Just launched in Australia & NZ 2019
Nature Heals; An Introduction to Nature Based Therapies in Australia and New Zealand,
co-authored by Kerryn Valeontis, Virginia Field and Karen Gray.
Foreward by Costa Georgiadis. A unique and comprehensive look at how Nature Based Therapy is establishing and emerging, and how we are doing it down under! Includes over 30 stories ranging from prisons to pet assisted therapy - packed with passion, humanity and joy!
An introduction, an inspiration, and an invitation
“ a good sensible book, the best for this purpose that I have seen published in Australia. It needs widespread take up as a reference as covers many different social contexts. Fortunately, is is not confined to just horticulture or any single "nature" based therapy. Excellent for our clinical staff to learn and general information. Have a look I think it is great.!”
Dr Chris Read Kevin Heinze Centre Victoria
Ecotherapy is an establishing and emerging field, applying contemporary therapeutic frameworks, and facilitation connections to nature. Ecotherapy is the application of Ecopsychology, a relatively new term. Said to have begun when ecologists and psychologists put their heads together in the 90's.
Ecotherapy is becoming more common in mental health, disabilities and aged care, and occupational and recreational therapy. It is popping up in children/ family programs, youth at risk as a treatment for anxiety and depression. It can be found in correctional services, in community gardens, cultural harmony projects, drug and alcohol rehab, veterans, as well as rehabilitation programs for stroke and accident victims.
“Ecotherapy is an umbrella term for nature-based methods of physical and psychological healing.”
- International Association for Ecotherapy
Ecotherapy creates therapeutic space with and in nature, that promotes and encourages wellbeing, and flourishing. Nature/ plant life cycles and ecosystems coincide and interweave with human life cycles. The split between human and nature begins to heal.
We are nature. As indigenous cultures have always known.
If you have ever known the power of nature to soothe the nerves, balance your perspective in challenging times, or simply feel renewed by a walk in a rainforest, or by the ocean, you know Ecotherapy! While the healing offered by nature is not new, it is being harnessed in new ways and settings.
An Ecotherapist is an emerging form of therapist skilled in facilitation and application of ecopsychology; a focus on bringing nature back people through nature-based immersions and experiences. Work opportunities within clinical or community settings, are increasing; be it in mental health, disabilities, aged care /dementia, rehabilitation, youth at risk and with children. Management of these services, is waking to the benefits of Ecotherapy.
Being in nature is a wonderful
way to encourage mindfulness.
Participants of Ecotherapy report feelings of belonging,
a sense of place/ peace and well being.
Current research on “Nature Deficit Disorder” has a lot to say about the benefits of plants as complimentary medicine and part of a holistic approach to good mental health balance and wellbeing.
If you have ever known the power of nature to soothe the nerves, balance your perspective in challenging times, or simply feel renewed by a walk in a
rainforest, or by the ocean, you know Ecotherapy! While the healing offered by nature is not new, it is being harnessed in new ways and settings.
" Sometimes the truth depends upon a walk around the lake"
poet Wallace Stevens
(or a float down a deep green river)
There has been a lot of research on nature as a framework of therapy or healing.
There is evidence that being in nature lowers blood pressure and the heart rate, lowers the stress response from stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. It also encourages deep breathing, which supports people to slow down, and be present, rather than somewhere else in their heads.
Being with growing things, that require care and nurture, is a wonderful metaphor for personal growth and self care which can invite our full humanity. As a part of an allied treatment process or as a stand alone program, ecotherapy has a lot to offer this modern era of rushing...
“We have a vital opportunity now to shape a new Western psychology that acknowledges humanity as, first and foremost, natural, of nature - not separate from it. Its time to rewild psychology, with ideas and methods rooted in the rhythms, patterns, principles and other -than-human encounters of greater nature.”
Bill Plotkin "Wild Mind- a Field Guide to the Human Psyche"
“Why flowers are potent mood elevators”
“Learn about the natural antidepressant in soil”
What is an Ecotherapist?
An Ecotherapist is an emerging form of practitioner, skilled in facilitation of nature-based immersions and experiences, with various groups and/or individuals. Work opportunities within clinical or community settings, are increasing; be it in nature based therapy in the psychotherapy and counselling modalities, mental health, disabilities, aged care /dementia, rehabilitation, youth at risk and with children. Management of these services, is waking to the benefits of Ecotherapy. Complimentary therapies, along with other expressive, non-talk based therapies such as art therapy, pet therapy, music therapy etc. are a valuable part of an allied approach to treatment. Skilled and confident practioners can make the most of the self-employment opportunities, that are ripening across Australia and New Zealand. Feedback from participants of Ecotherapy, and the current wave of interest and research consolidates the evidence base, as nature based therapies grow.
"Given that the human soul is the very core of our human nature, we might note that, when we are guided by soul, we are guided by nature. Both soul and greater nature do guide us in our individual development, whether or not we ask for this guidance.”
Bill Plotkin "Wild Mind- a Field Guide to the Human Psyche"
Kerryn Coombs-Valeontis is an Ecotherapist and Eco/Art Therapist, Founder and Facilitator of the Diploma of Ecotherapy newly approved by IICT International Institute of Complimentary
She currently works in out of home care, and in mental health.
B.Ed, M. Social Ecology,(UWS) Dip Transpersonal Art Therapy, Cert. Horticultural Therapy (TAFE NSW) Cert IV Workplace Training/Assessment, Cert. Organic Agriculture (Nutritech) and Cert. Professional Supervision (Relationships Australia)