Working in the outdoors
When working in the outdoors with clients or supervisees we are invited to re-adjust to the ultimate context within which we all live, that is, the natural world. We are all children of nature and every breath we take is a reminder of this deepest of connections. In my daily life including my work as a psychotherapist I usually feel more alive and present in the outdoors as this is where I feel most at home.
In outdoor therapy I support you in focusing on your relationship with the natural world as well as with yourself – through your breathing, movement, or bodily gestures.
As John Muir said:
So, by going into the outdoors I am inviting you to go in, to go in to yourself, however that may be.
I see clients for therapy in nearby woodland, moorland and open fields. The location varies to suit those who travel by public transport as well as those who have their own transport.
I work with clients for an hour, or for longer by negotiation. The therapy can take the form of simply walking and talking or it may be about slowing down and focusing in on your body and your inner process to be with your moment to moment response to the environment around you. There is potential for a great deal of flexibility, governed principally by client preference and weather.
All the traditional boundaries for effective and safe psychotherapy still apply, including a mutually agreed focus for our work and agreements regarding confidentiality. We will agree how to deal with occasionally encountering other people when we are outdoors.
You don’t need to be physically fit to work outdoors as the focus is on your relationship with the earth – it is not about fitness, but it is about slowing down enough to be in relationship with both yourself and the earth around and beneath you and seeing how this deeper connection facilitates personal and interpersonal change.
― Albert Einstein
My interest in the outdoors
I have always felt deeply connected to the outdoors having been brought up on a farm in rural Ireland. I have fostered this connection in recent years and, as a result, I now feel much more alive and connected into the world when I am outside.
Having trained as a counsellor and psychotherapist I worked indoors for many years with my clients but slowly became aware that I wanted to bring my own increasing connection with nature into the work with clients. Having personally experienced how my deepening connection with the natural world aids my own healing I now offer outdoor psychotherapy as an option to clients.
I also run a variety of outdoor workshops with my colleague and partner, Pam Winter. The focus in these events, which normally run for one or two days over a weekend, is developing our connection with the natural world and deepening our relationship with ourselves through that connection.
Below are a number of related websites you might find interesting:
Click here to visit ecopsychology.org.uk
Click here to visit greenspirit.org.uk
Click here to visit schumachercollege.org.uk
Click here to visit pollyhiggins.com