Part 2 : Flourish (an excerpt)

Parrot and banksia - Roger

‘Flourish is a beautiful word. When someone is flourishing we sense it, as we do in a garden that is taken care of and is responding to that care. The conditions for flourishing are intentional, created with the presence of love. The components of a program of nature-based therapy, like nature herself, are intimately interconnected.

This brings complexities that naturally arise when working with people. Just as a bio-region is connected by patterns of water-flow (and sometimes dominated by this), so people are connected by invisible rivers of emotions that flow continuously between them. Knowing where water pools, empties and floods is essential to navigating and understanding the landscape. Indigenous cultures demonstrate how to find answers by listening and observing the Earth. For the therapist, an understanding of human nature – including our own – is a map that helps us navigate the most effective ways to use nature in the healing therapies.

Facilitation is an art – a form of social artistry that is constantly perfected but never perfect. Because people are always changing, this is a dynamic process, with safety and trust at its heart. We consider emerging and established bodies of theoretical frameworks, such as ecopsychology, to help us understand the process of nature-based therapy more deeply.

Programming is also an art, with the design process itself part of the therapuetic process. Involving our client base in this process can be integral to building positive relationships, where nature-based therapy is most effective, especially for the vulnerable people who often make up the client base for nature-based therapies. Cultural safety 
is also vital for all participants,where diversity is valued and respected throughout the whole process of achieving the aim of nature-based therapy: that of thriving and flourishing’.

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