WHAT IS NATURE THERAPY?
Nature therapy is much more than just counseling in an outdoor setting. By being able to take our sessions to the ocean or amongst the trees, we are able to utilize nature as a form of co-therapist. With nature as the backdrop to our sessions, you will be able to choose the place you feel most comfortable and calm —as opposed to traditional office spaces. By walking in our sessions, you are able to reap the physiological benefits of light exercise that has been proven to enhance your mood and reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Feeling comfortable in your session is an important part of the process which allows you to be able to open up more and to trust in the therapeutic relationship. There are times in session where I will guide clients through interactions with nature that can be more beneficial than trying to visualize nature within an office setting. Being able to feel comfortable faster and interact with the ocean, sand, or animals around is what allows nature therapy to facilitate effective changes that can have you feeling better faster.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: How will we ‘interact’ with nature?
Interaction with nature can be through a guided exercise involving the 5 senses; sight, smell, taste, hearing or touch. The interactions are intended to calm you or to enhance your insight and to give you skills you can do on your own time as well.
Q: What about my confidentiality?
With this type of therapy, you must feel comfortable with talking in the proximity of others. Your confidentiality is important to me. If we happen to run into someone you know, I will never introduce myself as your therapist. If we run into someone I know, I will never acknowledge you as my client unless you give me consent. In Biarritz, people walk together and talk everyday on the beach and in our parks. There is no sign that says, “Hey! We are counseling over here!” If there is something specific that you would like to have more privacy to talk about, there are more private places we can go to do so.
Q: I’m only here on holiday but I want to continue counseling with you. Do you do distance counseling?
Yes, depending on where you live and your specific needs, I am available for video chat or over the phone counseling when you return home.
Q: What about the weather?
In Pays Basque, the weather changes rapidly. I see weather as something we can either be creative with and enjoy, or for you to decide if you don’t feel comfortable. Either way, there are solutions if this comes up.
Q: Where do we meet?
We will always meet and start our sessions at the doors of the Mairie in Biarritz (see the google map image on the contact page).
From the Mairie, you have the choice of where to have our journey take place; the Jardin Public amongst the trees, the Grande Plage along the sand and ocean, the hill near the aquarium, the choice is yours.
Q: How long are sessions?
Typical sessions are 60 minutes. If you would like to have more time, we can pre-arrange a longer session together.
Q: Can I bring my dog?
I would love for you to bring your dog, but it really depends. Will your dog be distracting to you or a comfort? If your dog is a comfort, we can walk a path that allows dogs.
Q: What do I need to wear?
Wear whatever you feel comfortable wearing. In Pays Basque, the weather can change quickly so I always recommend comfortable shoes and a rain jacket with a hood if there are clouds around.
WHAT DOES THE RESEARCH SAY?
“For the greatest payoff, in terms of efficiently lowering levels of the stress hormone cortisol, you should spend 20 to 30 minutes sitting or walking in a place that provides you with a sense of nature” (Hunter et al., 2019).”
“Two hours a week is key to wellbeing.” -SCIENCEDAILY.COM
Several studies suggest that a big benefit of forest therapy is the inhalation of various essential oils coming together, called ‘phytoncides.” The antibacterial and antifungal properties of the phytoncides improve the overall functioning of human immune systems.”
Studies show that people who spend more time outdoors rather than in front of a computer of phone screen had a reduced risk in developing near-sightedness (myopia). -Ivens, Sarah. FOREST THERAPY: Seasonal Ways to Embrace Nature for a Happier You. 2018, Piatkus, UK.