31: How to Respond to Challenging Behaviors in Nature-Based Therapy Sessions with Jillian Blount, OT

In today’s episode, I’m joined by Jillian Blount, OT, owner of WildFree Kids OT in Alaska. Jillian has a lot of experience working with children who display challenging behaviors during nature-based therapy sessions and we had a long and enlightening conversation on this topic. 

Jillian and I discuss some of the challenging behaviors we might see as therapists and our approaches to those situations, how to manage groups of children with challenging behaviors, and the importance of creating a safe environment for the kids we work with. Safety is always a concern, especially in the outdoors! 

Jillian also offers really great insight into therapeutic holds, how to use them safely, and where to receive training in this area if you’re interested to learn more. 

We’ll discuss:

  • [00:00] A quick update on what’s been going on in my work life, mainly I’ve been prioritizing rest, plus registration opens for The Hive at the end of July
  • [11:38] An introduction to Jillian and her nature-based business, plus defining what the term “managing behavior” means
  • [17:16] Some of the challenging behaviors we might see as therapists, and our approach to handling those behaviors, plus how to broach this subject with parents and steer them to change their own behaviors
  • [35:32] How to manage groups of children with challenging behaviors, especially in an outdoor setting
  • [47:07] Jillian shares her thoughts on the clash between behaviorism and a therapeutic/relationship-based approach
  • [53:40] Strategies to help kids feel safe in our sessions with them, and what to do when children don’t have the language/cognitive capabilities for collaborative problem solving
  • [01:16:40] Jillian shares whether therapeutic holds are appropriate and if there’s a proper way to do them when it comes to children’s safety 

Connect with Jillian:

WildFree Kids OT website

WildFree Kids OT on Facebook

WildFree Kids OT on Instagram

Resources from this episode:

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🌎 Join the Therapy in the Great Outdoors (TGO) Community to get free support as a nature-based pediatric therapist.

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