Part 1 : Earth (an excerpt)

As Nature Heals heads to the printers we will introduce some excerpts in anticipation of your book arriving….

Today is from the introduction to Part 1…

“As an evolving field, with many diverse expressions and manifestations, nature-based therapy has its roots through layers of human existence. The relationship with and custodianship of country in which both Indigenous Australia and New Zealand–Aotearoa (here on referred to as Aotearoa) are rich in respect and culture. Nature-based therapies are also influenced by Eastern traditions, where mindfulness, now so much a part of the therapeutic world, springs from.

Nature therapy, horticultural therapy, green therapy and eco-therapy are some of the various and interchangeable names used for activities that incorporate the use of plants, plant materials, natural spaces and gardening in health care. These disciplines work with a wide range of clients, including people living with a disability, mental illness, aged care, youth at risk, offenders and ex-offenders, those with eating disorders and people recovering from major injury or illness. The therapist’s skill is in imagining and designing activities appropriate for their group and location. Nature-based therapies are gaining momentum and being endorsed by an exciting and emerging research and evidence base. Anxiety and depression, so pervasive in western society, usher in an opportunity for skilled facilitators to bring nature back, reuniting it with our current urban severance from nature. In this book we track some of the ideas and work that has gone before: forerunners who helped to shape and mould this work, leading to an overview of where the current trends and opportunities lie for nature-based therapies. This is a fascinating and relatively modern integration into the more contemporary and established modes of western therapy. Some core frameworks of these modes are offered – some, like the person-centred approach, strengths-based, positive psychology and educational are widely accepted while some newer ones, such as deep ecology’s identification of the eco-self, are less familiar. Throughout the book we give some examples of the application of these therapies, ranging from earth school on urban beaches in Sydney to the wilds of the Aotearoa back country. There is a solid and established evidence base for nature-based therapies and a wave of current interest in their study. Such therapies validate an ancient intuition: that nature is good for us. This research inspires the ways in which these diverse theories are being applied currently, and the numerous therapeutic benefits being realised.”

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