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The Diploma of Ecotherapy uniquely crafted to meet the growing need for work opportunities in skilled facilitation of nature based therapeutic work.

Diploma of Ecotherapy 9 modules, 500 hours in total. Self paced, complete full or part time;

fit it around your life!


“This module felt like an arrival home after a long time lost in citied spaces”

As I become more aware of this ‘eco self’, I feel more grounded in myself, and my hope is that this will transmit to those I meet with. 

“It has been a sweet reprieve, not without its moments of challenge (mainly self-created fear/perfectionist patterns), but immensely valued.”

THE DIPLOMA ECOTHERAPY; each module is approx 50 hours of reading, experiential immersions and reflection in nature with creative responses and assignment work.

Each module can take 2 - 4 weeks full time or up to 3 months part time. Its up to you.

The Diploma of Ecotherapy can be completed in 1 year (full time) or up to 3 years part time.

Module 1 – 6 delivered  online. Module 9 is a 50 hour placement in community, supported by the teacher/facilitator. There is a online student group. connecting and supporting your learning journey.  Theory base and research frameworks from  Ecopsychology,  Assignments have large components working in and with nature. 

COST $3145 (AUD)

$300 per module + $445 five day residential retreat with all food and accommodation.
(excludes travel to residential)

PAY as you go - 2 modules @ a time = $600.

Fit study around your budget.

Further Inquires; email

You may wish to arrange a conversation ( via skype, messenger etc.) with the creator/ facilitator Kerryn to discuss further your interest and enrollment.

There is no pre-requisite  degree necessary, before  enrolling in the Diploma of Ecotherapy.  Studies in psychology, horticulture, floral art,  animal husbandry,  eco-tourism, permaculture, counselling, social and community work, landscape design, youthwork, teaching, drug and alcohol work and adventure therapy, and others, all compliment the work of Ecotherapy.  These will help to deepen and broaden your experience, knowledge and practice as an Ecotherapist.

The diploma of Ecotherapy is designed to run in sequence. Underpinning knowledge and experiences are programmed first, to support the work of modules 7 - 8 delivered at the residential , that have a group work and a therapeutic facilitation focus.

Modules  7 – 8  will be delivered at a 5 day retreat style residential . Attendance will be a requisite, where facilitation and therapeutic communication skills will be experienced and in learning communitas.  

The last module, module 9, includes a 50 hour Ecotherapy placement in community. This is a supported placement, where you are offered support to locate and complete the placement, where you choose to focus and grow your edge as an Ecotherapist.

View from Te Kehu retreat centre south new zealand into the Nelson lakes national park

View from Te Kehu retreat centre south new zealand into the Nelson lakes national park

The next residential is scheduled at Te Kehu retreat center,  in the Nelson Lakes area of the South Island NZ May 8 – 12, 2019.  

Residential  retreats will generally be offered once per year, with the following one scheduled for early May 2020, in Australia. in the Sydney area. TBC.

The Residential will have special guests/experiences planned. At Te Kehu, we will have Kelly Jarvis as our Maori “Kaiwhakaaraara -Navigator.

A visit to Verve, Flower Farmer Jenine Wardman’s  farm nearby.   Jeanine will show us how her floral workshops are a beautifully therapeutic.

“And here are trees and I know their gnarled surface, water and I feel its taste. These scents of grass and stars at night, certain evenings when the heart relaxes - how shall I negate this world whose power and strength I feel?”



In te ao Māori, the concept of ako means both to teach and to learn. It recognises the knowledge that both teachers and learners bring to learning interactions, and it acknowledges the way that new knowledge and understandings can grow out of shared learning experiences. ( The Maori dictionary )

Earth art by Kelli jarvis

Earth art by Kelli jarvis

Kia ora Korua (greetings to you )
I have found that the Ecotherapy training has allowed me to develop and fine tune my own model of practice to work alongside people in this space. I have existing qualifications that are recognized in NZ , counselling, art and social work degrees. I am employed by a Maori health organization who supports and encourages my way of working, as an eco therapist. They see they benefits this way of working has on the whanau, and individuals I work alongside, as well as the healing for Papatuanuku from creating these connections and relationships.

Kia ora e te whanau  ( hello extended family)

I’ll take a moment to introduce myself, I’m a mum of 5 beautiful beings and a cheeky dog. I’m An artist and adventurer. I’ve been working in our community for over ten years now, working alongside people who have experienced family violence and trauma. My roles have varied from program coordinator, women’s advocate, community advocate and now Family Violence Prevention Coordinator and Counselor at a Maori Health Organization In Palmerston North, where I use Ecotherapy and creativity as my models of practice with women, men, youth and children. I have developed a nature based women’s program called Puawai, and I’m currently working on a children’s program. I have been so grateful to have been mentored by Kerryn over the last couple of years of my Ecotherapy journey, such powerful work and am so excited about completing the Diploma alongside you all.  Taking on the role of  “Kaiwhakaaraara-Navigator” I believe enables me to sit within the learning group,  not as a leader or expert in this area but to insure we are guided to practice, and learn in a way that is respectful and honoring of Te Ao Maori and the whenua (land) that we are learning from,  following Tikanga (guidelines) that keep us safe, and the land safe. 

