Ecotherapy

How can Ecotherapy benefit you?

    You can:
  • Feel more calm and less stressed
  • Think more clearly and creatively, and be less stuck
  • Lighten your mood, and lessen depression
  • Feel rejuvenation from overwhelm and work exhaustion
  • Connect to deep sources of wisdom and strength
  • Heal from a traumatic experience in Nature
  • Experience ongoing inspiration for your day
  • Be more mindful and in the present moment
  • Relax to a slower natural rhythm

In recent studies at the University of Essex, 90% of people who participated in nature walks felt increased self esteem. Of those in the study who participated in outdoor activities, such as gardening, running and biking, 94% said it benefited their mental health in ways such as: lessening depression, tension, and anger; boosting a sense of achievement; and improving mood.

What parts of Nature are you drawn to for
comfort, power or wisdom?

The ocean, mountains, desert, gardens or animals?

I am a tree woman! I love to touch, hug, and gaze at trees whenever I can. I used to feel embarrassed about revealing my intimate connection with trees. However, in eight years of practicing Ecotherapy, I've discovered that most people just need an invitation or a little guidance to experience a satisfying connection with the natural world.

DO YOU WANT TO ENJOY THE MANY BENEFITS OF ECOTHERAPY?

Sign up here for FREE Ecotherapy tips, Earth poems and upcoming workshops.
PLUS receive a FREE CONSULTATION on how to experience Ecotherapy in your life right now.

Are you a Therapeutic Professional? Click here to learn how Ecotherapy can enhance your therapeutic practice.

What is Ecotherapy?

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 20 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.

 
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.

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.

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 20 years experience of practicing psychotherapy with a 25 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.

 

DO YOU WANT TO ENJOY THE MANY BENEFITS OF ECOTHERAPY?

Sign up here for FREE Ecotherapy tips, Earth poems and upcoming workshops.
PLUS receive a FREE CONSULTATION on how to experience Ecotherapy in your life right now.

Are you a Therapeutic Professional? Click here to learn how Ecotherapy can enhance your therapeutic practice.

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.

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:
Gallery

Testimonials

“...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 www.GraphicGirlz.com
Website Updates and Maintenance by Webdillo Design
Illustrations by Caroline Seckinger
Photography by Zach Pine

 

 

 

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Ariana
interviewed about
Ecotherapy on
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Ariana Candell, MFT, DTR