Nature-Based Therapy

Nature based therapy

What is Nature-Based Therapy?

As a consequence of the global Covid-19 pandemic therapists have to think differently about how therapy is delivered.  An example of the changes are the increased use of telehealth and outdoor therapy. Nature therapy refers to the use of the outdoor setting for therapeutic work. In addition other terms have been used including:

  • eco-psychotherapy
  • wilderness adventure therapy
  • bush adventure therapy
  • green therapy
  • forest therapy
  • eco-therapy
  • equine therapy.

The outdoor setting could involve sitting or walking, in urban parks, along rivers, beach, forest, or wilderness settings. As a result, people may find it easier to talk side-by-side compared with in a clinic, or online and telephone counselling where there is no physical presence.

Benefits of Nature Therapy

For some people, the natural environment offers them a more comforting way to express their thoughts and feelings than in the confines of an indoor setting. As a result, there may be far greater implications to therapy because of the capacity for the person to share more comfortably. Being in nature also offers the opportunity for some people to feel more grounded, connected, and shift feeling stuck. In addition, it has been found to enhance emotion release and problem solving, boost mood, reduces stress hormones (adrenaline and cortisol), and it also can help with better circulation and sleep.

The nature experience can be a passive backdrop to therapy or actively incorporated into the therapy. So, through using metaphor, relationship building, role play, modelling, and stabilisation, nature acts as a third party to the therapy. In addition, therapy in the outdoors provides great variety to the counselling sessions as the backdrop can be very different and will depend on the season, weather and time of day.

Movement in the outdoors can also be helpful to shift perspective and gain new insight. Walk and Talk Therapy uses the therapeutic alliance in an outdoor setting.

Qualifications

Master of Education (Experiential Learning & Development) – Wilderness Adventure Therapy Stream – Victoria University of Technology

Diploma of Nature Based Therapy, Kit Kline, Nature Based Therapy

Getting Started as a Walking Therapist: A Step-by-Step Guide, Jen Udler, PESI, USA

 

 

 

 

 

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