Counselling Without Walls: Facilitating a Path to Healing Through Nature-Based/Ecotherapy and the Human-Nature Relationship

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Hackman, Blair
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The world is experiencing a dual crisis: increased human suffering marked by increasing rates of what are known as mental health disorders and mounting environmental distress typified by climate change events. The interplay between these crises necessitates an exploration of the role nature-based/ecotherapy can play in reducing suffering and offering a healing path for humans and nature. Although evidence suggests an increase in nature-based/ecotherapy interest and the value of the human-nature relationship, there has been a shift away from the original intent of a reciprocal relationship and a lack of understanding on how to implement nature into therapeutic practice. The literature explored suggested a gap in ethical and reciprocal practice, as well as a lack of buy-in from counsellors and clients. A personal connection to a place/experience in nature, and a deep understanding of the interrelated web of all things demonstrate avenues to facilitate a reciprocal human-nature relationship which reduces suffering for both and increases interest in incorporating nature into therapy as a healing modality. From these findings an ecologically ethical framework and an experiential workshop for counsellors was created.
nature-based therapy , ecotherapy , ecopsychology , human-nature Connection , climate change & mental health
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States , openAccess