WILDERNESS THERAPY

wilderness therapy banner

WHAT IS WILDERNESS THERAPY EXACTLY?

At The Somatic Wilderness Therapy Institute, we define Wilderness Therapy as The conscious incorporation of the natural world into the therapeutic process.

This is admittedly a broad definition as Wilderness Therapy is a vast field of practice and study. It has roots in worldwide indigenous histories, as well as in modern-day fields of Adventure Therapy, Outdoor Education, Wilderness Questing, Ecopsychology, and Ecotherapy.

The word Therapy denotes a particular clinical process and context. At the SWTI, we utilize, offer, and train practitioners in therapeutic Nature-based methods, which broadens the application of these philosophies and interventions beyond the clinical context.  

WHAT DOES WILDERNESS THERAPY LOOK LIKE?

The conscious incorporation of the natural world into the therapeutic process can look like so many things. In a therapeutic process, generally there is a particular identified goal or intention for the work. This will determine the practices and interventions that are facilitated.  

It might look like this:

stacked rocks on mountain

  • Engaging in Mindfulness practices in nature
  • Opening up to our senses or our own free flow of attention in the outdoors
  • Engaging challenges in the natural world such as rock-climbing, rafting, or hiking a mountain peak
  • Learning about edible or medicinal plants to enhance self-care
  • Learning nature survival skills to live outdoors solo or in community for multiple days or weeks
  • Having conversations with the natural world (plants, animals, rock, water, and so on)
  • Finding metaphor for life, health, death, resilience, and more in nature
  • Creating and performing personalized ceremony or ritual outdoors
  • Being in relationship with the elements and the unpredictability of the weather
  • Moving our bodies and feeling our own breath and aliveness
  • Disconnecting from technology or our daily routines and slowing down to earth time
  • Creating art within the natural world
  • Having the time and space to let our minds wander and to act spontaneously in relationship with the natural world
  • Aimlessly wandering and allowing ourselves to listen to and follow curiosity
  • Consciously engaging in relationship with animals
  • Tending a garden

WHO WILDERNESS THERAPY IS FOR

Wilderness Therapy is for people of all ages, abilities, cultures, and walks of life. If you have a desire, interest, or curiosity to be in relationship with the natural world as part of your healing or transformational journey, Wilderness Therapy is for YOU!

REASONS FOR CHOOSING WILDERNESS THERAPY:

  • You want to engage in a process that includes the whole person — body, mind, spirit
  • You value getting outside, moving your body, and being in the fresh air
  • You want a change of scenery or environment in support of changing your perspective
  • You desire to be challenged and pushed past your self-perceived limitations
  • You long for a deeper relationship with yourself and the Natural World
  • You wish to open up to the signs, symbols and synchronicities that nature provides
  • You feel noticeably more open, grounded, and balanced when you are outside
  • You feel connected to something greater than yourself when you spend time outdoors
  • You know you feel better when you are outside
tree with sunset

mountain with river and path

Listen to a podcast episode in which Katie guests and describes her work in wilderness therapy and nature-based therapy:

Read about some of the ways Katie incorporates nature into therapy in this magazine article from the American Psychological Association