A Pilot Study Utilizing Ecotherapy as a Therapeutic Modality for Persons with Trauma-Related Stress Disorders

  • Miles Matise Troy University
  • Kate Price-Howard Troy University



The current research is a sequential mixed-methods pilot study, which focused on the effectiveness of the program called, Heroes on the Water (H.O.W.) as a complimentary ecotherapy treatment for individuals in an inpatient co-occurring facility who were suffering with trauma-related stress symptoms. Four-hundred and nine participants completed a pre and post-trip survey, answering questions about symptoms related to stress-related trauma disorders. The reduction in self-reported symptoms were as follows: Stress (56%); Re-experiencing (60%); Avoidance (63%); and Hyper-vigilance (62%). Implications for therapists are discussed and directions for future research. This study contributes to the growing evidenced- based practices of utilizing ecotherapy as an adjunctive treatment method for behavioral health treatment with veterans and other adults.

Keywords: trauma, posttraumatic stress, ecotherapy, recreational therapy, therapeutic recreation

Author Biographies

Miles Matise, Troy University

Assistant Professor, Counseling & Psychology Dept.

Kate Price-Howard, Troy University

Dr. Price-Howard is an Associate professor in the department of Hospitality, Sport & Tourism Management. She is a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist.