Gratitude for the solidity of the oak and soft moss on my cheek.
Gratitude for the solidity of the oak
and soft moss on my cheek.

Experiencing the magic and mystery of nature, the heightening of the senses, peace, relaxation and inspiration- are all part of ecotherapy. Ecotherapy is the therapeutic application of the 15 year old field of “Ecopsychology”. It has ancient roots in native people's belief and practice of interconnectedness to the earth and in the healing powers of nature. Its modern roots are in the interface of ecology and psychology. Ecotherapy explores one's relationship with the Earth, its plants and creatures as a therapeutic resource and an essential inquiry.

To enter the Ecotherapy Gallery, click here:

How is ECOTHERAPY different from psychotherapy?
An ecotherapist consciously values and includes aspects of nature and one's relationship with the physical world as vital aspects of therapy. Topics of discussion may include your thoughts, feelings and responses towards what is happening to the environment. We explore depression, stress, fear, and self esteem as being affected by our relationship with nature and our natural rhythms. I ask questions about significant childhood experiences in nature as well as present ones; what natural environment you feel most at home in; and if your natural human needs are being nourished by your daily lifestyle. A common belief is that we are essentially interconnected to all creatures, plant life, waters and people all over the planet. Ecotherapy is practiced in numerous ways including: psychotherapy methods practiced in an outdoor setting, animal therapy, horticultural therapy and wilderness experiences.

Enjoying the tickle of rain sprinkles on our faces and getting a  great back stretch
Enjoying the tickle of rain sprinkles on our
faces and getting a great back stretch.
Experiencing the embrace and deep tranquility of the redwood trunks.
Experiencing the embrace and deep
tranquility of the redwood trunks.

How is Ariana's ECOTHERAPY similar to psychotherapy?
I blend my 15 years experience of practicing psychotherapy with a 20 year spiritual practice of going into nature for inspiration, illumination and healing. Using intuition and discussion about what can best support your process, I incorporate techniques of Hakomi – experiential, mindfulness-based psychotherapy; somatic and movement-oriented practices; and expressive arts such as poetry and drawing. Through working together, we develop a relationship of trust and openness to follow what is most important for you. I offer ecotherapy sessions in a natural setting (typically in an Oakland hills park), actively drawing on the power of the trees, plants, and creatures of the forest to help inform the therapeutic work.

What does an individual session look like?
In my work, I do 1 or 1 & 1/2 hour sessions in the Oakland hills parks on a one time basis, a series of 4 - 8 times, or ongoing work. A combination of office work and outside sessions is also an option because of the weather or the containment needed with the issue. Each session is designed for your individual needs of the day and your long term goals. At the beginning, we make a conscious shift from our daily world pacing, to a more present awareness of ourselves and the natural environment. We do this with shifts in breath, mindfulness and becoming aware of our 5 senses to settle into the space. A theme of the day usually evolves which we explore with: walking or movement meditation, stillness, or directed questions and discussion. I may suggest becoming open to what you're drawn to in the surroundings to reveal answers, or using drawing, journaling, poetry or movement. As our work develops together, you will become attuned to using the natural world for healing, and become comfortable making this part of your daily life.


Who can benefit from ECOTHERAPY? -
• Anyone needing stress relief, or ways to slow down and find their natural rhythm
• Those hesitant to be outside alone in a park
• Anyone experiencing blues or depression
• Adults wanting to reconnect with positive childhood experiences in nature
Environmental activists looking to be inspired and nourished
Artists and creative folks looking for a “natural muse”

• People who work from home and would like a re-centering for the day
Mothers who need rejuvenating time for themselves

Experience Ecotherapy for yourself:

Individual and Relationship Ecotherapy sessions
in the Oakland hills, half price for the first session.
Call Ariana for any questions and to set up your time. 510 255-1141

Group workshops:
specifically designed for your: mothers or parents group,
woman's group, church group, or any other type of organization
for a rejuvenating or community building experience.
Call to discuss what you would like me to create for you. 510 255-1141

To enter the Ecotherapy Gallery, click here:


“...I felt at home again...wholeness and spaciousness which profoundly exceed the limits of sitting in an office for therapy.”
Sarah de Guzman, somatics student

“I feel grateful for this walk which reawakened my senses and connection with nature, and for the supportive guide who encouraged me along the way.”
Gail Koffman, journalist

“For me, expressing myself by moving consciously in nature was incredibly healing and calming. I am finding out ... how contact with nature can help to heal depression. Another gift of this work was the permission to concentrate on my own development and human essence. As a single mom, having a chance to do this was particularly valuable to me.”
Carol P., social worker

“Ariana’s nature outings are a treat! The beauty of nature, gentle movement, sweet bonding with a group, closeness to the spirit – that’s a combination you can’t beat. If you’re anything like me, once you’ve experienced an Ariana outing, you’ll never want to miss one.”
Emily Stoper, retired professor

“Ariana is an inspiring teacher who brings forth from mind, heart and body... the creative spirit within.”
Emily Ransom, retired play therapist

“With this seemingly hectic life, this weekly meeting allowed my soul to fully express itself... and helped me to the shores of freedom of inner strength and creativity that are so needed for my daily and life struggles.”
Eitan S., young father

“Through our exercises I am feeling more grounded, and more aware of strengths and resources that are available to me. The movement has eliminated my disconnection to my body and consequently I am able to live more fully and more comfortably in my body. I now draw on a regular basis to help me explore my feelings.”
Chase L.

For a personal experience of an ecotherapy session with Ariana, see the article: “Walking the Path to Spirit”.


Copyright 2010 by Ariana Candell, MFT, R-DMT
Website Design by Julia Stege of
Website Updates and Maintenance by Webdillo Design
Illustrations by Caroline Seckinger
Photography by Zach Pine




Home My Work Ecotherapy Articles ContactWorkshopsBackground
Clinical Ecotherapy Training
& Certificate Program 2014

Enliven your therapeutic practice with dynamic, clinical Ecotherapy skills.

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Enter Your Email for Updates
interviewed about
Ecotherapy on
KPFA 94.1
Listen now!
Ariana Candell, MFT, DTR