With pandemic induced isolation and virtual consumption on the rise, people are finding themselves drifting further and further away from nature based therapy, or “ecotherapy” for mental health treatment. In fact, a recent article by Counseling Today estimates that we are spending close to 90% of our time indoors! Garrett Counseling is here to help you better understand how the use of nature in therapy can benefit you in treating your mental health concerns.
What Is Nature Based Therapy, or Ecotherapy?
Ecotherapy is the use of nature as an aid in mental health treatment. Using ecotherapy effectively, does not mean that you have to dump all your earthly belongings and completely submerge yourself in nature to benefit. Nature based therapy can be as simple or complex as you and your mental health professional prefer it to be. Some therapists work in offices that have a specific, designated space, such as a garden, for this very purpose (you can learn more about Garrett Counseling’s Therapy Garden here). Other therapists may utilize more natural objects in their office (e.g., stones, plants, leaves, flowers, etc.) on a regular basis, offering it as a coping tool for clients when in session. Some therapists may consider utilizing something as simple as opening the window blinds during a session to allow for natural light and visuals of greenery and the sky.
How Does Nature Based Therapy, or Ecotherapy, Help?
Nature based therapy provides the client an ‘escape’ from the intensity of daily hustle and bustle, depressive symptoms, and painful life transitions (including the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic). When a person is observing nature in all its complexities, they realize that – no matter what they are personally experiencing – life goes on. This notion provides people with a sense of stability and safety, in what may otherwise be tumultuous times.
This blog is not to say that nature based therapy, or Ecotherapy, will fix all of the concerns a person may be facing. However, it is noteworthy that even a short period of time in natural light, or a short walk, means less time to ruminate on what may be troubling you. The American Counseling Association says, “You can listen to the quiet of nature, admire some budding flowers, or just smile at the squirrels scampering about — all things to take the focus off what is stressing you”. Sometimes even the quickest of breaks, is all you need to get through the trying times – one day at a time.
If you are looking for a counselor who practices nature based therapy in Jacksonville, Huntsville, or Albertville / Boaz, Alabama, contact us today by calling (256) 239 – 5662 or by clicking here.
**This article was written by Rachel Brewer. Rachel is an Associate Licensed Counselor (#C3719A) under the supervision of Jay H. Byham, MS, LPC-S (#0741). Learn more about Rachel here.