What makes our approach to counselling unique?
Human-Nature Counselling was formed due to a shared passion and interest in taking the therapeutic process beyond the limitations of the office walls, to include interaction with the natural living systems around us, and the richness of lived experience. All of our team members have had direct experiences of healing and inspiration through immersion in the natural world, and expanding our possibilities of self through challenge and adventure. If many of our most transformational moments did not happen while sitting on a couch, why would we expect this of others? Thus, we have found ourselves in work and educational environments where being outdoors, engaging in play, and learning by doing are the norm rather than the exception. It is from this personal, professional, and educational knowing that we strive to create new possibilities of healing for children, youth, adults and families through the dynamic approaches of Ecotherapy, Adventure Therapy, and Outdoor Experiential Learning.
What does this approach look like in action?
While creative and experiential processes of change are our specialty, we recognize when the safety and containment of an office, and the comfort of a chair, are important and effective ways to support clients in exploring their challenges and strengths. Thus, we follow our clients’ needs and goals, and only take the work outside when suitable, safe and desired by the client.
If you are interested in experiential and nature-based work, possibilities include:
- Office-based sessions that may include reflection on one’s relationship with the natural world
- A session held walking, exploring and sitting in a nearby park, beach, forest or gardens – we will work together to identify a location in your community that feels safe and inspiring to you.
- For youth and family work in the outdoors, we involve dynamic experiential activities, games which interact with the environment and build on one’s capacity to for sensory awareness, mindfulness, and fun! Activities may include log walking, tree climbing, rock scrambling, whittling, fort building, fire, and getting to know the plants and creatures of the area.
What do the terms mean?
Ecotherapy is a form of experiential therapy that incorporates relationship with the natural world into counselling interventions to enhance the client’s growth and development, and strives towards the reciprocal healing of both humans and nature. The scope of ecotherapy practices is widely varied, and can include: mindfulness and sensory awareness practices, environmental grief work, wilderness rites of passage, nature-based soul work, exploration of ecological identity, horticulture therapy, equine and animal assisted therapy, nature as co-therapist, and environmental action and restoration work.
Adventure Therapy (also termed ‘wilderness therapy’) refers to the intentional facilitation of adventure or nature-based activities aimed at creating opportunities for personal and interpersonal change towards therapeutic goals. Adventure Therapy incorporates principles of experience-based learning, metaphor, perceived risk, challenging one’s comfort zone, group processing, the benefits of being in the outdoors, and one’s relationship with nature. Activities range from simple team initiatives and games, to climbing walls and ropes courses, to more adventurous pursuits such as hiking, kayaking, and canoeing.
Human-Nature Practitioners also have foundations in the following modalities:
- Somatic Transformation / Trauma Therapy
- Narrative Therapy
- Response-based Practice
- Emotionally Focused Therapy
- Gottman’s Method
- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy