Why Eco therapy?

I grew up in the country by the sea and now live in the country by a river. The outdoors is important to me. It is a space for me to think and to feel, to connect with nature and myself and to just be me.

Painted rocksNature enlivens my senses, Whether it is the feel of the sun on my skin or the wind in my hair, the smell of the sea or the fresh country air, seeing the changing colours of leaves on the trees or the formation of clouds in the sky, the sounds of waves crashing against the shore or birds singing their dawn chorus or the taste of fresh fruit and veg from the garden, it all means something to me.

I feel alive in nature, and that can be a feeling of calm and peace practicing Yoga by the river or a sense of exhilaration and excitement skiing down a mountain. There is such a true honesty about nature. Nature is what it is. We can’t change the weather by wishing it would stop raining and we can’t make a seed grow faster by thinking about it or watching it. A rose won’t become a rhododendron because we want it to. If we can let go, accept and allow nature to be what it is then we can be more peaceful ourselves and the same is true of our feelings, our relationships and our life experiences.

The tree of life connects all forms of creation and many religions, cultures and ancient civilisations. For me the tree of life represents breath. The breath we share with all human beings, with animals with plants. We are part of nature and we share this planet with many other living beings.

I am no artist but I painted this version of my tree of life onto a stone I found whilst out on a walk. It sits on the hearth in my therapy room along with pieces of art work by established artists and items that I have collected over the years from stones, pieces of wood, shells and sand from the Sahara.

What is Eco therapy?

Eco therapy can mean many different things from a simple walk alone outside taking time to notice and appreciate the sights, sounds and sensations to arts and crafts using materials gathered from nature. In the sense here I am using eco therapy to mean combining counselling with nature to enhance the therapy. People have been writing about eco therapy for many years and their experiences of it, they are all different because we are all different. I can make suggestions to you but it is your choice if and how you use them.

Nature can be incorporated into counselling in a variety of ways. It can be easier to breathe outside and feel more free and so easier to connect with feelings or talk about difficult things. We can sit outside in the garden or by the river or we could walk side by side and talk. I have various places where we can do just that. Your confidentiality and safety is paramount so we will discuss first what and where will be best for you.

There are other ways of incorporating nature into your life and your therapy, whether that is writing a haiku (a Japanese verse about nature), drawing, painting, photography, planting a seed, nurturing it and watching it grow, the list is endless and I would love to explore with you your way of connecting. You may chose not to use nature in our sessions together but bring it more in to your life between sessions. Ask me if you would like to know more.

www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/jun/17/ecotherapy-how-outdoors-improve-mental-health-parks-wilderness