This post could have been called any number of things. Wild Therapy, Nature Therapy, Ecotherapy, Walk and Talk Therapy. Essentially, outdoors as with indoors, we co-create the experience the client needs. And when outdoors some clients want to sit on the grass, as if we were in a room, and talk. Others may want to pace, burn off some energy. (Can I keep up?! Can I ask the client to slow down and regain connection?!) Others to use the clouds, or trees, or bird song to soothe. Others still are happy to pick up things, a berry, a twig, or stop and admire a plant and check what part of them the natural item is speaking to. And of course being thoroughly in nature may bring up questions about the survival of species and the planet itself with all the anxiety, grief, anger, powerlessness that can go hand in hand with those questions.
Working outside, both myself and the client need to be ready for the unexpected. A sudden rumble of thunder causing an increase of heart rate and a sudden thought of personal safety, or an inquisitive spaniel running to us and questions about how far we interact with another being when in “therapy”. One of us may stumble. Is it ok to offer an arm? A wild meadow may stop us in our tracks with its delicate beauty. What is it OK to pay attention to? What does nature bring out in the client and their therapist?
Imagine holding a session at the seaside…on a wild moorland…in an ancient woodland. Imagine the richness and risk this might bring to the therapy and the attendant potential growth!
And for those who cannot come outside for therapy, but long for the healing power of nature, how can I bring the outside in?
So many questions, such an exciting place to be with in my development as a therapist.
Please do get in touch to discuss further.