We all have mental health! You may have heard of talking therapy for supporting mental
health, often known as counselling or psychotherapy. You may never have accessed it
because the thought of sitting down, in a small room, opposite a stranger was too intense. It is often badly represented on TV and in movies with a therapist, writing notes and staring intently back at you. Not displaying a compassionate human connection at all. This all sounds very uncomfortable and I don’t blame you for thinking that.
Firstly, therapy is a process of one to one, confidential support. It is an appointment that
exists solely between you and the therapist, to assist you in talking through an event, a
trauma, a relationship issue, or a mental health issue such as anxiety or depression. A
good nurturing connection with the therapist can help you grieve, process and come to a
sense of well-being being that helps you move forward or tolerate the pain you have been
in. It can also provide tools and strategies for coping.
You may have made the first step in looking for a therapist but are wondering how to find
one. What you would really like is a compassionate therapist who aligns with your values,
ethics and choices and you would like a vegan therapist. You don’t want to have to explain
your choices and discuss the rights and wrongs of this choice. You want to know that it is
safe to be explicit about your lifestyle and you would rather not have a therapist who says
they are understanding when in reality they do not have a vegan lifestyle themselves. Your time is valuable and you don’t want to have to explain why a vegan or whole food plant based
choice is for you.
As a vegan, you may have an already increased connection with nature. You may already
spend a lot of time outdoors in your favourite nature spot, sometimes with your own
animals or those animals and insects in the countryside. Did you know you could access
outdoor therapy for your mental well-being? Therapy does not have to exist in the
confines of a room. Often described as walking therapy, this is a bit misleading. Yes,
walking aids talking and being side by side is a wonderful way of connecting, but it’s pretty
hard to walk too far with therapeutic intent. So I prefer the term 'Outdoor Therapy'. It’s not
about steps, it’s about accessing a green space, a nature area, somewhere you can
access regularly but doing this with intention and with the therapist beside you for support.
A qualified counsellor who has the additional qualifications to offer outdoor therapy, will
give you everything you need from therapy, with the additional bonuses of experiences
that support your own health and well-being. All the ethical requirements are met, simply there are no longer four walls, but the joy of the lush nature. And yes - you can access
outdoor therapy all year round!
So if you have been looking for support with your mental health well-being, are feeling
highly connected with nature or you’ve lost your connection with nature due to external
pressures, looking for an outdoor eco-therapist could be a great next step. I would advocate looking at the ethical bodies, the directories that advertise therapists or a google search. Look at
their niche as there might also be an outdoor therapy counsellor who specialises in what
you want to bring to the therapy work. My specialisms are around bereavement and long
term illness and cancer for example. Don’t worry about how far you can walk, your chosen
therapist will know of a venue with parking and easy access, particularly if you need good
There is evidence that plants provide the atmosphere with good airborne qualities such as
antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. Inhaling forest air is good for us. Have you ever
noticed that when you go into nature your heart rate decreases, your breathing slows
down and you begin to relax? You may be more mindful or present when you are in
nature. Feeling the breeze, noting the temperature or feeling the rain. I am sure that
vegans who align themselves with plant life are more aware of the seasons and are much
more intimately connected with the cycle of life through nature. This blog may have prompted you to think about finding a therapist that is suited to your individual needs and given you the steps to do so.
This blog post was authored by Amanda from Human 2 Human Counselling. If you're interested in exploring their services and connecting with a skilled vegan counsellor, you can do so by visiting their website here.
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