The five-course concentration in Nature-based Counseling integrates perspectives from the following areas as a theoretical underpinning for an approach to practicing counseling:
- Deep ecology
- Ecology Nature-based experiential learning
- Historical and current perspectives on indigenous peoples' world views
- Earth-based traditional healing practices
- Eastern philosophy Anthropological study of ritual and rites of passage
- Transpersonal psychology Consciousness theory
The program applies this integration of perspectives in the context of current wilderness therapy and nature-based counseling practices. It includes an emphasis on experiential learning, group work, and facilitation of insight as therapeutic techniques, as well as an examination of issues of transfer of learning. Unlike other ecopsychological educational approaches, this program requires a commitment to application as a portion of practicum and internship, and as evidenced by records of the student’s practice and experiences in the field. Students will be required to document competence in the practice of nature-based counseling skills under clinical supervision in a clinical setting as a portion of their training. Because the program is Limited-Residency, accessing opportunities for application of these skills is a significant expectation to be fulfilled by the student.
Students interested in wilderness, adventure venues, horticultural, broad based animal-assisted or nature-based settings, and counselors aspiring to consult to industry in the area of ecopsychological health and environmental design will find this program worthy. Four required Intensives are an important element of the concentration in Nature-based Counseling.
- A Backcountry Intensive provides field experience in backpacking integrating foundational ecopsychology counseling theory.
- An Urban Intensive emphasizes Nature-based Counseling treatment applications in an urban setting.
- A Nature Intensive focuses on Nature-based Counseling treatment applications in a natural setting.
- A Special Issue Intensive.
Students may substitute relevant external education with prior approval. In all intensives, special treatment issues, population, and setting will be selected for focus based on current research and field trends. Students who have already attained a master's degree in a field of mental health practice may apply to join the program and work toward a certificate in Ecotherapy. This requires completion of five 3-credit courses, and successful participation in four intensives workshop. Please refer to the Gainful Employment Disclosure