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.

Read How to become an ecotherapist” …


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.

Please note:

  • 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.

To make sure the course is right for you, enrolment is by application. If you would like to have a chat about the course before applying please do get in touch.

Start Date:6th September 2021
Duration:6 months
FormatThree one-to-one tutorials and seven 90 minute group webinars
Contact time:13.5 hours
Approx. reading time:36 hours
Group size:12
Location:Online via Zoom and Google Drive
Certification:A Continuing Professional Development Certificate for 50 hours can be issue upon course completion.

I heartily recommend David’s work to anyone wishing to deepen their understanding and experience within the broad purview of ecotherapy. The bespoke nature and pacing of the work, together with David’s extensive experience, strong companionship and challenge gives a blend of embodied practice with imagination and study, making for a profound synthesis and optimal conditions for deep change.

For me it was a tremendous vessel in which to simmer and steep, one that promoted the risky business of leaping, that served encountering the nobly camouflaged layers of self and led me to “be able to stand in the wreckage of what used to be (my) certainty” and have that be a flourishing of wild and previously unseen truths.

I recommend David, the man and his work, to anyone with heart enough to commit and head enough to set the compass.

Keith Hackwood
Organisation:Synthesis Wales

I am pleased that I decided to do this course with David. I got a lot out of the experience. I appreciated the open and flexible style of our sessions, and enjoyed the diversity of our valuable discussions.

David made me feel seen, heard, and supported throughout the journey. He is a true wealth of knowledge – and customised the course to meet my personal interests, by providing plenty of useful study resources.

Danielle Levy

I discovered Dave’s work when I was managing the film output for the World Wildlife Fund in the UK where he had been consulting on Natural Change. Nature Psychology seemed to me to be the solution to get us out of this natural mess – by turning toward environmental destruction, and building relationship with it, we start to move into recovery – what a radical and beautifully simple idea!

Dave’s course in ecopsychology was the beginning of my journey with this incredible work and I chose to make it almost entirely experiential – carrying out practices in nature that Dave ‘prescribed’. I learned a lot about myself, and this has ultimately meant I can deliver the material to other people with an understanding of how it really works.

I loved that the course was self governed – for me this meant I could go on my own exploration, and pull on the threads that interested me. It’s an excellent foundation, Dave is very attentive and flexible toward personal needs, it is less ‘teacher-student’ focused and more colloborative and supportive, which I I feel is exactly what is needed in this world. I would do the course again and again.

Janine Finlay
Organisation:Fin Films Ltd UK & The Good Nature Project

David is very knowledgeable and experienced and provided me with access to a wide variety of resources which we would then discuss within the sessions. Because they were individual sessions, David was able to tailor them to my interests and what I wanted to explore.

This is a very flexible course and very worthwhile.

Joanna Kitto
Organisation:Living Psychology

Dave’s course has given me permission to silence the white noise. It has helped me to sift out what matters. It’s pretty subtle. It’s liberating.

Emily Peel Yates
Organisation:Halcrow Group

When I contacted David, I had no idea where my interests would lead me! I loved his non-prescriptive approach, the flexibility and openness which allowed me to explore so many different strands of this fascinating topic.

I thoroughly enjoyed our sessions and found David to be an inspirational, enthusiastic and sensitive coach who focused on helping me identify my particular areas of interest and feeding my curiosity. I have only scratched the surface and I hope some day to expand my knowledge further and apply it even more to my work.

When that time comes, I know who to turn to.

Julie Gilbert-Binns

David has a brilliant way of guiding you on exactly the paths you want to traverse. He was able to help me follow my questions to new and interesting resources to learn from.

I work to connect children to nature in India and his course has helped me build language and structure around my work in order to better communicate with others around me.

I have also greatly benefited from his library. The resources available there would be very hard for me to find elsewhere.

Janani Eswar
Organisation:GRIN (Growing in Nature)

I have worked with Dave since 2014, firstly through the online Nature Psychology course and more recently by engaging with him as my coach. He has a richness of knowledge, wisdom and experience that I feel so lucky to be able to access – and my only wish is I had found him sooner.

His grounded, open and, I think, quite modest style heartens me greatly in a world where humility often seems scarce. I leave every session with Dave feeling energised, inspired, renewed and hopeful on this emergent journey of mine. To anyone who wants to understand what it really means to climb down from our human superiority and truly inhabit the world as nature intended – and lead others in doing so – I can’t recommend Dave enough.

Sandra Cunningham
Organisation:Walking Coach

Approaching the beach from the cliff top I had a feeling something profound was going to take place. And when I met Dave it started happening. In just 36 hours I had the best reset I could have imagined and 36-months later I am still enjoying its effects. If you’re reading this and wondering if it’s right for you, just get in touch with Dave and see where life takes you. It helped me and I loved it.

Steve Malkin
Organisation:Planet First

The course played a subtle but powerful part in deepening my commitment to a life of working for positive change. It opened windows in my thinking, and reinvigorated trust in working with intuition and metaphor that have since shaped my working path.

Tom Deacon
Organisation:Field Studies Council

The course has brought me a deeper awareness and ability to listen. This has enabled me to understand the broader impacts of my business and provided me with the skills to find different responses and action, rather than merely repeating past actions.

Richard Profit

A considerate, generous, and passionate coach – I am thankful to have had the opportunity to work with David!

Danielle Levy

Dave’s course was the beginning of my journey with this incredible work.

I learned a lot about myself, and this has ultimately meant I can work with other people with a much deeper understanding of change processes. I loved that the course was self governed – for me this meant I could go on my own exploration, and pull on the threads that interested me.

Dave is very attentive and flexible toward personal needs, it is less ‘teacher-student’ focused and more collaborative and supportive, which I feel is exactly what is needed in this world.

I would do the course again and again.

Janine Finlay
Organisation:Fin Films Ltd UK & The Good Nature Project