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"Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today."

- Malcolm X

Clinical Rock Climbing Training

May 14, 21, 28. June 4, 11.
Tuesday Evening: 5:00pm - 8:00pm MST
Intensive: June 15-17 - 2024!

Cohort 3 is now enrolling!
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Built on a decade of experience and passion, this training will prepare and inspire you to make rock climbing a central tool in your therapy kit! This comprehensive course covers theory, program design, logistics, trauma-informed care and more. The hybrid delivery model will give you weekly online instruction and an in-person climbing intensive in beautiful Golden Colorado. If you've dreamed of using climbing in therapy, this is for you. From adaptive programs to youth programs to treatment for specific mental health concerns, you'll learn everything you need to feel confident as a climbing instructor and therapist! 

Course Requirements: Able to climb 5.7 on top rope, belay certified by an established climbing gym, guide company or professional organization. 

Total Hours: 36 hours towards C-CAT certification. We are seeking approval for professional continuing education credits, and have secured this approval in the past. Please check in for updates.

Cost: $1400

*Payment plans are available, the cost stays the same.

Being able to pay in full all at once is a privilege and should not be rewarded with a discount. 

Course Objectives: 

  1. Develop climbing interventions relevant to the specific needs of various clinical populations.

  2. Design a comprehensive rock climbing program using industry standards and psychotherapy best practices.

  3. Assess physical and psychological risk factors in various climbing scenarios.

  4. Assess autonomic nervous system processes related to mental health issues during climbing interventions.

  5. Facilitate rock climbing with groups, families, couples and individuals. 

  6. Apply trauma informed best practices to rock climbing therapy situations. 

  7. Implement basic self rescue skills. 

  8. Utilize both indoor and outdoor climbing venues.

  9. Create treatment plans and assess for progress using adventure therapy language and deliberate practice techniques. 

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This Course Is For:

  • Masters-Level Counseling/Social Work Students

  • Licensed Professional Counselors

  • Licensed Social Workers

  • Pre-Licensed Mental Health Professionals

  • Recreation Therapists are welcome as well!

Topics Covered:

  • Facilitation

  • Technical Skills

  • Mental Health Treatment Applications

  • Intervention Development

  • Comprehensive Program Design

  • Group and Family Facilitation

  • Individual Facilitation

  • Somatic, Behavioral and Cognitive Perspectives

  • Climbing as an Assessment Tool

  • Current Adventure Therapy and Climbing Therapy Research

What Participants Said

"This course allowed me to focus on the perspective of being a client and experiencing climbing through more of a sensory lens. This was vey helpful, especially with my background with teens to start thinking about interventions that are less focused on challenge by choice and more on authentic choice."

Hours Breakdown:

Technical Skills (8 Hours)

  • Climbing Wall Instructor Skills

  • Self Rescue Skills

  • Climbing Instruction Techniques

  • Risk Management

Facilitation and Processing Skills (8 Hours)

  • Group and Individual Facilitation 

  • Intervention Development

  • Incorporating Theoretical Lens

  • Dissociation and Symptom Assessment

Organization and Administration (4 Hours)

  • Gym and Outdoor Permitting

  • Crisis and Risk Management Policies and Procedures

  • Gear Maintenance

  • Program Logistics and Checklists

  • Creating a Risk-Aware Culture

  • Documentation


Conceptual Knowledge (4 Hours)

  • Clinical Applications of Climbing to Specific Populations

  • Intervention Development

  • Trauma-Informed Climbing

Therapeutic Alliance (2 Hours)

  • Relationship and Power Dynamics

  • Equity and Access Issues

  • Socio-Cultural Considerations

  • Professionalism

Assessment (2 Hours)

  • Clinical Assessment

  • Deliberate Practice Techniques

Adventure Therapy Interventions (4 Hours)

  • Creating Climbing Interventions

  • Treatment Planning

  • Progress Assessment

"Not only do we get to work in our element, we get to combine our passion with helping people!"

- Alisha C, 2021 Clinic Attendee
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Course Session Outline: 5, 3 Hour Online Sessions


Week 1: Introduction to Climbing Therapy

  • Course objectives and individual goal creation

  • History and Program Options

  • Current Research


Week 2: Clinical Lens Development

  • Creating your lens.

  • Theoretical approaches to climbing therapy

  • Trauma informed climbing principles


Week 3: Program Design

  • Designing a climbing therapy program

  • Treatment Planning & Assessment

  • Instructing Climbing

  • Clinical facilitation tools

  • Leadership and "guide mode."


Week 4: Program Logistics

  • Risk management PNP

  • Gear list, care and maintenance

  • Location and logistical considerations

  • Crisis management

  • Documentation, Waivers and Liability

Week 5: Relationship, Ethics & Social Justice

  • Equity and Access in Outdoor Sports

  • Cultural Considerations in Climbing

  • Guide/Therapist Relationship and Power

In-Person Intensive: 21 Hours


Friday: Indoor, 6 Hours

  • Teaching Rock Climbing

  • Trauma-Informed Skill Application

  • Professionalism


Saturday: Outdoor, 8 Hours

  • Outdoor Site Management

  • Facilitation Application

  • Intervention Development


Sunday: Outdoor, 6 Hours

  • Risk Assessment

  • Rescue Skills

Lodging: Lodging is not provided as part of this program, however we will happily help you coordinate a shared rental through AirBnB or VRBO, and to select local hotels. There is no camping nearby. We will also help with transportation to the best of our ability. Our past groups have been collaborative and transportation/carpooling has worked out well!

Outdoor Climbing: Outdoor climbing locations include North Table Mountain, Lookout Mountain, Clear Creek Canyon and Boulder Canyon.

Register Now
for 2024!

Regiter Now
Your Instructor:
Aleya Littleton. MA, LPC, C-CAT, SPI
Aleya started rock climbing back in 2008. Finding herself in the middle of a major life transition, she sought the comfort of nature and found so much more. Initially she appreciated the sport for it’s aspects of adventure, but she soon learned that while becoming a skilled climber, she also discovered more about herself, her community, and found the peace she had been searching for. 
  • MA Adventure Therapy, Prescott College

  • AMGA Single Pitch Instructor Guide:

    • Outer Edge Performance​

    • Colorado Climbing Company

  • Climbing Instructor:

    • Boulder Rock Club​

    • Earth Treks Climbing

    • ABC Kids Climbing

    • Colorado School of Mines

  • Climbing Workshop Presenter:

  • Self Rescue: Earth Treks 2010 & 2015.

Contact Aleya directly with questions:

Fees | Refunds | Cancellation Policy:

*All fees are due at the time of registration. 

*Cancellation: Full refunds are available until one week prior to the beginning of the course. 50% refunds are available until the first day of the course. No refunds are available after the start of the course.

*WWL will do our best to avoid course cancellation. However, if we must cancel a course due to some unforeseen or unavoidable circumstance, we will contact you at the primary email address and phone number you provided at the time of registration. You will be able to select a full refund or full letter of credit to transfer to a new course date within 12 months of the date of the original course. If a course in progress is interrupted by unforeseen or unavoidable circumstances, participants will receive credit to take the remainder of the course a later date.  All other expenses such as airfare and hotel accommodations will not be reimbursed by WWL.

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