Ecotherapy- 20 hour course
There are both physical and psychological aspects to ecotherapy.
Ecotherapy may be used by psychologists, counsellors and other health professionals. Ecopsychology is both an ideology and a therapeutic technique. At its core is the premise that human mind is created in a natural environment, even though it is shaped by the modern world around us.
Ecotherapy may also be used by physiotherapists, exercise physiologists, rehabilitation services and others who might be more focussed on physical rehabilitation or sustainability. In this context, gardening activities or walking through gardens may benefit older people, keeping them moving, and perhaps even improving mobility.
Examples of ecotherapy may include:
- Horticultural therapy involves undertaking gardening activities for physical and/or psychological wellbeing, either as formal guided therapy sessions, or informal activity.
- Pet or animal therapies can be varied, such as riding for the disabled, companion animal visits to hospitals or aged care facilities or farm visits for therapeutic purposes.
- Forest bathing emerged as a form of therapy in Japan in the 1980’s. It can involve structured, meditative two or three hour sessions led by trained guides, or less formal as simple as going for a walk in a forest.
As you move through this course you will broaden and deepen your understanding of nature therapies or ecotherapy's.
What's covered in the course?
Lesson 1. Nature & Scope of Ecotherapy
What is Ecotherapy
Need for Mental Health Interventions
General Benefits of Nature on Wellbeing
Nature in Towns and Cities
Lesson 2. Theoretical Perspectives
Problems Associated with Built Environments
Nature & Mental Health Research
Is Direct Contact with Nature Necessary?
Lesson 3. Clients in Ecotherapy
Psychological Wellbeing Benefits to Clients
Physical Benefits to Clients
Barriers to Getting Involved in Ecotherapy
Psychological Issues -Biophobia, Agoriphobia, Autism
Physical Issues -Mobility, Sensory Deficits
Safe Practices – Hazards, Risks, Allergies, First Aid, Legalities, Insurance, Ethics
Lesson 4. Outdoor Ecotherapy with Plants
Activities with Plants
Grow Your Own Food
Green Exercise, Green Gyms
Psychological Ecotherapy Activity – Fascination Therapy, Nature Meditation, Forest Bathing, Horticultural Therapy, etc
Using the Senses – Taste, Sound, Smell. Touch, Sight
Lesson 5. Outdoor Ecotherapy with Animals
Ecotherapy with Animals
Interacting with Wildlife
Using the Senses
Lesson 6. Indoor Ecotherapy Activities
Electronically Engaging with Nature
Growing plants Indoors
Arts and Crafts
Indoor Pets/ Animals
Lesson 7. Creative Arts Ecotherapy Activities
Lesson 8. Complimentary Therapies and Activities
Counselling in Nature
Our Connection with Nature
Ecotherapy May Offer a New Way to build on your Experience and Knowledge
Ecotherapists often come to this job from a background in either health or environmental professions.
- People who have experience in health (eg. psychologists, health professionals, fitness professionals) have some understanding of human wellbeing.
- People who have worked in the environment (eg. with animals, plants, wilderness areas, farms) already have some understanding of nature.
Ecotherapists pair a knowledge of human wellbeing with a knowledge of nature. Having experience in one or the other is an excellent first step to using nature to improve wellbeing. Ecotherapy forges greater connections with the natural world, and in doing so they experience positive wellbeing.
Ecotherapy focusses on the activities rather than on the person and their mental or physical health difficulties.In this way it is different to other forms of therapy. Although ecotherapy activities may be facilitated by a therapist, coach, or guide, it is nature itself which is the real therapist. Therefore, ecotherapy is more of a passive therapy. Submersing oneself in, or surrounding oneself with, nature and natural things allows nature to heal us or enhance our wellbeing.
The role of an ecotherapist is to help the client to connect with the world around them and become more aware of what is happening in nature. In doing so, ecotherapy also seeks to promote and maintain sustainability as people become more in tune with nature. Sustainability is quite a complex term with multiple interpretations. In ecotherapy, people are encouraged to harmonise with the earth and its balance systems because personal wellbeing relies on the wellbeing of the earth. We are all part of one larger system.