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What is Ecotherapy?

Ecotherapists are people who embrace principles of psychotherapy, spirituality, and nature. They believe that reconnecting to nature can improve physical and mental health while encouraging people to uncover new solutions to long-standing problems.

Dr. Qing Li, author of the book 'Forest Bathing' and proponent of 'Shinrin-yoku, has done research in Japan showing how spending time in nature improves health. He has demonstrated that 6 hours of forest bathing over 2 days leads to many health benefits: 

  • Reduced blood pressure

  • Reduced stress

  • Improved mood

  • Increased ability to focus, even in children with ADHD

  • Accelerated recovery from surgery or illness

  • Increased energy level

  • Improved sleep

  • Boosted immune system functioning, with an increase in the count of the body's Natural Killer (NK) cells

Suggested steps for doing 'Nature Bathing':

  • Find a spot

  • Engage all your senses

  • Don't hurry

  • Try different activities

  • Appreciate the silence

Ecotherapy, is a term for healthcare treatments that focus on spending time outdoors and experiencing nature. The evidence is growing for Ecotherapy, but the mechanisms of positivity are still mysterious. For example, it is not understood why exposure to plants or flowers contributes to a feeling of well-being in most people, even though gardening has been used therapeutically since the 1940s.

Individual Ecotherapy

Group Ecotherapy 

  • Ecotherapy-themed office visit

  • Walk-and-talk in nature (High Park or Martin Goodman Trail)

  • Mindfulness-based Ecotherapy practices in session or as homework

  • Nature-based treatment including spending time in nature for depression

  • Prescriptions to spend time in nature as a part of the Parks Canada PaRx program, which provides free passes for entry into Canada's national parks (The 7 protected areas in Ontario are: Bruce Peninsula National Park, Fathom Five National Marine Park, Georgian Islands National Park, Point Pelee National Park, Pukaskwa National Park, Thousand Islands National Park, Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area)

Note: All individual Ecotherapy sessions are billed at the usual rate of $160 for 50 minutes.

Weekly Group Ecotherapy Walks in High Park

  • Beginning in the Spring with longer days and warmer weather

Vision Quests

  • For people seeking greater purpose and direction in life

  • No chemicals or substances provided or allowed

  • Group camping at Frontenac Provincial Park​

  • Working with Buddhist Archetypes

  • Includes fasting and interrupted sleep practices

  • Sacred ceremonies involving nature and the senses

  • Limited to small groups of 12 people

  1. June 30 at 2pm to July 2 at 2pm (Thursday to Sunday)- Registration by Eventbrite

2. August 26 at 2pm to August 29 at 2pm (Saturday to Tuesday) - Registration by Eventbrite

Ecotherapy Training for Therapists or Coaches

Introduction to Ecotherapy

  • Tuesday, March 21, 7:00-9:00pm

  • Virtual Zoom training

  • Open to anyone who is a psychotherapist, counsellor, or coach

  • What you are going to learn in the online training:

  1. What Ecotherapy is

  2. Why Ecotherapy is becoming more popular

  3. Health benefits of Ecotherapy

  4. Importance of Biophilic design

  5. How Ecotherapy blends with Mindfulness practices

  6. Ecotherapy activities

  7. How to incorporate Ecotherapy options into your own work

  • Cost: $75

Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: "The best moments usually occur when a person's body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile." 

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