Nature Therapy: Types and Benefits

Allan I. Fleming

Maurie Lung, PhD, was in second grade when she recognized what she wanted to do when she grew up.

“When I went absent to summer season camp, my little Strawberry Shortcake diary said, ‘When I improve up, I want to aid men and women in the outdoors,’” Lung suggests. And which is accurately what she does now.

Lung oversees the mother nature-dependent and journey-dependent counseling programs at Prescott University and is also a certified therapist and counselor who does mother nature-dependent and journey-dependent counseling for persons, couples, and people.

What Is Character Treatment?

Character treatment, also termed ecotherapy, is the practice of staying in mother nature to improve development and therapeutic, specifically psychological wellbeing. You could possibly also listen to it termed green treatment, green workout, green treatment, or horticulture treatment. Even though men and women use these terms to describe plenty of outdoor routines, they can also be illustrations of distinct mother nature treatment programs.

The which means of mother nature treatment can change from particular person to particular person, but in common, mother nature treatment includes:

  • A skilled, supportive specialist, like a therapist
  • A green atmosphere
  • Appreciating and checking out mother nature

Types of Character Treatment

Simply because mother nature treatment programs can contain numerous routines, there are various types of therapies. Some contain:

  • Adventure treatment. This takes advantage of routines that check out mother nature and can be completed in an specific or group placing. Rafting and rock climbing are excellent illustrations.
  • Animal-assisted interventions or treatment. Both of those of these solutions contain spending time with animals. Animal-assisted interventions use spots like farms where by you can pet or feed the animals. On the other hand, animal-assisted treatment focuses on making a therapeutic partnership with animals like pet dogs or homes.
  • Arts and crafts. Like the identify suggests, this kind combines imaginative crafts with mother nature. You could possibly use your imaginative competencies to paint in a green space, like a park or a forest. This kind also involves utilizing organic components like clay, grass, or wooden or utilizing green areas as inspiration for art.
  • Conservation. Conservation pairs safety areas in mother nature with physical workout.
  • Dark mother nature. Dark mother nature routines acquire spot at evening, so you could possibly practice stargazing, for instance.
  • Green workout. Here, you are going to do physical routines in green areas. That could be functioning, heading on a wander, or using a bike trip, for instance.
  • Therapeutic farming. With this kind, you are going to take part in farming routines, so you could possibly improve crops or acquire treatment of farm animals.
  • Therapeutic horticulture. This includes gardening, so you could possibly improve foods in group gardens. From time to time therapeutic horticulture leads to other routines, like selling home-grown crops at a farmer’s marketplace.
  • Wilderness treatment. This kind of treatment functions perfectly in a group. You are going to spend time in the wild executing routines like mountaineering or generating shelters.

How Does Character Treatment Assist?

Extra and extra analysis suggests that spending time in organic environments can be connected to psychological wellbeing positive aspects.

For instance, staying in a green space has been connected to significantly less stress, much less melancholy signs or symptoms, and lower pressure ranges. Spending time in mother nature assists men and women with melancholy and children with consideration complications feel extra clearly.

“One of the top rated positive aspects that we deal with are for men and women who are seeking to minimize stress or melancholy and boost partnership and relationship,” Lung suggests. “I also feel it is super engaging, so for children and young people … [and] for men and women who are hesitant to be in treatment.”

Patricia Hasbach, PhD, a certified specialist counselor and scientific psychotherapist, is a further expert in ecotherapy. She’s also co-director of the ecopsychology program at Lewis & Clark University.

Hasbach recalls 1 such particular person, a patient in a cardiac rehabilitation heart, who was hesitant about treatment.

“He was very nervous about talking with me and I suggested, ‘You want to just acquire a wander outdoors?’ And I just observed how his voice transformed,” Hasbach suggests. “He become extra calm … and that was my to start with ‘aha’ moment that there’s one thing listed here that I want to shell out consideration to.”


Researchers have analyzed nature’s therapeutic outcomes in a range of locations, like:

“[It’s about] noticing what is close to you and increasing our personal awareness of ourselves in relation to our world and atmosphere,” Lung suggests. “Just the symbiotic positive aspects of staying outdoors.”

Can Everyone Do Character Treatment?

Not everybody who does mother nature treatment has a psychological wellbeing condition. Everyone can reap the positive aspects of ecotherapy.

“I definitely run in my scientific practice on this plan that due to the fact we are mother nature, everyone can benefit from like ecotherapy into their function,” Hasbach suggests.

You can do mother nature treatment everywhere, whether you live in rural, suburban, or urban locations. For instance, Lung’s practice is in a quite urban region, but she frequently relies on county parks and close by shorelines.

Character treatment could possibly involve destinations like gardens, farms, forests, or parks. Ordinarily, mother nature treatment includes going through mother nature (like using a wander by means of the forest) or doing the job in mother nature (like gardening).


The total of physical exercise you are going to get in mother nature treatment is dependent on the particular person. Lung suggests she tailors the routines she incorporates into her practice dependent on the men and women she’s doing the job with.

“If I’m doing the job with a teenager and we’re doing the job on aggravation instances, then I could possibly be executing paddle boarding outdoors. But I could possibly not do paddle boarding if I’m doing the job with couples due to the fact it is a super individualistic exercise. In that situation, I could possibly do sailing due to the fact which is a cooperative exercise,” Lung suggests. “Nature-dependent interventions have the overall flexibility to be definitely clinically relevant.”

Character treatment can be paired with other solutions, like:

“Ecotherapy is 1 tool that you have to attract on to reinforce and deepen the function that you’re executing with your consumers or your sufferers,” Hasbach suggests.

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