Wild Therapy: An ecopsychology training at Ecodharma in Catalunya, Spain

Kamalamani supported by Justin Roughley

Date: 05/05/2018 - 13/05/2018
6:00 pm

About this event

Wild therapy has grown from the emerging field of ecopsychology, with its roots in Embodied-Relational therapy, a form of body psychotherapy originated by Nick Totton and Em Edmondson in the early 1990s.

Ecopsychology practitioners come from a range of backgrounds: wilderness guides, horticulturists, psychotherapists, through to environmental artists, film-makers and photographers, amongst others. What they share is an interest in exploring and healing the relationship between human and other-than-human life or ‘nature’, as we call it.

Ecopsychologists work at the interface of ecology and psychology. They explore how our psychology and psychological practices contribute to understanding and addressing the ecological crises we face. They claim that psychological and therapeutic practices need to include a greater understanding of ecology and the environment – an earth perspective rather than an unquestioned human perspective in the anthropocentric times we are in.

Therapy conventionally takes place within four walls, frequently in an urban setting, often in a neutrally-decorated room. Wild therapy takes place closer to nature – working outdoors in the elements, as well as outdoors in spaces like yurts and barns. It is concerned with the polarised themes of wildness and domestication which run throughout human history and culture. It makes the point that mainstream psychotherapy and counselling, like other professions, have become increasingly over-identified with domestication and associated concepts such as boundaries, objectivity and control. It seeks to rebalance therapy – and in the long run, human culture – re-inviting wildness, spontaneity, playful wisdom, boundlessness and passion.

In this training we take therapy outdoors, encountering the other-than-human and the more-than-human: animals, birds, plants, trees, hills, rocks, rivers, insects, winds, dreams, ghosts, and ancestral spirits. Spending time ‘in nature’ can help us appreciate that we are never anywhere else, always inhabiting and encountering our own nature in all its wondrousness. An important part of the therapeutic relationship and ‘container’ as it is sometimes known, is being witnessed by the therapist in our realisations and transformations. In Wild therapy the witnesses extend to the many other-than-humans species we meet doing the work, framed by earth below and sky above.

We then bring the outdoors back indoors, allowing it to reshape our therapeutic practice and group process in sometimes unexpected ways. This movement between the inside and out can echo our constant movement between inner and outer experience, bridging between ourselves and others in how present we are in our bodies, and in how we communicate and relate. Creating community for the time we are together is a vital aspect of Wild therapy: cooking, eating, working, and hanging out together are all part of the practise of exploring our own wild and tamer edges and the parts of us which have become domesticated.

In the course of this week we will:

  • Engage in Wild therapy through solo, small and whole group work
  • Use process-oriented approaches in deepening our communication and connections with ourselves, the other-than-human world, and each another
  • Practice simple meditations. The invitation of these will be to gather our energies so we are able to be as present and as resourced as possible, learn mindfulness tools, develop emotional resilience and to notice what is emerging at the liminal periphery of our experience
  • Have the chance to tell our ‘earth story’, perhaps marked by a co-created ceremony
  • Pay attention to our process of embodying as a way of understanding dynamics which have shaped us (family, society, culture), our styles of being and relating, and contacting our dreaming body
  • Learn practices which bring fresh ideas and support to our nature-based practice or practice of the wild, both alone and with clients, for example, the process of ‘soft fascination’ as named by Kaplan and Kaplan
  • Become more familiar with life in all its forms in the wildness of Ecodharma’s valley; taking time to appreciate its particular history
  • Have space to notice the constant flux of life both within us and in the weather, seasons, and moods between us

This week will support participants to:

  • Develop a deeper understanding of ecopsychology practices; experientially and theoretically
  • Establish or deepen their nature-based practice or practice of the wild
  • Deepen their reflection practice, developing resources to support emotional resilience, sensitivity, courage and new insights in work and life
  • Co-create and experience living in community based on ecopsychological ideas
  • Pay attention to the need for their own re-wilding and supporting that in others and the wider world
  • Realise even more fully the political significance of qualities of wildness, spontaneity, playful wisdom, boundlessness and passion in resistance and taking action
  • Reflect on notions of selfhood from both a dharmic and ecopsychological perspective and plan accordingly in what this means for the shaping of our work and life as we return home

Who is this aimed at?
This week is suitable for those who are either trainee or practising therapists and those who are interested in therapy and nature-based approaches, particularly in how it can be resourcing and supportive in working one to one, as well as within other movements and groups. It is also suitable for those who have a strong nature connection and who enjoy meditating in peaceful surroundings.

Abella de la Conca
Provincia de Lleida


Contact Details
Contact Person: Ecodharma
Email: events@ecodharma.com
More contact details: https://www.kamalamani.co.uk/contact
Website: http://www.ecodharma.com/courses-events/2018/05/05/wild-therapy-an-ecopsychology-training

Suggested donation: €300/€600/€800