therapy”. The programme is offered in Swedish, Norweigan and English depending on needs and requests.

This training is for you who work with children and adolescents, clinically in Mental Helath Care or in other forms. The training is suitable also if you already have a developed nature connection and a strong interest in the field of outdoor therapy. If you have another motivation for attending the training, you are welcome to contact the Scandinavian Nature and Forest Therapy Institute: contact@snfti.se


You register by:

  • Sending an e-mail to: contact@snfti.com
  • Filling out the formal APPLICATION FORM
  • Paying the registration fee: SKR 2500
  • Book Food and Accomodation: ÖSJÖNÄS

For more information on registration, payment, cancellation policy AND early bird options! please move to the far end of the document. Thanks!

Module I: Theoretical and Practical introduction

Duration: 3 days

Time: September 7-9, 2020

Price: Module I, SKR 8.750

Venue: Ösjönäs Wilderness Farm, Tiveden

Course description Module I
In summary, this module provides a basic introduction to Nordic Friluft Therapy. You will learn about the theoretical foundations and main principles of nature-based therapeutic work. We will go through the outdoor practice with a focus on clinical application, with examples, activities and group exercises, allowing for joint discussions. Towards the third day we move into the how we can develop and integrate Outdoor Therapy work in our business or clinical work. We will have time to explore independent work as well as idea development in groups, with follow-up by the trainers. The aim is to support you in developing an idea or plan for how to facilitate and implement Nordic Friluft Therapy, and to present and discussed this matter together. Bring your thoughts and questions, they are welcome.

Module II: Nordic Friluft Therapy – Theory in Practice

Duration: 4 days

Location: Ösjönäs Wilderness Farm, Tiveden – Hiking in nature, camping.

Time: Thursday 10 – Sunday 13 September 2020

Price: Module 2: SKR 9 850

Food and Accommodation: participants bring their own tent and camping gear. Food is coordinated by the trainers.

Course description Module II This module translates theory into practice. Here, a hands-on, practical experience and training is provided through process oriented, direct experience of a Nordic Friluft Therapy outdoor intervention. Meta-reflections are continuously added around the situations that arise, and for the ongoing therapeutic process. This offers an opportunity to experience and train the different parts of the outdoor therapy intervention. During these days you will also have the opportunity to go deeper into how you practically and therapeutically develop your leadership in outdoor therapy. To participate, it is advisable that you have completed Module I.

Module III: Nordic Friluft Therapy – from Theory and Practice to Science

Duration: 3 days

Location: Kristiansand, South Norway

Time: Friday 13 – Sunday 15 November 2020

Price: Module 3: SKR 5 800

Food and Accommodation: announced shortly

Course description Module III
Module 3 is designed as a labor-intensive workshop for participants who wish to develop a clinical project; from idea / vision, operations and clinical intervention to an evaluation and research plan. The trainers will introduce you to the clinic and the outdoor nature areas where the interventions and research has taken place. The seminars are designed around individual work as well as in groups, monitored and supervised by the trainers. The aim is to support an individual development of a project, through focused work and with available, qualified leaders in the field of research and outdoor therapy.


Leiv Einar Gabrielsen, Carina Ribe Fernee and Gunnar Oland Åsen are educational trainers and guides in Nordic Friluft Therapy. Petra Ellora Cau Wetterholm and Maria Palmer are co-leaders, organizers, and logistical and practical support before, during and after all training sessions.

