Discover frameworks and techniques to design and facilitate transformational change in a variety of outdoor environments and professional contexts.
Delivered over six-months through a mixture of group webinars and one-to-one online sessions, the course provides stand-alone learning that will get you started, or help you dig deeper.
It can also be combined with the Ecotherapy Practice residential course, which adds opportunities to directly experience and facilitate therapeutic outdoor processes yourself. Combining the two courses provides a comprehensive professional development process.
By the end of the course you will have:
- an overview of the various different ecotherapy approaches currently being offered internationally;
- made connections between personal, social and ecological issues and their roles in creating pathologies;
- understood some of the foundational theories underpinning this type of work;
- explored basic facilitation styles and techniques;
- discovered how to select conducive outdoor spaces to work in;
- understood how to create ‘safe space’ and boundaries outdoors;
- developed your own therapeutic contract for working outdoors;
- found strategies and techniques for self-care and supervision;
- reviewed some examples and case studies of therapeutic outdoor programmes;
- learned how to design your own programmes;
- explored issues around the confluence of ecotherapy practice, culture and indigene;
- developed your understanding of ethics and professionalism in ecotherapy practice;
- examined outdoor risk and how to manage it;
- gained an overview of the issues surrounding liability and insurance;
- found where to access resources and networks;
- worked out your next steps towards professional practice, or towards further enriching your existing practice.
For most people who work and play outside, it is obvious that time spent outdoors is therapeutic. Despite this, the idea that it might be offered as part of formal healthcare has struggled to take hold.
In the last five years however, the engagement of mainstream healthcare with outdoor approaches to therapy have exploded. In the UK for example, several programmes have been piloted to provide outdoor experiences by prescription. These have been extremely successful, outperforming conventional therapies and pharmacology in both health outcomes and cost efficiency.
But providing this kind of service is not easy. This is due mainly to the lack of people who can supply safe, professional and effective therapeutic outdoor experiences.
The course has been developed through over 20 years of international research, development, post-graduate teaching and hands-on professional practice. This includes the design and delivery of a government funded programme in the UK which offered therapeutic outdoor experiences by prescription.
The excellent health economics and proven efficacy of outdoor approaches to improving mental and physical health means that - without doubt - demand for practitioners will continue to increase. Given the scale of mental health and wellbeing issues globally, there is going to be an increased demand for professionals who can provide safe and effective outdoor therapies.
This course aims to help provide those professionals.
This course starts from the position that you cannot have healthy people on a sick planet. Ensuring our own health and that of the planet’s ecosystems are the same task. This reciprocal perspective is different to many others currently being offered, which tend to focus only on the benefits to humans of spending time outdoors.
Working with reciprocity, the course explores how outdoor experiences of nature can awaken us to our ecological reality. This is intrinsically healing because it reconnects us to a stable and clear sense of self, rooted in our own ecology. It also compels us to want to live sustainably, because we realise we are a fundamentally interdependent part of nature. Together these two realisations complete the therapeutic loop.
The course runs over six months. There are three, one-to-one tutorials and seven, 90 minute group webinars. Five of the webinars are based around a particular topic with two reserved for facilitated group discussion.
Session 1: One-to-one online tutorial (1 hr)
Session 2: Group online webinar - Context (1.5 hrs)
Session 3: Group online webinar - Theory (1.5 hrs)
Session 4: Group online webinar - Design (1.5 hrs)
Session 5: Group online webinar - Discussion (1.5 hrs)
Session 6: One-to-one online tutorial (1 hr)
Session 7: Group online webinar - Facilitation (1.5 hrs)
Session 8: Group online webinar - Professional Practice (1.5 hrs)
Session 9: Group online webinar - Discussion (1.5 hrs)
Session 10: One-to-one online tutorial (1 hr)
The course includes 13.5 hours of total contact time on a maximum 1:10 ratio including,
- 10.5 hours of live group webinars, recorded to watch-again;
- three hours of one-to-one contact time;
- access to a private online library of over 500 PDF downloads;
- a comprehensive online Course Guide;
- access to a private email group;
- CPD certification and;
- email support.
If you have access to professional practice opportunities, these can be integrated into your learning process. If you are yet to start practicing, then advice about gaining experience is offered.
You do not need to be a psychotherapist or counsellor to participate in this course. It is for anyone interested in working with the therapeutic potential of outdoor experiences - from urban parks to designated wilderness.
This includes healthcare practitioners, outdoor leaders, social workers, youth workers, rangers, conservationists and educators - as well as those interested in commissioning, or referring into, therapeutic outdoor programmes.
It is recommended that you bring around five years experience in some related form of professional practice - working with groups or one-to-one, indoors or out. However, each application is considered individually, so please do ask if you’re not sure.
- this course is for those seeking to work therapeutically outdoors and is not intended as a personal therapeutic intervention.
- it is likely that a basic level of outdoor leadership training, including outdoor first aid, will be required to work ethically and professionally outdoors, depending on the type of environment you want to work in. Please be aware that this course does not qualify you as a professional outdoor leader, which usually requires specialist training and assessment in your home nation.
The course is delivered entirely online so you will need a computer with reliable broadband internet access. You will also need Google and Zoom accounts.
Please note that it is very difficult to participate with only smartphone access and/or calling into Zoom calls from shared spaces or public environments.
Includes: 13.5 hours of contact time on a maximum 1:10 ratio, 3 hours of contact time on a one-to-one ratio, access to a private online library of over 500 PDF downloads, an online Course Guide, access to a private email group, a CPD certificate and email support and; GST in New Zealand.
Excludes: All information technology and equipment, internet costs and any hard-copy, full-text books that are referenced during the course. Additional one-to-one sessions can be purchased at addition cost, if required.
|Start Date:||6th September 2021|
|Format||Three one-to-one tutorials and seven 90 minute group webinars|
|Contact time:||13.5 hours|
|Approx. reading time:||36 hours|
|Location:||Online via Zoom and Google Drive|
|Certification:||A Continuing Professional Development Certificate for 50 hours can be issue upon course completion.|