Research on Ecotherapy
There is a wide, multidisciplinary base of research that supports the link between nature connection and decreased stress/anxiety, increased joy and vitality, improved focus, mood, attention, and creativity, and deeper senses of connection and purpose.
These books do a fantastic job collecting the evidence and presenting it in a readable way.
The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative
Your Brain on Nature: The Science of Nature’s Influence on Your Health, Happiness, and Vitality
Direct research into the effectiveness of therapeutic work in explicit relationship with nature is less robust, but the results are definitely still positive.
A few examples are below.
- Ecotherapy/Nature Therapy from Good Therapy
- A Look at the Ecotherapy Research Evidence by Craig Chalquist
- The Biophilia Effect: A Scientific Exploration of the Healing Bond Between Humans and Nature by Clemens Arvay
- Using Nature as a Therapeutic Partner in Counseling Today (personal note–the title of this article is problematic–‘using’ nature feels too one sided for me–but the information contained in the article is a helpful overview)
Human connection with the more than human world is a topic that crosses disciplines and builds fascinating bridges. Research studies are great, but if you’re interested in engaging with this topic in a more holistic way, Center for Humans and Nature does an amazing job collecting the wisdom of diverse thinkers and doers in one place.
Their goal is to “partner with some of the brightest minds to explore human responsibilities to each other and the more than human world…thinking creatively about a resilient future for the whole community of life.”