Using the healing power of nature through counselling outdoors
‘I walk slowly down the path into the wood. The tunnel of branches wraps around me. I notice my breath deepen. My step builds a rhythm. It’s late autumn. A few leaves remain on the tree. Below my feet a dampening carpet of leaves creates a softness for my steps. Bird song bursts through occasionally, reminding me of life around even though the season is about dying back.
I feel safe here. I feel held. The busy-ness of life drifts away and I feel part of this world, away from another world that jabs and prods with information, requests, to do lists. Always so busy. But not here.
The vibrant green moss, glowing almost phosphorently draws me deeper in the wood, deeper into myself. I miss this stillness. I miss this. I miss. I. And then finally just I. My breath. My footsteps. My senses all alive. Nothing else. The chatter subsides just for a moment.’
Journal entry following a nature walk
If you feel a deep nature connection, nature based therapy or counselling outdoors might be helpful.
Being in nature can have a profound effect on our sense of wellbeing. For some people, counselling outdoors can be a deeply transformational experience. I offer ecotherapy counselling outdoors in beautiful natural surroundings of Totnes, Paignton and Newton Abbot. We can ‘walk and talk’ in a variety of suitable locations such as the Dartington Hall estate or along the river Dart. Sessions take place either sitting in one location or ‘walking and talking’ in woodland and hill settings. We use the natural surroundings to support the counselling and ecotherapy work we do together.
Being in nature while experiencing a safe, non-judgmental and confidential support can be very powerful too for support and healing.
Counselling and ecotherapy sessions are normally held at the same time weekly and last 60 or 90 minutes.
Is counselling outdoors right for you?
For many people, meeting their counsellor in a clinic or consulting room feels a safe and appropriate setting for counselling. However, if you have a strong affinity with nature and being outdoors, ecotherapy or counselling outdoors might be suitable for you.
If you find being outside in nature relaxing, or it brings back positive memories from childhood or more recent times, then you might want to consider counselling outdoors. Simply put, if being out in nature makes you feel good, counselling outdoors might be appropriate. Perhaps you have an affinity with the sea, trees or animals and being near or with them makes you feel better about yourself?
Counselling outdoors, or ecotherapy makes use of this affinity with nature to reduce your anxiety levels. We are of course part of nature, and there is an element in all of us that is drawn back to nature. Counselling outdoors can support this.
Counselling outdoors can also help with mindfulness. Free from distraction, you can come back to yourself, present and alive in the world. It also helps you feel more in contact with your body, as you make contact with nature through your senses and body.
It can also provide rich metaphors (think of emerging buds or blossom, fallen trees, broken branches, drying or unfolding leaves) with which we can work to relate to your story and what’s going on for you in your life at the moment.
Things to think about counselling outdoors in Totnes, Paignton and Newton Abbot or nearby areas?
Counselling outdoors isn’t right for everyone. You need to be ready for counselling outdoors and generally I recommend starting counselling indoors. We can discuss together when might be the time to think about moving your counselling outdoors.
Whilst we can have counselling and ecotherapy sessions in sheltered areas, being in the elements is part of the counselling work, so you will need to bring sturdy footwear, warm and waterproof clothing depending on the time of year. If you are worried about being outdoors in challenging weather, then this might not be for you.