Ecotherapy practice

Working therapeutically outdoors

Mary-Jayne Rust and Dave Key

Please note that we are reorganizing this course and are leaving this on the website as
a guide to what is coming and so that you can support the development of our work by declaring your interest.

This course explores psychological, spiritual and practical aspects of working outdoors to facilitate personal and ecological healing. It is designed to help you develop the confidence to start working therapeutically in a variety of outdoor locations.

The learning process combines theoretical perspectives with practical skills. It is delivered through a combination of experiential activities, group work, talks and guided reading.

The course is split into three sections. A one-week residential programme will be followed by a series of six online seminars, leading to a second one-week residential. There will be a total of eight residential days and six, one-hour online sessions.

Week One:

  • Working with an ecological model of self;
  • personal practice;
  • nature, story and imagination;
  • nature as mirror and source;
  • responding to ecological crises;
  • nature and contemporary cultures.

 Six online sessions:

Online sessions will be in groups of up to eight people. Each group will have three sessions with each facilitator.

Sessions will explore some set readings but will also provide a place to share experiences and explore thoughts and feelings arising through ecotherapy practice.

 Week Two:

  • Programme design in practice;
  • creating a safe space outdoors;
  • bringing the rest of nature into the therapeutic relationship;
  • nature and indigeny;
  • safety and risk outdoors;
  • ethics, liability and insurance.


Who is the course for?

The course is for anyone who would like to facilitate ecological healing by working outdoors.

This includes psychotherapists, counsellors, group facilitators, coaches and other practitioners working in the healing professions who wish to explore what it means to work outdoors. It also includes those who already work outdoors for example, outdoor educators, rangers, conservationists, horticulturalists and youth and community workers who want to deepen the healing aspect of their work.

As a guideline, we recommend that you have at least three years experience in either a healing or outdoor profession to make the most of this course.

Whilst the course does not qualify you to be a therapist or outdoor leader in a traditional sense, it will help you understand aspects of these professions and how they can be combined. It will also offer insight and support to help you identify further training. Its main aim is not as a bench-mark for competency, but as a means to developing and deepening professional practise outdoors.

Every opportunity will be taken to work outdoors around the farm, in the wider East Erne area , on Sliabh Beagh /Slieve Beagh and on the shores of Lough Erne – as well as indoors where appropriate.

A CPD certificate for 60 hours of study can be provided on request.

To show your interest in this event and make it happen for yourself and/or others please either comment below  or go to this private registration of interest form I AM INTERESTED
– dates will be published later.


Contact Us

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4 thoughts on “Ecotherapy practice

    1. commongroundni Post author

      Hi Jenny – I’m glad that you are interested – will keep you posted.
      Thanks for visiting Common Ground. RB

  1. Patricia

    Our connection to earth is broken – but not lost. This project offers a wonderful opportunity to reconnect and revivify the link to our true origin and source.


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