Welcome to Harbourside Therapies, and to my first blog post! I wanted to take this opportunity to talk some more about ecotherapy and its benefits, so that you can have a clearer understanding of how it works.
Ecotherapy (also known as nature therapy) as a profession is still very much in its infancy in Britain, but at its core it is simply this: At their very heart, people are connected to and impacted by the natural environment around them. By spending time in direct contact with nature, whether that be walking, gardening, or simply sitting and taking in the sounds and sights around you, the contact can help to alleviate stress, mental fatigue or even anxiety or depression.
In Japan, the practice of ‘shinrin-yoku’ or ‘forest bathing’ has been popular since the 1980s. Countless Japanese studies have shown that forest bathing – simply taking regular walks in the numerous forests of Japan, can boost immune systems and enhance mental wellness. People go to the forest to walk, stretch, meditate, to inhale the smells of the forest, and to be healed.
And in the US, doctor are routinely writing prescriptions for parks, with no specific instructions other than to listen to birdsong, sit for 20 minutes without checking your phone, or just walk.
In the UK, the charity MIND champions the use of ecotherapy as a way to build and support peoples’ wellbeing and resilience. Their Ecominds report, Feel Better Outside, Feel Better Inside: Ecotherapy for mental wellbeing, resilience and recovery is an interesting look at how ecotherapy can be used to enhance therapy, and can be found here: www.mind.org.uk/about-us/our-policy-work/ecotherapy/
Here at Harbourside Therapies, the aim is to incorporate nature into every aspect of counselling and coaching, whether that may just be sitting and taking in the view, or by walking and talking and absorbing the beneficial aspects of the beautiful environment that surrounds us. Every person is different, and time will be taken at our first appointment to talk about what level of ecotherapy you will find beneficial.
I hope that if you were wondering just what on earth ecotherapy was, I have now been able to give you a flavour of what it’s about. Fancy trying it out? Just go to the contact page and send me a message to arrange an initial consultation.