What is Ecotherapy?
Ecotherapy has been described as ‘connection with the rest of life’ (Ambra Burls, Anglia Ruskin University). Andy McGeeney describes it as ‘creating a deeper connection to nature and feeling better for it’.
The term ‘ecotherapy’ has been used to describe a wide variety of activities. These range from outdoor exercise or gardening groups, to traditional psychotherapy held outdoors. They all aim to improve wellbeing through spending time with other life.
Evidence for Ecotherapy
There is now a range of evidence showing that time in nature has significant positive effects on wellbeing. London-based Ecotherapist Andy McGeeney summarises some of the evidence here. Mind, the biggest UK mental health charity, has been researching, funding and promoting ecotherapy over the last few years. You can read evidence on the benefits of ecotherapy on their website. See also a wonderful article on the benefits of tree-hugging on the We Are Wildness website. Intuition also tells us that time in nature is good for us. Many poets over the ages have sung its praises. See a collection of quotes here.
So, if simply time in nature is good for us, why bother with ‘ecotherapy’? Well, as you can see in the Mind evidence, there is added benefit from structured activities. This makes sense, as you’re combining time in nature with some other therapeutic activity – a potent combination.
Ecotherapy with Smell The Raindrops
My approach to Ecotherapy can equally be called ‘Mindfulness in Nature’. Both mindfulness and time in nature are known to have a calming and therapeutic effect, bringing us greater peace. By combining them, I bring you an accelerated and powerful path to inner peace. And ultimately the benefits are beyond words – you need to experience it for yourself :o)
What do we mean by ‘Nature’?
Sometimes I think this question is so obvious it doesn’t need answering. You know, trees, grass, leaves, nothing manmade – basically living stuff that’s not human. But then I think, what about deserts, boulders, cliffs? And aren’t we part of nature too? And aren’t the things humans have made all ultimately made from ‘natural’ stuff? So I see ‘nature’ as something of a shorthand for stuff that’s closer to the source of life. Mostly living things, but also other ‘natural phenomena’ such as the sky, mountains, water etc.