What is ecotherapy?
Ecotherapy is an umbrella term for a range of nature connection practices and nature-based therapies. It is based on the belief that human beings are hard-wired to have a relationship with the natural world around them.
Nature connection work offers several key benefits:
- When we focus on the outer world rather than our inner thoughts, we are able to move towards a more mindful or meditative state. This is good for our mental health.
- We often find it easier to build relationships with animals or plants than we do with other people because human relationships are so complex. Ultimately, building a closer relationship with nature can also help us build closer relationships with each other.
- When we engage in conservation work or growing/gardening, we feel a sense of achievement.
- Witnessesing and immersing ourselves in the beauty and wonder of the natural world puts all the negative things in our lives into perspective.
- We relax when we are surrounded by nature, and relaxation facilitates healing.
In the longer term we plan to expand our nature-connection work, to include gardening therapy, retreats and animal-based therapies. Ultimately, we aim to become a centre of excellence for ecotherapy practice and education. Watch this space!
What’s the theory?
Human beings evolved in synchronicity with nature for millions of years. Our lives were governed by the sun/moon, seasons and nature-based practices like food gathering or farming until around two centuries ago, when the industrial revolution started.
With industrialisation came new technologies. These have made our lives easier in many ways but they have also disconnected us from the natural world in a way that doesn’t appear to be good for our mental health.
Increased industrialisation has also been a key factor in deforestation, pollution and climate change. Many ecotherapists believe that when the natural world suffers, we suffer too – whether we are conscious of it or not.
You can find out more about ecotherapy through our reading list.