I hope this explains what this organic, seed of a role will be. 

Looking forward to working from you all and growing Ecotherapy 

Love and light,
Kelly Jarvis

Click here to view Puawai Nature Therapy.
Click here to view the Nature Therapy Collective Facebook group for Aotearoa
For more of Kellys story and how she takes the dark with the light in her art and work click here.

Bespoke Course

20 years of experience  in community, teaching and environment is  condensed into an innovative and experiential Diploma of Ecotherapy, crafted  to prepare you for the changing world of work opportunities increasing as the field of Ecotherapy and Earth/Nature based therapies emerges.  Action research on the need for this Diploma of Ecotherapy, has informed  inspired and indeed encouraged, the creation and the writing and delivery of this course. Practitioners and prospective employers of Ecotherapy programs, were consulted.  The Diploma of Ecotherapy blends  vocational  needs with a strong theoretical and evidence base, designed to assist you in forging and making the most of work opportunities in the growing field of  Eco and Nature based therapies.

The Diploma of Ecotherapy consciously develops the holistic leadership forging your professional identity as an Ecotherapist, and the confidence in your ability to create and develop  opportunities for the work of Ecotherapy.     This is a Diploma that truly enables you to and to be a part of  and indeed shape the evolution of what Thomas Berry called “ the great  work” and Joanna Macy calls “the work that connects.”  

Unique Experiential ways of Learning:

A large proportion of the Diploma of Ecotherapy delivered at self paced modules online. This is blended with one residential retreat style workshop where groups skills and therapeutic facilitation are applied and practiced. The Diploma is crafted to respect and engage many ways of learning, or multiple intelligences.   Experiential  and reflective, with invitation and opportunity  for your  individual and collective process,  ensure a solid foundation, as a practitioner of this work.   This foundation  prepares you for both the realities of working as an Ecotherapist, and the changing environment and opportunities that are emerging in the work of Ecotherapy.

  • · The retreat workshop is designed to be experiential. In this the learning is with opportunity to be transformational for all enrolled. The assessments will have an emphasis on an awareness of and a reflection on the dynamics of this process, for you.

  • · Assessments will be integral to each module. Some of them are designed to encourage creative responses to this course material, and your own inner processes integrating the learnings. As such they can include (but are not limited to) poetry, songs, dance, art/sculpture installations etc. that express and evidence the impact and potential of the learnings. This will compliment the more academic style of some other more theory based assessment, and aims to engage, respect and embody the variety of multiple intelligence's or ways of learning ( See Howard Gardener’s reserch ) including earthways. Learn more

  • · A balance of theory and practical will comprise this Diploma. Invitations to ground the theory will be an integral part of the ways of learning. The diploma will have a focus on the evidence base amassing for Ecotherapy /Nature Based Therapies. It will also explore the theoretical frameworks that support the practice of Ecotherapy.

  • · Peer to peer learning will be an integral part of the delivery and each student will be invited to present a workshop in consultation with the teacher/facilitator at the residential. This will enhance the emphasis in group facilitation skills and leadership, as much of the work opportunities arising in Ecotherapy are in group settings. As such 360 degree feedback ( from all course participants) and the teacher will be invited and offered for reflection and growth.

  • · Creativity is the way Earth renews and expresses itself. Invitations to your own creativity will be a feature and a focus, sitting alongside growing its skilled facilitation for your client groups, inspired by nature. . We will draw our inspiration and indeed sometimes mimic nature (e.g self care principals based on trees, rhizomes and fungi and the way they stay strong together)

  • · Readings offered before some modules, from current thinkers, practioners and researchers, shaping the field of Ecotherapy. Discussions in on online yahoo group will enable you t connect and share your journey with other students.

Ecotherapy is ecopsychology’s success story. Mainstream psychologists such s Reser, Koger and Winter endorse it, noting the impressive and growing body of evidence for the therapeutic effects of contact with the living worlds and the need for clinicians to validate the distress that people experience over the ruination of the earth. “
Andy Fischer “Radical Ecopsychology Psychology in the Service of Life.

