In recent years, a growing number of therapists and mental health professionals have been incorporating principles of sustainability and environmental awareness into their work with clients. This new approach, known as ecopsychology, is gaining momentum and helping individuals develop a deeper connection to nature and the environment.
Ecopsychology combines elements of psychology, ecology, and spirituality to promote well-being and environmental awareness. It recognizes that the health of the planet and the health of individuals are interconnected, and that the degradation of the environment can contribute to psychological distress.
One example of this approach is the work being done by the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy, based in California. They have developed a unique form of therapy known as Forest Therapy, which involves immersing oneself in nature to promote healing and connection with the natural world.
Forest Therapy involves guided walks through forests, during which participants engage in sensory exercises and mindfulness practices designed to help them connect with nature on a deeper level. Research has shown that this practice can reduce stress, improve mood, and boost immune function.
The practice of Forest Therapy is not limited to California, but is now being implemented worldwide, including in Norway and Japan, where it is known as "Shinrin-yoku". This therapy method is gaining popularity due to its accessibility and effectiveness in improving mental health and overall well-being.
The emerging field of ecopsychology is a powerful tool in promoting sustainable living and environmental awareness. By encouraging individuals to connect with the natural world and fostering a sense of stewardship for the environment, it has the potential to create positive changes both for individuals and the planet as a whole.
The American Horticultural Therapy Association (AHTA) is a nonprofit organization founded in 1973 that promotes the use of horticultural therapy as a therapeutic practice. The association is based in the United States but has members and partnerships with organizations across the world.
AHTA defines horticultural therapy as the "engagement of a person in gardening and plant-based activities, facilitated by a trained therapist, to achieve specific therapeutic treatment goals." The goal of horticultural therapy is to improve physical, cognitive, emotional, and social well-being.
AHTA offers educational programs, research opportunities, and networking events for its members. The association also provides resources for healthcare professionals and the public to learn more about the benefits of horticultural therapy.
The AHTA is committed to promoting sustainable and ethical practices in horticultural therapy. The association encourages the use of organic gardening methods, the conservation of natural resources, and the incorporation of environmentally-friendly practices into horticultural therapy programs.
Overall, the AHTA plays an important role in promoting the use of horticultural therapy as a sustainable and effective therapy method that can benefit individuals and the environment.
The Association for Ecopsychology and Nature Therapy is a significant contributor to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 3 on Good Health and Well-being, SDG 4 on Quality Education, and SDG 13 on Climate Action. By promoting the use of sustainable therapy methods that integrate nature into mental health and well-being, the association is supporting the development of more holistic and nature-based approaches to healthcare. Such methods not only have the potential to improve individual well-being but also to foster a greater appreciation and respect for the environment. As more people become aware of the benefits of ecopsychology and nature therapy, it can help to build a more sustainable and resilient society, ultimately contributing to the achievement of the SDGs.
More information: https://www.ahta.org