“I go to Nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in tune once more.” — John Burroughs
Biologically, humans are like all other animals: We’re made of four elements — earth, air, water, and fire. Spending time outside, in the natural world, connects us with those elemental parts of ourselves. We feel our place in the macrocosm. We belong.
Sadly, however, many of us in the developed world suffer from what is called “nature deficit disorder.” Spending the majority of our lives indoors, with eyes, fingers, and brains glued to our electronic devices, we’ve become disconnected from our biological roots. We have lost touch with our essence. We’re adrift.
The antidote to this modern malady is simple: We need to tear ourselves away from our screens and head outdoors! More and more research is pointing to the restorative effects of spending time in green spaces: less depression and anxiety; better mood; less isolation; improved cognitive function. Being in nature is widely seen as a healing experience.
The growing field of ecotherapy blends the best elements of psychotherapy (“talk” therapy) with the healing powers of nature. In my practice, this takes several forms:
Walk & Talk Therapy – This is literally what the name says. Instead of my office, your counseling session takes place outdoors, as client and therapist stroll a forest path side by side. It’s relaxing and refreshing. Inspired by water, sky, and trees, you gain a wider perspective on your problems and rediscover a sense of peaceful ease.
Mindfulness in Nature – A workshop in the art and science of “forest bathing,” derived from the Japanese practice of Shinrin-yoku. Included in this healing experience are a variety of earth-based therapies such as grounding, mindful movement, and sensory awareness. You’ll find it deeply calming to body, mind, and spirit.
Silent Hikes – Several times a year, I lead a group meditative hike on one of the Upstate’s beautiful mountain trails. This experience allows you to try out the practice of Noble Silence, while enjoying the healthful effects of fresh air and green, living things.
— Edward Abbey