We offer scientifically proven nature based therapeutic services, workshops, retreats and group adventures as part of our integrative approach.
Ecotherapy, also known as nature therapy, is a therapeutic practice that focuses on the belief that time spent in nature can have a positive impact on both the body and the mind. Recent studies have shown that experiences in natural settings (like a walk outside) can have a tremendous effect on individuals suffering from stress, anxiety and depression (as well as other mood disorders).
Ecotherapy is derived from ecopsychology — an area of study that integrates principles of psychology and ecology to examine the essential connections between humans and the natural world we live in. In ecotherapy we explore the healing potential of the natural world and work to deepen our sense of connected self and wellbeing within the world that sustains us. In ecotherapy we view the relationship between humans and the “other than human world” as essential for healing, balance, serenity and solid mental health.
Ecotherapy is a great fit if you:
- Are experiencing a major life transition
- Are trying to heal from trauma
- Have depression, anxiety or difficulty connecting in relationships
- Are experiencing chronic stress at home or work
- Know that nature is healing for you
- Would like to develop a stronger connection to the earth
- Are experiencing anxiety about environmental or political issues
- Would like to incorporate ritual, ceremony or rites of passage in your life
- Have tried traditional talk therapy with little success
- Have trouble opening up in a traditional office setting
Additionally, ecotherapy is effective in treating depression, anxiety and trauma related issues such as PTSD. Ecotherapy offers simple yet powerful techniques that can easily fit into your daily routine to help lift your mood and boost your energy. Receiving an outdoor ecotherapy session in a beautiful setting helps you access a calm, well-resourced state of being, which can allow for deeper healing than indoor psychotherapy.
“I do ecotherapy to get sunlight onto my skin and into my mind. It shines light through the dark fog of depression.”
Modern life is very hectic, and many of us feel completely overwhelmed. We often feel self-critical, ineffective and hopeless about ever being able to change our situation. Mindfully connecting with nature, even in the midst of a city, is one of the best ways to reduce stress and overwhelm and dramatically shift your mental and emotional state. Even just a few minutes can help you feel calmer and better able to address the often stressful tasks of daily life. –Adapted from Earthbody Institute
What to expect in an individual or group ecotherapy session:
Ecotherapy sessions take place in an outdoor setting in Jefferson County chosen carefully for confidentiality and natural beauty. Ecotherapy sessions are guided by a detailed assessment conducted by the therapist and by your needs and preferences. Sessions include customized interventions such as; somatic and body focused activities, mindfulness, ceremony and ritual, traditional talk therapy, nature connection and experiential/expressive exercises.
“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” –Albert Einstein
Jennifer Owens, LCSW is a certified ecotherapist and one of the leaders in this field in KY. She has trained with the Earthbody Institute, Mindful Ecotherapy Center, Animus Valley Institute and is currently a student at the Wildcraft Forest School. She is a Kentucky Master Naturalist and has a deep love for the rivers, mountains, forests and people of KY. She has encounterted some of the most powerful healing outdoors and has dedicated her career and life to the study and practice of ecotherapy and connecting people to nature for healing self and planet. She has presented at national ecopsychology conferences and continues to play an integral role in brining ecotherapy and nature connection to the southeast region of the country.
To schedule an individual ecotherapy session please call 502-694-9488 or email Jennifer. Individual ecotherapy sessions are typically 90 minutes and are $180 per session. Follow up sessions may be 50-60 minutes and are $120 per session. Ecotherapy groups and workshops are also available.
Shinrin Yoku (Japanese Forest Bathing)
Shinrin-yoku is a term that means “taking in the forest atmosphere” or “forest bathing.” It was developed in Japan during the 1980s and has become a cornerstone of preventive health care and healing in Japanese medicine. Researchers primarily in Japan and South Korea have established a robust body of scientific literature on the health benefits of spending time under the canopy of a living forest. Now their research is helping to establish shinrin-yoku and forest therapy throughout the world.
Some evidence based health benefits include:
- Lower blood pressure and heart rate
- Increased immune functioning
- Decreased depression and anxiety symptoms
- Increased sleep, energy levels and vitality
- Increased sense of connection, gratitude and wonder
- Decreased cortisol levels aiding in stress management
- Increased blood circulation, especially in areas of the brain that include focus
The idea is simple: if a person simply visits a natural area and walks in a relaxed way there are calming, rejuvenating and restorative benefits to be achieved. Forest therapy approaches such as Shinrin-yoku have roots in many cultures throughout history. John Muir wrote, “Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home. Wilderness is a necessity.” He is one of many people who we include when we think about the origins of the practice.
What to expect in a Forest Bathing Session:
During a forest bathing session you will be guided on a leisurely walk on gentle paths under the forest canopy with guided activities to help you open your senses, hone your intuition and experience the forest as you never have before. We draw upon mindfulness meditation practices and techniques of deep nature connection.
To schedule an Shirin Yoku session please call 502-694-9488 or email Jennifer. We offer this service for groups as well. Forest bathing sessions are typically 60 minutes and are $120 per session.
Wilderness and Adventure Therapy
Adventure therapy is a hands-on and outdoor-based form of psychotherapy that uses active and experiential approaches to helping clients. Adventure therapists use activity bases where they implement activities such as ropes courses, outdoor pursuits, wilderness skills and cooperative group games. They employ both real and perceived physical and psychological risks to clinically stimulate desired changes. They verbally engage their clients during activities to promote desired behavioral changes, such as through planning sessions and post-activity debriefings.
We offer wilderness and adventure therapy on an as needed basis based on clinical assessment and client need. We also offer customized adventure groups for organizations. Our wilderness and adventure therapy sessions are typically 90 minutes and are $200 per session (all equipment and fees provided). Call 502-694-9488 or email Jennifer for more information.
Walk and Talk Therapy
A growing body of research indicates that simply being outdoors in the presence of nature has positive effects on our physical and mental wellbeing. Some people also find it easier to say what is on their minds while walking. Outdoor therapy has the added benefit of increasing vitamin D levels, boosting serotonin, improving sleep, increasing focus, and improving physical health. Your therapist will most likely be willing to do a walking session around the office anytime for no additional fee, but we are also willing to meet established clients for trail walks or incorporate movement or mindfulness-based approaches according to your needs in a natural setting. Please contact your therapist directly if you’d like to arrange an off-site, outdoor session.
Many of our therapists offer walk and talk sessions.
Walk and talk sessions are $120 for a 60 minute session.