The well-evidenced benefits of ecotherapy
Dr Geoff Berry, who presents the Advanced Certificate in Ecotherapy with Metavision, recently had an article published in the Australian Counsellors Association journal on the benefits of ecotherapy.
As Geoff points out, there is so much evidence for the benefits of spending time in nature for our mental health that this point really doesn't need to be questioned. The trick, it turns out, is to do so mindfully, with a well-informed approach, a concrete intention and an open heart. When we prepare well for time in nature, it can become healing, empowering, soulful and regenerative on many levels at once. This is because we are naturally attuned to becoming awakened in nature - we have just forgotten how to assure that this is the result of our time outdoors.
“We need to keep a few things in mind, when we seek healing in nature,” says Geoff. “First of all, we evolved in close contact with our environment, so we are really just remembering the way humans have felt all through our evolution. A lot of this is actually about unlearning, although that is easier said than done. It takes practice, and this requires knowledge across three main domains,” he maintains.
These three areas, which combined can inform a truly enlightened form of ecotherapy today, include:
- Mindfulness, or awareness practices, to ensure we are as present in nature as possible (and not simply daydreaming!);
- Indigenous wisdom, such as learning how the traditional owners stayed in touch with nature through countless generations in one place; and
- Depth psychology, the powerful stories (or myths) and symbols that traditionally taught us how to stay connected and remain embodied while we evolved and adapted through our challenges.
With these three domains in mind, we can reduce anxiety and alleviate depression, weaken addictive tendencies and come alive to our deep connection to nature every day, Geoff states. “Not only this, but we can do so even in urban or indoor environments,” he adds.
Add ecotherapy to your practice by undertaking the Advanced Certificate in Ecotherapy with Dr Geoff Berry at Metavision. You could be offering this natural healing to your clients before the end of this year!