Ecotherapy - Taking therapy outdoors
Ecotherapy is a therapeutic approach that involves the practice of increasing mental and physical wellbeing through accessing the outdoors. It rests on the idea that we are positively influenced by our natural environment. Research has shown that when we mindfully connect to our environment by spending time outdoors, it helps to improve low mood and promote a sense of calmness.
What are the benefits of ecotherapy?
If we lack the motivation to go out, ecotherapy will encourage you to get moving and enjoy some fresh air. Further, when outdoors we naturally use our senses to experience what is around us, and calming sounds, such as the birds singing, can help us to detach from everyday routines and stressors that we all experience. Simple movements such as walking can help to promote psychological well-being, particularly for those who may feel stuck.
What does ecotherapy involve?
Ecotherapy can be described as an authentic human-to-human encounter that involves walking side by side whilst you as the client decide on the pace. It is practiced in a safe community-based environment where you feel comfortable enough to engage with therapy; this may include a local park for example. For some, doing therapy outdoors can feel less daunting than being in a therapy room, and whilst it is outdoors, it continues to be practiced in a boundaried way that respects core values of therapy such as confidentiality.
What are the first steps?
Ecotherapy is open to most people, but before we head off, the session will begin with a brief assessment to establish whether it is the type of therapy that suits your needs; this is based on the nature of your problem and your physical health. We will discuss any associated level of risk, which includes identifying anything that has the potential to cause harm.
*In the current climate, meeting a client in an open outdoor space will allow for the recommended guidelines on physical distancing.