“Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,

the world offers itself to your imagination,

calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting

over and over announcing your place

in the family of things.”

Mary Oliver

Wild Geese (1986)

Who Can Benefit from Psychodynamic in Nature, Outdoor Therapy?

The Outdoor Therapy process - explorations in nature and nature-connectedness - can be a stimulus for insight, creativity and growth. It may also be restorative, emotionally regulating and relaxing. For any one client and in any one session, the natural setting and the experiences we encounter there might incorporate any or all of these elements.

What each of us brings to the natural space and what we encounter there is individual and boundless. The therapeutic benefits of working outdoors may involve the following experiences, although it must also be said these cannot be guaranteed and sometimes the encounter may be beyond words or explanation;

Working with these processes may be helpful for;

Having a sense of our eco-centricity - belonging, place, feeling rooted

Seasonal cycles of loss and regeneration

Reverie - a way of mentally relaxing in nature which allows the freeing-up of sensory, emotional and associative experiencing, helping stimulate or recover under-utilised, intuitive, unconscious or other “lost” aspects of ourselves

Being revitalised by contact with nature - sensory re-awakenings, bringing deadened parts of ourselves alive

Systemic or emotional regulation - being soothed, grounded and restored by nature; our innate limbic survival mechanisms’ psycho-physiological response to the natural setting

Rhythms of movement and bodily experiencing, combined with the rhythms of nature

Working with these processes may be helpful for;

-      anxiety and panic attacks

-      feelings of dislocation from self and others

-      derealisation and depersonalisation

-      loneliness and isolation

-      loss of home or homeland

-      feeling up-rooted or un-moored

-      depression and loss of forward momentum in life

-      grief, loss or bereavement

-      aging

-      life transitions, such as divorce or retirement

-      adjustment issues and difficulties around change

-      burn-out, stress, mental and physical exhaustion

-      loss of vitality

-      over-thinking or over-analysing

-      rigidity and control

-      loss of creative inspiration, writer’s block

-      PTSD

-      trauma

-      emotional blunting or detachment

-      anger management

-      loss of trust or confidence in the body or physical self

-      loss of connection with the body and embodied identity


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Photographs © Mina Milanovic 2024 minamilanovic-photography.com