Many moons ago whilst completing my Mindfulness-Based Psychotherapy M.A. on Dartmoor, I experienced myself in relationship with the whole Body, the whole biosphere of Moor; granite rocks, ice-cold streams, sky, soil, air, plants, trees, animals and insects. Initially I was shocked to realise that everything I was in relationship with was alive with its own voice and soulful intelligence, aware of my presence and communicating. This moment of being shown the living breathing Earthbody and my interwoven existence as, and with, this has creatively shaped the pathway of my work and orientation to life over the last 15 years. This Wholearth approach to psychotherapy is sometimes known as ecotherapy, or ecopsychology. The term Ecotherapy is the joining of the word 'eco' meaning home or habitat, 'ecology' referring to relationships, and 'therapy', meaning healing. Ecopsychology or ecopsychotherapy inquires at a deep level into our relationships with ourself, people, place and kin, our sense of belonging and isolation, and provides a common ground for exploring and healing our sense of separation.
Much of the suffering human beings experience comes from a sense of feeling separate or displaced; from life, body, relationships, Earth. What we call suffering appears in many forms; we may know it through; grief and loss, anxiety, fear, prejudice, discrimination, uncertainty, relationship challenges, trauma, serious illness or addictions. By sensitively turning towards the embodied felt-sense of our experience, in all its shades of ease and discomfort, we discover our habitual, often unconscious ways of being in the world. We can then make conscious choices about how we want to live now and what really matters.
As we cease trying to escape from, override, suppress, or over-analyse, what we call suffering, stress or trauma, our whole body starts to relax and re-orient to the inherent health and wisdom that is always present, and often concealed by our attachment to the layers of our history and conditioning. We are not a problem to be solved, we are the love we are looking for.
'You were born into beauty as beauty for Joyful life'
Pat McCabe (Woman Stands Shining)
I work in different locations around Oxfordshire near meadow, mound, trees and water with individuals and groups. For 1-1 therapy the initial session happens inside the therapy room where we discuss what brings you to psychotherapy at this time and what you are looking for. Subsequent sessions can happen outside in our broader nature throughout the year or inside the therapy room. Sessions can include walking, sitting, talking, exploring myth, story, dreams, movement and your relationship with places of significance and the land around you.
🌿 I run workshops and trainings for therapists and practitioners who want to explore an Embodied Approach to working therapeutically outside in our broader nature. Please see the Retreats and Workshops page or email me to discuss.
🌿 I work as a mentor to therapists and practitioners looking to explore, or deepen into a more Embodied Approach to working outside in our broader nature. These sessions happen 1-1 or in small groups.
🌿 Reflections on Ecotherapy from the Woods, Tariki Ecotherapy Conference May 2021, youtube
🌿 Further Ecotherapy resources - Ecotherapy Oxford
I am a UKCP registered Psychotherapist and Craniosacral Therapist, an experienced trainer, group facilitator and qualified teacher of adults.
Photo credit (top) Alex Limberg