Conscious Communitas  - returning Joy to learning

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Communitas happens, when we form and cohabit in temporary  learning community, and  is harnessed  in an intentional ways to enhance the powerful aspects and the joy, of experiential learning.  Edith Turner,   an anthropologist published  a definitive overview of the anthropology of communitas, outlining the concept in relation to the natural history of joy.   She explored the nature of human experience , in relation to the sacred, nature and spirit. Communitas often occurs spontaneously,  (delightfully) deepening learning and connection to fellow learners.



will be given considered and in- depth  feedback- including from your peers.

The final module only, the  work placement, will be assessed satisfactory/unsatisfactory.

The Diploma of Ecotherapy - What’s covered?

Module 1  Introduction to Ecotherapy. Towards a definition of Ecotherapy.  Overview of  benefits, current practice opportunities emerging for Ecotherapy . Overview of the research/evidence base weaving together a theoretical framework for Ecotherapy. Sense of Place, Earthart & the ecological self.

A celtic green man cast from cornwall England

A celtic green man cast from cornwall England

NOTE: Module 1 is accredited for attendance  at previously held Introduction to Ecotherapy workshops at Te Moata  NZ April 2017 & 2018

 Module 2 Indigenous Earthways     No separation ontology ( nature of being) posthumanism - redefining human place in the world alongside other life forms. Earth Mothers & Green Men.  Colonization   The rise of  Ecofeminism      

Module 3 Healing Gardens. Flowers and trees ( both  have secret lives). Working in/with nature as co-therapist  Eco-psychological models of working with nature.  Way beyond 5 senses.  Sensory plants.  Seasonal  planting calendars. Soil and Seratonin – why dirt is good for you.

Module 4  Anxiety &  Depression & Indivi-dualism – the great malady of our times  Eco anxieties and Integral Ecology The challenge of Eco-romanticism Bill Plotkin - rewilding psychology and eco-centric  life stages model. Transpersonal Models of meaning making and healing from our dark nights of the soul. Beach art and pschodynamic theory of working with found objects.

Module 5  Ecotherapy’s answer:  Mindfulness, Meaning and Re-connection Natures  invitation:  into the  now.  Other Centred Therapy from Bhuddism. Biophilia – our genetic  capacity for connection to other living things.  Can we talk in canine/feline/equine? Non-talk based and Animal assisted Ecotherapy.

Module 6 Creativity the  Joy Of Earth  Earthart and other Creative responses to nature, Co-creation & Change Joanna Macy’s the work that connects. Basho’s frogs:  the tradition of nature poetica. Nature Deficit Disorder and the importance of Nature in children. Creating a 6 week program for your ecotherapy placement.

 Module 7  Therapeutic Facilitation with Nature as Co-therapist Technology/tools of creating healing space with nature; Leadership inspired by nature’s laws, Co-creating  boundaries with nature.   Understanding participants attitudes to Nature;  Maori tradition of AKO - a way of sharing power. WHS working outdoors and weather as co-therapist. Running a group of Ecotherapy with fellow students at residential.

Module 8 Groups as eco-systems and Leadership from Nature  Facilitating, as Social Artistry, New Group Dynamics from laws of nature, inside the energy of living systems. Fractal energy snapshots; In flow with group energy from chaos/complexity theory. Creative ways working with resistance.  Inhabiting inner/outer spaces.  LWayfinding Leadership from Polynesia.

Module 9 Professional Practice of Ecotherapy; WHS in Ecotherapy. Professional supervision of Biomimicry -  inspired by Rhizomes and Funghi. Self Care from Nature Ethics for Ecotherapists 50 hour placement in community of choice or workplace. Includes 360 degree feedback. ( assistance in finding /creating placement from facilitator)

Be part of the Ecotherapy (r)evolution!

Feedback from  participants in Introduction to Ecotherapy - Te Moata 2017/18


Working with the land art I felt connected to the earth our mother…I loved the smell of the warm soil…and feeling that source with my bare feet.  I will introduce Ecotherapy to the families I work with  confidence that I am doing the right thing.  Before when using nature, although I felt intuitively that is was right I believed I had nothing to support this;   now I do.  Thankyou for bringing this work to us.”   Family Violence Worker

“the course will  help me in supporting staff who work in the frontline with teaching to support clients and their families with mental health and addictions issues”    Emerge Aotearoa

“It gave me a better understanding of the ngahere (bush) …being in tune with everything…”  Maori family worker

 “Other centred therapy is a powerful focus:  I liked the idea of the eco-self…it’s something I want to notice more…and an awareness of eco-anxiety is useful for understanding students.”  University student counselor

“It will play a very important role within my professional role and personal journey”  Nurse

“ A greater understanding of unspoken values and beliefs through immersion in nature and gentle guidance – this workshop will impact my work and a  greater sense of self through affirmation of the possibilities of be-ing in natural spaces.”

