WHAT IS ECOTHERAPY?

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. 

 

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)

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Ecotherapy is an emerging field, combining current therapeutic skills,  based on very ancient view of the world.   It is becoming common in mental health, disabilities and aged care, and occupational and  diversional  therapy.  It is popping up in children/ family programs,  youth at risk etc.  It can be found in correctional services, in community gardens, cultural harmony projects, drug and alcohol rehab,  returned defense forces, as well as rehabilitation programs for stroke and accident victims.  

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.

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...

"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" -

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Why flowers are potent mood elevators

http://urwebsrv.rutgers.edu/magazine/archive1013/departments/spring-2010/insights/flower-power

Learn about the natural antidepressant in soil

http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/garden-how-to/soil-fertilizers/antidepressant-microbes-soil.htm

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" -

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Kerryn Coombs-Valeontis is a practising Art Therapist, Eco/Art Therapist, Horticultural Therapist, Founder and Facilitator of the Diploma of Ecotherapy (newly approved by IICT International Institute of Complimentary Therapists) in Aotearoa NZ. 

Coming to Australia in 2019. 

She currently works with youth at risk, and  in mental health.

 

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Her book,  Nature Heals;  Horticultural Therapy, Ecotherapy Green and Nature Based therapies in Australia and New Zealand, co-authored with Virginia Field and Karen Gray,  is due out March 2019.

Introduction by Costa Georgiadis.   A unique and comprehensive look at how Nature Based Therapy is 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!

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Opportunity to pre-order your copy coming September 2018!  

Watch this space. 

 

 

Qualifications:

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) 



 


Member 

 The peak professional association for creative arts in australia new zealand and asia

The peak professional association for creative arts in australia new zealand and asia