Elizabeth Benninger’s work on scope therapy has recently been published in a special issue of the Global Journal of Community Psychology Practice! Over the past 15 years, surf therapy has emerged as a growing therapeutic intervention in diverse communities around the world. Although the programs operate on the premise that surf therapy provides a range of benefits for both physical and psychological health, there is limited research evidence available to support these claims. There additionally remains a need to further develop evidence-based practices around surf therapy that support the global impact of existing and future surf therapy interventions. This study provides an overview of the current scientific evidence related to surf therapy, including its physical, psychological, and social benefits. It additionally provides a detailed description of existing research methods and measures used to evaluate the impact of surfing as a therapeutic intervention that could inform further research designs. The study supports surf therapy as a means of improving both physical and psychosocial health outcomes and includes recommendations for improving surf therapy research and practice.
Elizabeth was a post-doctoral research scholar from July 2018 - January 2020 at the Swetland Center, where her research efforts focused on the foodNEST 2.0 and BCOP projects along with developing her independent research related to community health. She recently transitioned to an NIH-sponsored T32 research fellowship position at Case's School of Medicine which supports her to further her training and implementation of community-based research in health promotion. Elizabeth worked on a surf therapy study as a part of her post-doctoral scholar position while at Center. She is also former director of Waves for Change, a surf therapy organization based in South Africa and an active member of the International Surf Therapy Organization (ISTO) and advocate for surf therapy research and practice as a novel form of health promotion.
“This is a big win for the growing surf therapy sector to start building a stronger evidence base to support the programs and interventions!”