Leiv Einar Gabrielsen (b. 1966), PhD in psychology, works as a clinical researcher at the Department of Child and Adolescent Mental Health at Sørlandet Hospital in Norway. From 2012, together with colleagues, he has developed a major clinical research project on integrating experiences in nature into the treatment of adolescents. Leiv is a member of the ATIC – Adventure Therapy International Committee, Norwegian representative for NOTN – Nordic Outdoor Therapy Network and active in the preparations for the 9IATC – International Adventure Therapy Conference, which will be held in Norway in 2021. Leiv is also Managing Director of Motiva Psychological Counseling, www .motivanorway.com and you can find his works here; https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Leiv_Gabrielsen

Carina Ribe Fernee (b. 1979), PhD in health sciences, works as a clinical researcher at the Department of Child and Adolescent Mental Health at Sørlandet Hospital in Norway. From 2012, she and colleagues have developed a larger clinical research project on integrating experiences in nature into the treatment of adolescents. Carina is part of the management team of the ATIC – Adventure Therapy International Committee, Norwegian representative of NOTN – Nordic Outdoor Therapy Network and active in the preparations for the 9IATC – International Adventure Therapy Conference, which will be held in Norway in 2021. You will find Carina’s work here; https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Carina_Fernee

Gunnar Oland Åsen (b. 1960), Psychologist Specialist, works as head of the Emergency Outpatient Unit at the Department of Child and Adolescent Mental Health at Sørlandet Hospital in Norway. He has been, and is, central to the development of Friluftsterapi for vulnerable adolescents, and holds top clinical responsibility for this work. Gunnar has broad experience in clinical practice, is a sought after mentor and active in the preparation of the 9IATC – International Adventure Therapy Conference. He is also a partner in Motiva psychological counseling.

Co-leading, logistics, support

Petra Ellora Cau Wetterholm works as a licenced Psychologist, as a Certified Nature and Forest Therapist guide, trainer and supervisor and as a leader in mindfulness-based method such as MBSR and MBCT. She has worked in Children and Adoloscent Psychiatry (BUP); outpatient care, specialist care and middle care with a focus on neuropsychiatry. In recent years in Primary Care an in a Stress Rehab Clinic. She is a strong advocate for the development of nature based, scientific research and therapy in society. Petra is the founder and operations manager of the Scandinavian Nature and Forest Therapy Institute and Shinrin-Yoku Sweden. She is one of Sweden’s representatives for the Nordic Outdoor Therapy Network, (NOTN)

Maria Palmer works as a licenced psychotherapist with more than 30 years of experience working with children, adolescents, families, individuals and couples. It was here she discovered Wilderness Therapy and witnessed the transformation that occurs when young people with mental challenges reside in nature, while receiving therapy individually, in group and family. She founded Vildmarksterapi i Sverige AB (Wilderness Therapy in Sweden) (VIS), is one of Sweden’s representatives for the Nordic Outdoor Therapy Network, (NOTN) and for the International Adventure Therapy Conference (IATC). In addition to her clinical work, is undergoing training in professional supervision within SAPU.


Please note that you register in 4 steps:

1) Book training
Book your training by sending an email to contact@snfti.com

2) Fill in the application form: APPLICATION

3) Pay the registration fee:

Sweden: 2 500 Skr to Shinrin-Yoku Sweden: PG: 89 49 60-4

Abroad: 2 500 Skr to Shinrin-Yoku Sweden

PG: 89 49 60-4

IBAN SE60 9500 0099 6018 0894 9604


4)  Book your accomodation : ÖSJÖNÄS

Discount upon registration:
Early Bird: Nordic Friluft Therapy

Upon registering for Module 1 before May 1, 2020: discount SEK 750

Quantity discount: upon registering for full training (3 modules) before May 1, 2020: discount SEK 1.500

NOTE! The discounts apply individually but not together.

The remaining training fee is paid no later than 60 days before the training starts, no later than June 7, 2020. If no payment is made, and in the case of a waiting list, your spot may need to be opened for other participants.

Cancellation Policy
Cancellation later than 60 days before training starts, no refund is offered.
In the case of serious health problems, reimbursement is offered at 50% with a sick leave certificate.

The application and payment of registration fee, reserves a spot at the training. Cancellation within one week of paid registration, offers a full refund of the registration fee with a deduction of SEK 500 for administrative costs. Cancellations later than one week after registration and before 60 days before training, offer a 50% refund with deductions of SEK 500 for administrative costs.