“ an new creativity is seeded …”

”re-affirming of our work, our medicine”

“I feel more present, more connected with my eco-self”

“a softening, and a deeper realization of what is important…

 Poem “Find me a word”  (written after Ecotherapy workshop)

by NZ poet Gus Simonovic - a beautiful film version produced by Martin Sercombe    ( Click here to view the video.


IICT has a  two part aproval process:  the first is gaining professional indemnity/public liability  insurance  for Ecotherapy as a modality. This offers  insurance cover  to you as a student, while you are on your professional placement. 

The second stage is  becoming  an approved training provider with IICT.  This requires the submission for approval of the following: ( part of enrollment package)

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  • · A student refund policy

  • · A dispute policy

  • · An overview of course content and student contact hours

  • · Detail of assessments students must complete satisfactorily to receive Diploma

  • · Business Registration and current insurance/professional indemnity

  • · C.V of teacher of the course

While IICT are not a registered training authority, they have over 11,000 members across the world. Course Approval with IICT makes it possible to study in this growing field of Nature based Therapies.  They represent emerging therapies and modalities while in the crucial stage of becoming established  - this process has been traversed  with other expressive  /values based therapies that are more established than Ecotherapy, but are similar to it,  such as Art Therapy,  Pet Therapy  and Music Therapy etc.  Catalytic Validity is a term used to refer  to the validity of values based work in  the stage during which the evidence base is being consolidated/action researched.  It is a critical part of development and change.   Typically mainstream practices need time to catch up to cutting edge/emerging research and this can take some years to integrate into other more established modes.  Meanwhile those who experienced the effectiveness of the   Nature Based Therapies, forge and develop its application into the community, while having the assurance of insurance cover.  It is a way of participating in change:  BEING the change.

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them
Albert Einstein
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"I believe that the integrity of this course of study, grounded deeplly in many years as a horticultural and eco-art therapist in mental health and community work, will speak for itself. I have mentored many student placements in nature based work, and supported work placements and assessments. This diploma has emerged out of direct experience with the evolving work of Nature/Earth Based therapies and I have witnessed the rapidly increasingly demand for professionals, competent in the particular range of skills, and expertise needed in this unique career pathway. It is a calling, and those who hear it, will find the Diploma of Ecotherapy will stand up boldly, and help to meet this demand AND go on to forge collectively, ( with other forms of study emerging in Nature/Earth Based Therapies), to be a strong basis for further accredited pathways of study, like a Bachelor of Ecotherapy that is coming. (oooh don’t you like the ring to that?:)"

Founder/Facilitator Kerryn Coombs Valeontis

Email for enrollment pack

  email :

Founder/Facilitator of the Diploma of Ecotherapy

Kerryn Coombs-Valeontis  spent her formative years in Aotearoa/NZ.    She started her career as a school teacher.  With a passion for Environmental Education,  she completed post graduate studies with a Masters in Social Ecology.   Essentially a philosophy of inquiry drawing inspiration from what emerges when traditional  silos of knowledge, ( psychology, ecology and sociology) are blended.    Both ancient wisdom and new sciences fuse and the Social Ecology foundation/lens is her place to navigate  the frontier of the emerging field of Ecotherapy. Along with the healing derived from creativity and co-creating the world, she fused from her studies in Transpersonal Art Therapy.

 She has  been a community worker and manager with Relationships Australia, and taught in adult vocational education (TAFE) for over 15 years, including the Diploma  of Youthwork, Case work  and Community Services, and lately on the Bachelor of Human Services., and the Bachelor of Health and Well being at the Buddhist Nan Tien Institute in Woolongong NSW. She served  on the management committee of Cultivate (NSW Horticultural Therapy Society) for 2 years and created and taught an introductory course in Horticultural Therapy , with colleague and Horticulturalist, Karen Grey.  She has worked as an  art and  horticultural therapist, in clinical mental health services as  group facilitator  with addictions, mood and eating disorders, for over 5 years. .She has trained in Poetry Therapy, and has taught Transpersonal Art  Therapy.   She currently fosters as a house parent in out of home care, marks the Bachelor and Masters of Social Wellbeing Program at Nan Tien Institute of Bhuddism in Wollongong, and practises eco-art therapy in various settings.

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) 

The Peak professional association for Creative Arts Therapies in Australia, New Zealand and Asia Member Number #504

The Peak professional association for Creative Arts Therapies in Australia, New Zealand and Asia Member Number #504

Member Number 1806154162

Member Number 1806154162



Kerryn is also the co-author ( with Karen Grey and Virginia Field) of a book “Nature Heals: An Introduction to Nature Based Therapies in Australia and Aotearoa/NZ

Pre-order your copy - makes a unique and inspirational gift. Book available March 2019. Launch date late March, TBC.

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