Ecotherapy Scotland: Wild Spaces for Wellbeing
What is Ecotherapy?
Deep in the make-up of every one of us is the potential for a powerful connection with the natural world. But in the buzz and clamour of modern life we often lose that connection...and with it, our ability to keep our health and happiness in balance.
Much of the time we don't realise what we've lost, but the signs are there: tiredness, feeling overwhelmed, bouts of feeling low, anxiety attacks, niggling ailments, backache, headaches, gastritis...and, finally, illness and depression.
Yet spend a few hours out in the wild and our senses begin to adjust, to attune to the sounds, sights and smells around us. Learning to walk quietly, getting close to wild creatures and coming to know the many useful plants that abound everywhere, even in towns...unless you've tried it, you probably don't realise just how relaxing and satisfying it can be.
Ecotherapy, sometimes called Nature Therapy, is now used by many health professionals. It's powerful, effective and profoundly enjoyable and is now becoming well established and respected in the UK. The video below gives an insight into how it can be incredibly beneficial for those suffering from depression or other mental health problems.
Using Nature for Inspiration, Creativity and Inner Contentment
Ecotherapy can be simply making time to engage with nature, by gardening, doing arts and crafts outdoors or learning to relax and de-stress properly, or it can be a well-researched and skilfully delivered learning and personal development experience, long or short.
For many years we have worked with people of all ages in the outdoors, using carefully orchestrated interactions with the natural world to help people contact their inner natural being and learn for themselves how to de-stress whenever they need it.
Ecotherapy is especially effective for working with young people, especially those on the spectrum or who have experienced difficulties learning, socialising or finding what inspires them in life.
Ecotherapy Workshop Suggestions:
What would you like to try?
Several people have asked whether we could run certain types of workshop for their group or friends, or provide a base for them to run their own. Below is a list of ideas, some of which we will be running in 2017. If any of these appeal to you, or you could run one of your own, please let us know!
Places for Wellbeing
You might think that because you live in a city or town that there is nowhere you can get valid nature experiences. In fact, many health professionals, carers, teachers and managers are learning how to use any available local space, be it park, waste ground, canal side or footpath, to bring short but very powerful interventions to their patients, pupils and co-workers. We can show you how. Come and spend a day or two in one of our Wellbeing Places and not only will you go home refreshed, you'll also be bursting with ideas about how to improve the mental wellbeing of the people for whom you're responsible.
Our Wellbeing Places
The Riverside Garden
A tumbling river crashes over the rapids and then becomes a series of pools and rills, where fish can be seen darting under the tree-lined banks. Dippers, kingfishers and herons fly by and even otters appear from time to time.
Very few traces remain of the three old mills that used to be here, save for the stone walls that mark where the lades used to run. After World War 2, a gardener named Gunther laboriously turned these terraces into a beautiful flower garden but since his death the garden has partly re-wilded itself.
This very special wild garden is now being opened, by arrangement only, during the summer months, to very small groups of people, or individuals, who would like to experience its beauty and its deep sense of peace. We offer art therapy, meditation and crafts workshops based in the ancient stone Howff that sits on the highest terrace, overlooking the garden and river.
The Woodland Retreat
There is a secret wild place near the stunning Solway coast...a tiny wooded glen with a tumbling burn, that is waiting for a small group of very special people to come together and create their own quiet, wild place - their own secret oasis, in fact. The owner of this small gem of natural habitat has very kindly agreed to allow small groups of like-minded folk to share its peace and relaxing beauty.
We have created pathways and a beautiful clearing with a fire circle here, with tent spaces and very basic amenities, including a spring and a composting loo. We have no wish to encroach on the many wildlife species that have made this place their home; it's important to us to respect them all and not despoil this very special place.
A small number of people from different walks of life have camped here from time to time, watched the indigenous wildlife, talked well into the night around the camp fire and now invite a few more folk to join in as we start to establish a little more infrastructure, Each year we run volunteer weekends to repair paths, make a seasonal bush shower and a temporary sauna beside a beautiful plunge pool in the burn. In exchange for a few hours work you can camp here and share a simple but delicious evening meal - and free teas and coffees ad lib!
Volunteer Days and Weekends
Come and help us make paths, benches for the fire circle, new tent spaces and learn how to make a bush shower, composting loo or temporary sauna.
In return for your input, you'll enjoy good company, simple food by a roaring camp fire, laughter, foraging, discussions about nature, wildlife watching and an overnight camping space if you want one.
Please email us if you'd like to volunteer.