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Ecotherapy in a Nutshell

Ecotherapy activity

The beneficial connection between our well-being and nature is well-known to everyone.

Ecotherapy is a broad term that includes various outdoor activities that promote mental and physical well-being. Gardening, working out outdoors, and walking in the park or along the beach immediately impact our mood. Also, spending time outdoors improves our immune system and sleep patterns, reducing the chance of future high blood pressure, diabetes, heart, and other aging-related conditions.

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.

Albert Einstein

The two main categories are active and passive ecotherapy

Active ecotherapy

Active ecotherapy includes activities purposely engaging with the environment. Active ecotherapy aims to improve the connection with nature by taking care of and protecting it and helping individuals take responsibility for their environment.

Active ecotherapy example:

  • Pet-therapy (taking care of animals)

  • Gardening

  • Social farming projects

  • Cleaning parks

  • Cleaning beaches


The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.

Robert Swan

Passive ecotherapy

In passive ecotherapy, nature does the job. Individuals have become increasingly disconnected from nature with the increment of urbanization. The goal is to improve individuals' well-being and help them experience themselves as part of a wider whole.

Passive ecotherapy examples:

  • Walking in nature

  • Sitting in a natural environment (beach, park, it's your choice)

  • Hugging trees (yes, it's a thing)

  • Exercise outdoor

  • Birdwatching

And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and my soul.

John Muir

How are ecotherapy and counselling related?

A counsellor practising ecotherapy uses contact with nature combined with mental health therapy. This can be done in individual or group settings. This combination increases positive outcomes for mental health-related issues like:

  • Depression

  • Anxiety

  • Stress

  • Self-esteem

  • Impulse control

  • Social behaviour

outdoor yoga activity

Ecotherapy adds several options to traditional therapies, yoga and mindfulness practised outdoors are becoming increasingly popular.

The holistic vision of the basic individual needs and harmony with nature and the environment to achieve mental health is shared by ecotherapy and counselling.

This vision led naturally to the fusion of ecotherapy and counselling, resulting in new therapeutic methods, such as Walk & Talk Therapy or Therapy in the Park, group therapy, animal-assisted therapy and others.

Group ecotherapy activities led by trained professionals promote positive social behaviour and reduce the sense of loneliness and social exclusion.

Sometimes, the most productive thing that you can do is to step outside

and do nothing... relax and enjoy nature.

Melanie Charlene

Can I practice ecotherapy on my own?

Yes, there are many indoor and outdoor activities to promote your relationship with nature. 

  • Grow plants indoors, on your balcony or in your garden

  • Set up a green corner in your home with plants and materials gathered outdoor

  • Create nature-based art

  • Listen to natural sounds like waves, forest, rain or birds

  • Practise birdwatching

  • Sit under a tree in silence

Tools used in ecotherapy settings:

  • Mindfulness

  • Meditation

  • Sense of place

  • Awareness

  • Gratitude

  • Relaxation techniques

  • Observation and respect

outdoor painting

Look at a tree, a flower, a plant. Let your awareness rest upon it.

How still they are, how deeply rooted in Being.

Allow nature to teach you stillness.

Eckhart Tolle

At Build Your Safe Space, we provide Walk & Talk Therapy or Therapy in the Park as part of our Ecotherapy program. We aim to combine the benefits of counselling sessions and ecotherapy to help you reconnect with yourself.

The session can be postponed or moved online if the weather does not play favourably.

When the power of nature is not enough and extra help is needed, remind yourself to reach out to a trusted friend or family member.

If you need help overcoming a difficult time and feel you don't have someone you can talk to, reach out: contact a helpline, a support group, or a professional. Your GP or a counsellor can make a difference in your wellbeing. 

Build Your Safe Space offers two types of Ecotherapy services: Walk and Talk Therapy and Therapy in the Park; both are practised outdoors. If the weather doesn't play along, the session can be postponed or moved to a face-to-face session.

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