Nature is Nurture: Counseling and the Natural World

Topic(s)

Webinar Presenters

Megan Delaney, PhD, LPC
Monmouth University
 
Megan Delaney, PhD, LPC is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Professional Counseling at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, New Jersey, USA. Her research explores the influence of natural world on our mental health and the use of Ecotherapy in clinical practice. Trained in outdoor education through the National Outdoor Leadership School, Dr. Delaney spent several years as a wilderness instructor with troubled teens. Today she infuses Ecotherapy in her private practice and in her counseling classroom. Dr. Delaney’s book, Nature is Nurture: Counseling and the Natural World is published with Oxford University Press. www.megandelaneyphd.com
Description
Humans have long interacted with the natural world, from foraging and hunting for food to more recently, finding solace and peace in a beautiful vista. Our connection to nature runs deep in our DNA, yet our modern world has humans indoors almost 93% of the day. There is growing evidence that being in nature provides a healing elixir for physical and mental ailments. Ecotherapy, a growing but lesser known construct in mental health, describes the reciprocal relationship humans have with nature and the capacity of that relationship to build strength and provide healing. This presentation provides an overview of the theoretical constructs of Ecotherapy with historical considerations and recent research discussed. Perspectives and reflections will be offered through the presenter’s own experience as a former wilderness therapist and current Eco-therapist/Counselor Educator. Examples of practical ways to incorporate Ecotherapy with children and adults, within school settings, in group work and with veteran populations will be provided. Descriptions of other Ecotherapy modalities will also be included, such as animal-assisted, equine, horticultural, forest bathing, green exercise and adventure-based therapy. To bring the content to life, the presenter will add case examples, reflections and experiences with nature as a partner in the therapeutic relationship.
 

The webinar will cover some of the following:

  • Introduce the connection of nature to mental health with an overview of the current research conducted on the connections between mental and physical health and the natural world.
  • Provide a summary of the evidence regarding the benefits and therapeutic power of developing a healthy, reciprocal relationship with the natural world.  
  • Discuss the theoretical concepts of Ecotherapy from the current literature and how it relates to individual, group and school counseling in diverse populations.
  • Outline and describe specific Ecotherapy techniques to use with each client-type and counseling medium (such as individual work, work with children, group work, school counseling) including examples. Ethnicity, culture, sexual orientation, gender, ability and age considerations will be considered throughout the presentation.
  • Provide resources for viewers to obtain additional information from reliable sources (books, articles, journals).