The role of Nature in nature-based therapy: a qualitative study of therapists’ perspectives. (2021)
Type of ContentTheses / Dissertations
Degree NameMaster of Counselling
PublisherUniversity of Canterbury
Time spent in natural environments is proven to have positive benefits for human well-being. Counsellors and psychotherapists have started to work outdoors to combine the healing powers of nature with more traditional therapeutic modalities. This research further explores the nature-based therapy model from the practitioner’s perspective in order to inform and develop understanding for practitioners connecting with the natural world as part of therapeutic services.
This research was conducted in Aotearoa New Zealand. Five practitioners trained in either counselling, psychotherapy or social work, working in one-on-one counselling contexts in nature were interviewed for this qualitative study using an Interpretive Description Methodology. The outdoor context for therapy mostly included local parks, the beach and small bush areas. Thematic analysis was used to examine the role that the natural environment plays in the therapeutic process.
The findings show four themes that emerged from the data. Beliefs about who or what nature is strongly influence the role nature plays in the therapy. Nature influences the relationship dynamic between the therapist and the client, is a direct support to the therapist and makes the therapy multi-dimensional. The therapeutic frame is discussed along with the value of taking therapy beyond words and importantly the influence of Māori approaches to nature therapy.
RightsAll Rights Reserved
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