Research consistently finds that the single biggest contributor to growth and healing in a therapeutic context is the relationship between therapist and client. This relationship is proven to be more important than anything else–modalities, techniques, skills taught, presenting problem, assignments outside of therapy, therapist’s age, etc.
That fact is one of the things I love about ecotherapy/nature based therapy. In ecotherapy, we have techniques and skills and homework (only if you want it) and all that stuff. And off course, we have the relationship between therapist and client and that is vital and where it starts. But we have so many more possibilities for relationship. I’ve had clients form a deep connection with a stone, one that grounds them and offers them strength during therapy and beyond. I’ve had clients connect to wind, learning to notice and appreciate all the different ways it moves around and through. Here in Maine, we are lucky to be able to witness and immerse ourselves in the ocean, forming relationship in all sorts of ways. We are lucky to have easy access to wild spaces here, full of trees, plants, insects, snakes, frogs, mosses, lichens, mushrooms, song birds, squirrels, water birds, soil, microscopic organisms in the soil…you get the idea. Countless beings are all around us, and ecotherapy encourages and supports meaningful, reciprocal relationship with any and all. So. If the biggest predictor of a positive therapeutic experience is the strength of the relationship between therapist and client, imagine the potential for therapeutic growth when the entire natural world can be considered ‘co-therapists’.