Humans have long interacted with the natural world, from foraging and hunting for food to more recently, finding solace and peace in a beautiful vista. Our connection to nature runs deep in our DNA, yet our modern world has humans indoors almost 93% of the day. There is growing evidence that being in nature provides a healing elixir for physical and mental ailments. Ecotherapy, a growing but lesser known construct in mental health, describes the reciprocal relationship humans have with nature and the capacity of that relationship to build strength and provide healing. This presentation provides an overview of the theoretical constructs of Ecotherapy with historical considerations and recent research discussed. Perspectives and reflections will be offered through the presenter’s own experience as a former wilderness therapist and current Ecotherapist/Counselor Educator. Examples of practical ways to incorporate Ecotherapy with children and adults, within school settings, in group work and with veteran populations will be provided. Descriptions of other Ecotherapy modalities will also be included, such as animal-assisted, equine, horticultural, forest bathing, green exercise and adventure based therapy. To bring the content to life, the presenter will add case examples, reflections and experiences with nature as a partner in the therapeutic relationship.
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