Nature Heals provides a truly heartening sign of a healthy, thriving “ecosystem” of therapeutic programs, deeply affirming of and to our humanity. Mapping a sample of the vital and growing variety of opportunities for people to engage in the healing and integration of the whole self, that Nature-based Therapy provides. Exploring the context together with the multi-disciplinary skills required for practitioners to effectively and compassionately connect people with nature.
Nature Heals shares stories and examples of Nature-based therapies in Australia and New Zealand. From the remote Kimberley region with inmates growing and preparing food to youth at risk in forests and waterways of Aotearoa/NZ. Nature is facilitated as healer for:
- people recovering from post traumatic stress disorder
- incorporated into programs for eating disorders in mental health clinics
- community gardens
- people living with a disability caring for plants and experiencing animal assisted therapy
- as rehabilitation in hospitals; to immersion in the beauty of flower farms and into dementia specific gardens and more.
All stories that inspire. We warmly acknowledge each and every one who has generously contributed examples of their valuable work. This book is ‘meant to get dirty’ … take it with you into the outdoors … anyone interested in health, gardens and nature will relish their journey through ‘Nature Heals’.
Authors : Virginia Field, Karen Gray and Kerryn Coombs-Valeontis
“Just like life, gardening brings us joys, surprises, disappointments, and challenges. We sow seeds and we pull out weeds but horticultural therapy is much more than that. Through taking part in the gardening activities we connect with nature and with people and draw our own symbolic connections. We think and feel through the plants and the natural world.” Anna (participant)
“We all (no matter how far removed our lives are from the soil, the seasons and its produce) have some primitive, species-spanning “memory” of cultivation, and by implication horticulture and gardening. We can literally dig up the gardener inside, and in doing so, re calibrate ourselves … “back” to a way of being…” Jeanine Wardman ( NZ flower farmer)