What is Ecotherapy?

Ecotherapy, also known as nature therapy or green therapy, is the applied practice of the emergent field of ecopsychology, which was developed by Theodore Roszak.

Ecotherapy, in many cases, stems from the belief that people are part of the web of life and that our psyches are not isolated or separate from our environment

Ecotherapy Activities and Techniques

Some of the more common ecotherapy activities are described below:

Nature meditation:

This meditation takes place in a natural setting, such as a park, and is sometimes done as a group therapy. Members of the group may identify something in nature which attracts them and then spend a few minutes contemplating how this aspect of nature relates to them and what they can learn from it. For example, an elderly person struggling with feelings of worthlessness might develop greater self-respect after meditating on how the older trees in a forest provide shelter for birds and shade for younger plants.

Horticultural therapy:

The use of plants and garden-related activities can be used to promote well-being. Activities may include digging soil, planting seedlings, weeding garden beds, and trimming leaves. This type of intervention may be recommended in cases of stress, burnout, and substance abuse, as well as in cases of social isolation among the elderly.

Animal-assisted therapy:

In animal-assisted therapy, one or more animals is introduced into the healing process. Some studies have demonstrated that petting or playing with a dog, for example, reduces aggression and agitation in some populations.

Physical exercise in a natural environment:

This can include activities such as walking, jogging, cycling, or doing yoga in a park. These types of activities foster increased awareness of the natural world and are sometimes recommended for reducing stress, anxiety, depression, and anger.

Involvement in conservation activities:

The act of restoring or conserving the natural environment can assist in creating a sense of purpose and hopefulness. Since this activity is usually done in groups, it may also help foster a sense of belonging and connectedness while simultaneously improving one’s mood.

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