Exploring Perceptions of Accessibility, Necessity and Use of Social Support for Wilderness Therapy Field Instructors
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Organizations offering therapeutic wilderness programming have a responsibility to ensure the well-being of their front line employees. A system of social support that is formed through communication with others, either personally or professionally, can assist field instructors in effectively managing the demands arising from their work. Phenomenological analysis of semi-structured interview transcripts from seven participants provided insight on perceptions of necessity, accessibility and use of social support. Fourteen main themes and thirteen subthemes emerged from the data. Findings are presented using the six components of Parsons’ (1980) staff development model and strongly suggest program managers consider and apply specific measures aimed at increasing the social support for front line field instructors in a wilderness therapy work context.