A six-month course delivered online through a mixture of group and one-to-one tutorials.
This course introduces the basic skills and knowledge to equip you to design and facilitate therapeutic outdoor experiences.
Based on working both with groups or one-to-one, the course explores a variety of environments and professional contexts. It offers theoretical frameworks supported by extensive research and a pragmatic approach to programme design and facilitation.
By the end of the course you will:
- have an overview of the various different nature-based therapeutic approaches currently being offered internationally;
- understand some of the foundational theories underpinning this type of work;
- experience a selection of therapeutic outdoor practices and activities;
- explore appropriate facilitation styles and techniques;
- make connections between personal, social and ecological issues and their roles in creating pathologies;
- gain insights into complex relationship dynamics and how they are influenced by being outdoors;
- explore how to select conducive natural spaces to work in;
- understand how to create ‘safe space’ and boundaries outdoors;
- develop your own therapeutic contract for working outdoors;
- find strategies and techniques for self-care and supervision;
- review examples and case studies of therapeutic outdoor programmes;
- learn how to design your own programmes;
- explore issues around the confluence of nature, culture and indigene;
- develop your understanding of ethics and professionalism in nature-based practice;
- examine outdoor risk and how to manage it;
- gain an overview of the issues surrounding liability and insurance;
- find where to access resources and networks;
- work out your next steps towards professional practice, or towards further enriching your existing practice.
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 UK-based programme which offered therapeutic experiences of nature by prescription.
For most people who work and play outdoors, it is obvious that time spent in nature is therapeutic. Despite this, the idea that time outdoors might be offered as part of formal healthcare has struggled to take hold.
However, during the last five years the engagement of mainstream healthcare with outdoor approaches to therapy have exploded. In the UK for example, several programmes have been piloted to provide outdoors experiences by prescription. These have been extremely successful, leading to results that outperform conventional therapies and pharmacology in both health outcomes and cost efficiency. They are now being ‘rolled-out’ to whole regions.
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 experiences of nature.
The positive health economics and proven efficacy of nature-based approaches to mental and physical health challenges 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 nature-based 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 is different to many other approaches to outdoor therapy currently being offered, which tend to focus only on the benefits to humans of spending time outdoors.
The course runs over six months. It starts and finishes with a one-to-one tutorial. In-between these are six, 90 minute group webinars with a maximum of 10 people, plus an additional floating one-to-one tutorial.
In total the course provides 12 hours of contact time plus self-guided study of approximately 30 hours.
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.
All group webinars are recorded so you can listen again or catch-up if you missed one. One-to-one sessions can be recorded on request.
You do not need to be a psychotherapist or counsellor to attend this course. It is for anyone interested in working with the therapeutic potential of nature - 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 nature 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 in nature and is not intended as a personal therapeutic intervention.
- it is likely that a basic level of outdoor leadership training 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.
Includes: 9 hours of contact time on a maximum 1:10 ratio, 3 hours of contact time on a 1:1 ratio, access to a private online library of over 500 PDF downloads, a reading guide and other learning resources, a CPD certificate and email support.
Excludes: All information technology and equipment, internet costs and any hard-copy, full-text books that are referenced during the course.
|Start Date:||6th January 2021|
|Contact time:||12 hours|
|Approx. reading time:||36 hours|
|Location:||Online via Zoom and Google Drive|
|Certification:||A Continuing Professional Development Certificate for your final number of hours can be issue upon course completion.|