Psychotherapy, The Wild Atlantic Way

Joanne Hanrahan

Integrating Nature into Psychotherapy

The research I completed for my Master’s thesis was on the integration of Nature into Psychotherapy practice.  The benefits of nature to our physical, emotional, cognitive and spiritual well-being have long been established and have recently been incorporated into mainstream medicine through the 'Green Prescription' and the 'Woodlands for Health' programmes. According to the HSE, the Green Prescription is based on the fact that activity in nature results in positive outcomes for both physical and mental health. The integration of Nature into Psychotherapy is a relatively new and exciting development.  My approach to Nature/Eco Therapy is influenced by my Psychotherapy training, my training in Outdoor Psychotherapy, my MSc. research and the growing body of international studies and literature on Nature Therapy, Nature Based Rehabilitation, Walk & Talk  Therapy, and Eco Therapy.  

Nature may occasionally be integrated into your therapy through encouraging you to engage with nature in a mindful way between sessions, through the use of natural materials in the therapy room, by fostering the benefits of a room with a view and where appropriate to your individual needs, by taking therapy sessions outdoors.  This may not suit everyone so only occurs if you are interested in engaging in this process and after discussion.

Nature Therapy Resources

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Article written for Inside Out, The Irish Journal for Humanistic & Integrative Psychotherapy

Article ‘Did you hear the birds? In this wind they’re still singing!’ Outdoor psychotherapy - A trauma informed perspective.

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MSc. Thesis

Dublin City University 2015

Full Thesis: ‘Come Away O Human Child to the Waters and the Wild’: A Qualitative Study into the Role Nature can Play in Psychotherapy

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IAHIP Conference Booklet 2016

Thesis Summary

Paper: ‘Come Away O Human Child to the Waters and the Wild’: A Qualitative Study into the Role Nature can Play in Psychotherapy.

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CONFER Conference Summary & Reading List 2018 

Reading List: ‘It’s not just a walk in the park’. A research based perspective and emerging model on integrating Nature into Psychotherapeutic Practice.

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The earth has music for those who will listen” 

                                                          - George Santayana