Happiful Issue 63

Page 66

How can nature therapy surprise you?

when done side by side, rather than when facing one another. If speaking face-to-face is something that might concern or intimidate you, nature therapy could be a good avenue to explore to help you feel more comfortable. Therapy outdoors also encourages natural and social interactions, and a feeling of ‘connection’ with the wider world. This reconnection reminds us humans that we really are all part of the ecosystems around us, rather than separate from them. Plus, in a very literal sense, the act of standing upright, and putting one foot in front of the 66 | Issue 63 | happiful.com

other, is the most positive and primal way of stepping out on the path towards self-discovery and fulfilment. Both the body and mind are inextricably linked, so to move forward physically can also metaphorically help one mentally. To be able to combine these two processes can help further the progress. This is particularly the case when we feel ‘stuck’, or that we have little control over our personal situation. In these instances, this form of therapy can often bring an added sense of freedom over conventional therapy in an indoor space.

Many surprising experiences may well come up from being out in nature with the therapist. When we find ourselves surrounded by, or viewing, something amazing, beautiful, wonderful, and/or profound, we may discover that this experience becomes ‘awe-inspiring’. Additionally, the natural world has the ability to help us connect more deeply to our true selves, and can become an important third partner in the therapeutic relationship shared. These surprising benefits were seen in research from Jonathan Haidt and Dacher Keltner, who found that when people experienced ‘awe’ they had increased feelings of connection, and felt more willing to help others. They wrote: “Aweinducing events may be one of the fastest and most powerful methods of personal change and growth.” I hope that having read this, you can begin to envisage a different kind of therapy session – one which combines the mind, body, soul, and nature, to soothe, heal, and grow.

Michelle Wakerell is a counsellor, psychotherapist, and hypnotherapist. Find out more and get in touch via hypnotherapy-directory.org.uk

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