Authors: Julia Kosztka
In this research, I investigated how different experiential learning based outdoor methods are practiced in the field of social work in Hungary.
I interviewed practicing social work professionals with specific emphasis on gaining an insight into as many areas of social work practice as possible.
Based on the research, I found that the toolbox of methods used in social work is quite diverse. When selecting one method or another, besides assessing the needs and characteristics of any given client group, equally important factors appear to be the personal interests and skillsets of the colleagues working at a given institu-tion, as well as the funding opportunities. The focus of my research was on meth-ods of experiential learning: outdoor experiential education, outdoor training, wilder-ness and adventure therapy tools. Out of these is mostly (indoor) experiential educa-tion that is found among the methods used by Hungarian social work-ers. The involvement of the outdoors and the natural environment mostly appear in recreational and free time activities and depends upon the characteristics of the institu-tion and the personal connection to nature of the professionals in question. The con-scious therapeutic use of nature seems to be more of a uniqueness than common prac-tice in Hungarian social work. A high level of interest and openness has been demon-strated in terms of learning and applying new methods as well as including sustainabil-ity and environmental protection in professional work.