What is Nature-Based Therapy?
Nature-based therapy refers to the use of the outdoor setting for therapeutic work. We will incorporate nature to sit and walk – in urban parks, wilderness settings, forests, beaches, lakes, and rivers.
It encompasses the following:
- wilderness adventure therapy
- bush adventure therapy
- green therapy
- forest therapy
- equine therapy.
Due to the global Covid-19 pandemic, therapists have to think differently about how therapy is delivered, providing alternatives to the counselling room, including telehealth and outdoor settings.
Benefits of Nature Therapy
Many people find it easier to talk side-by-side than in a clinic or online and telephone counselling where there is no physical presence. Movement in the outdoors can also help shift perspectives and gain new insight. Walk and Talk therapy uses the therapeutic alliance in an outdoor setting. For some people, the natural environment offers 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 more significant implications to therapy because of the capacity for the person to share more comfortably.
Being in nature may help people feel more grounded, connected, and stuck. In addition, being in nature can enhance emotion release and problem-solving, boost mood and reduce stress hormones (adrenaline and cortisol). It also can help with better circulation and sleep.
The nature experience provides a passive backdrop and is active in therapy. So, through metaphor, relationship building, role play, modelling, and stabilisation, nature acts as a third party. In addition, being outdoors provides excellent variety to the counselling sessions as the backdrop can be very different, for instance, the season of the year, weather on the day, and the time of day.
Master of Education (Experiential Learning & Development) – Wilderness Adventure Therapy Stream – Victoria University of Technology
Advanced Accreditation in Nature-Based Therapy, Nature-Based Therapy
Getting Started as a Walking Therapist: A Step-by-Step Guide, Jen Udler, PESI, USA