Ecotherapy can be thought of as psychological healing with a conscious connection to nature in mind. While the explicit focus of Ecotherapy in our practice is human healing through nature connection, what also happens is that when we are healed by nature, we are then more able and motivated to return the healing back to nature. Ecotherapy is a reciprocal healing between human and more than human nature.
Our Eco-Psychotherapists are passionate about connecting clients and the larger community to creative nature-focused methods for healing whether its through individual psychotherapy, nature based wellness events and classes or through ecotherapy training for therapists. Continue reading to learn more about our specific Ecotherapy offerings.
Individual ecotherapy sessions at The Therapy Garden are still delivered through a psychotherapeutic modality. The only difference is that we are brining nature into the forefront of our approach to your psychological healing. Land-based ecotherapy sessions can take place in various land based locations, including in our backyard garden at 100 Coulee Shore Drive, at the Acadiana Park Nature Station Forest, or in local parks around Lafayette. For sessions taking place outside of The Therapy Garden's property, a full office based intake to determine client appropriateness for this type of setting must be completed; clinical appropriateness for off site sessions will be determined by your ecotherapist. Outdoor sessions can be incorporated into more formalized therapies such as EMDR, or can occur as the primary location and duration of sessions, weather permitting.
During the summer, backyard ecotherapy sessions on site at 100 Coulee Shore Drive have a view of blooming wildflowers
Nature mandalas can be incorporated into backyard ecotherapy sessions as a means for symbolic processing
Acadiana Park Nature station's forest is one of our favorite off site locations for Ecotherapy sessions. Connection to trees, birdsong and forest smells are often a focus
Ecotherapy Wellness Events
Ecotherapy wellness events are open to clients and to the larger community. These events are not a replacement psychotherapy or healthcare, but are often described as feeling very therapeutic to attendees on a mind, body and spirit level. We host ecotherapy events in our office backyard and at the Acadiana Park Nature Station. Events range from trauma-informed yoga classes, sound healing classes, mind-body wellness retreats, and mindfulness meditations. We keep all current ecotherapy events updated on our events page.
Backyard Trauma-Informed Gentle Yoga at our Coulee Shore Drive location
Acadiana Park Nature Station's Canopy Room is where many of our wellness retreats and yoga events are held
Forest Bathing/Shinrin-Yoku events focusing on mindful connection to the forest environment
Clinical Ecotherapy Training
6 week Clinical Ecotherapy trainings are offered twice yearly by Ecotherapists Kathryn Dietzway, LCSW and Grace Bailey, LMSW. These trainings are live and take place virtually. Participants gain tools and skills that provide a foundation for practicing ecotherapy in their practice, with a priority on ethics, liability and scope of practice, in addition to the clinical/therapeutic side of ecotherapy.
1-3 hour brief introductory ecotherapy trainings are also offered 1-2 times per year by Kathryn Dietzway, LCSW. These intro courses provide an overview of the field of ecotherapy, but do not connect clinicians to the necessary range of tools for practicing land based ecotherapy ethically. In order to remain within your scope of practice, it is advised you take a more comprehensive ecotherapy training, whether through our practice or another training program such as Earth Body Institute.
For information on upcoming ecotherapy trainings, visit our events page. If you do not see a training on the website, please check back at a later date.
Shinrin-Yoku/Forest Bathing Nature Trail
In November of 2021, The Therapy Garden's owners Kathryn and David Dietzway collaborated with the Acadiana Park Nature Station to bring a self-guided. mindfulness focused Shinrin-Yoku nature trail to Lafayette. Kathryn and David were inspired to create this trail experience in Lafayette after visiting the Santa Elana Cloud Forest Reserve's Shinri-yoku trail in Costa Rica during summer 2021.
Shinrin-Yoku is a Japanese term translating in English to mean "Forest Bathing", or bathing in the Forest environment. Forest Bathing involves disconnecting from Doing and focusing solely on Being, through connecting mindfully and consciously to the sensory environment of the Forest. Research shows various psychological and physiological benefits to connecting with Forest environments. Additionally, research shows that when humans have a more conscious relationship to nature, we are more motivated to return healing to Earth.
The trail can be found on the Moonseed Loop side of the Acadiana Park Nature Station's trail system and can be accessed by crossing the bridge over the coulee from the nature station side. The trail consists of 10 mindfulness focused nature invitations that help the forest bather to cultivate a curiosity, presence and relationship with nature. The mindfulness prompts were written by Eco-Psychotherapist, Kathryn Dietzway, LCSW. For more on the story of how this trail came to be, check out our website blog page.
Ecotherapy Program Directors
Director: Kathryn Dietzway, LCSW
Co-Director: Grace Bailey, LMSW, RYT 200