The experience of being, breathing, and moving in the natural world - developing pathways for understanding and transforming our inner world.
Therapy in the Natural Environment
My work with clients in the outdoors connects psychotherapeutic ideas with research from environmental psychology and ecopsychology, which focus on our interaction with our environment. I also give attention to the body in outdoor psychotherapy, incorporating the body work ideas of Merete Holm Brantbjerg (Relational Trauma Therapy) and those of Sandra Reeve from her Move into Life practice.
Originally my interest in outdoor psychotherapy developed from an experience as a participant on a Wilderness Immersion trip on Skye in 2007. Since then I have (along with my late colleague Martin Jordan), developed a pioneering psychotherapeutic approach incorporating the natural environment.
You came out of it, like a wave from the ocean.
You are not a stranger here.'
My Outdoor Therapeutic Space
As I am based in the Peak District, I see individuals for ongoing weekly psychotherapy in a nearby area of access land on the outskirts of Buxton town (see photograph above) This piece of land offers a good deal of variety for the work, including a large mixed woodland; the possibility to walk up onto the 'edge' to gain far reaching views across the landscape; several large streams and waterfalls; ponds and a small nature reserve; and some open moorland.
Although there is public access here, it is not over-run with people, and there are ample opportunities to get off the track in order to walk and sit in more private spaces.
How I work
I work outdoors with individuals for the therapy hour, or for longer sessions by negotiation. The therapy can take the form of simply walking and talking and/or using more focused awareness exercises. We may decide to sit in a particular spot for the entire therapy or vary our route a little from session to session. There is potential for a great deal of flexibility here, governed by client preference and weather!
However, all the traditional boundaries for effective psychotherapy will still apply, including a mutually agreed focus for our work and agreements concerning confidentiality. The latter, particularly important, as we may occasionally encounter other people whilst outside.
If you are interested in outdoor therapy I will usually have brief conversation with you on the phone first. If it seems like this way of working would be suitable for you, we will then agree a time for an initial assessment session outdoors at my outdoor therapy space. This will be an opportunity for you to meet me, meet the 'place' and to talk about what brings you to therapy. It will also give you a better sense of what therapy outdoors with me may offer you. If we are both happy at this point we will then agree on further times to meet.
My charge for outdoor therapy sessions is currently £60 for the hour.