One of my biggest passions in life is being outside surrounded by nature. As well as counselling people in the woods (see below) at Wrexham I run Mindfulness in the Woods events at Wrexham, Chirk and Hawarden, I also teach children to connect with nature through Forest School.
I believe in the power of nature as our greatest healer. I also believe that good quality therapy can do wonders for people and should be available to everyone.
Talking therapy has helped so many people make positive changes in their lives and I will still work in this way, however, I don’t want to limit my therapy to just this, I want to expand the potential for different ways of working to suit all the diverse and unique individuals that might come for therapy.
Woodlands offer such a therapeutic environment, there is growing evidence on the benefits of spending time in woodlands.
I host regular courses focused on Nature Therapy and Mindfulness in Nature. To find out more about upcoming course dates, just scroll further down this page.
The evidence for mindfulness based cognitive behaviour therapy in a forest setting suggests that participants suffering from depression who took part in the studies saw an improved rating on their depression score and also a decrease in salivary cortisol (stress hormone) levels.
Another study by Zheng Chen, Yujia He, and Yuguo Yu, funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China compared brain cognitive functions with a group of participants in a natural environment to a group in a built environment or highway, the results suggest that a natural environment may promote a better brain performance than a built environment.
In Japan, there is a growing trend around spending time in forests for health and wellbeing and its ability to provide relaxation and stress relief. They call it Shinrin-yoku, which can be translated as ‘taking in the forest atmosphere or forest bathing’.
Another study in Japan measured the mortality rates due to cancer in relationship with people who live in areas with lower forest coverage to those who live in areas with higher forest coverages. The findings indicated that “increased forest coverage may partially contribute to a decrease in mortality due to cancers in Japan” (Qing Li*, Maiko Kobayashi and Tomoyuki Kawada)
One-to-One counselling in Wrexham
Through my work with Woodland Classroom I am now fully at ease with taking my counselling practice outside. I have seen first hand how being out in nature can reduce anxiety, help us feel at home with ourselves and allow us to open up to options and choices where before they were hidden.
We can connect with our true nature, learn about our selves more deeply and develop a new appreciation for life.
When we connect with our natural selves and all the wonders of the natural world we may come to a point where we never need to feel alone again.
My job as a Counsellor is made so much easier when we meet in the woods, I become the facilitator of a process of reawakening, the development of a truly wonderful and healing relationship between client and Mother Nature.
This is a path of renewal and a most satisfying life.
I offer counselling in The Garden Room, Ffrith, Wrexham and nature therapy in Wrexham while walking in the woods or sitting by a fire. Each individual therapeutic relationship can be tailored through the contracting session to suit the needs of the client. The focus of the sessions can develop and change as trust and confidence grows in each other.
I have taught clients how to light their own fire, use an axe to chop their own wood and use old technology to create a spark, all this so we can sit with the warmth of the fire while discussing their issues. This has proved to be a truly empowering and transformative experience, all enhancing the overall experience of self development.
I am connected with others who also share this passion and together we can put together a unique package for your group. We can offer Eco-therapy sessions and Mindfulness in the Woods sessions, these are perfect for groups of vulnerable young people, team building and CPD days and stress management for your staff.
I can work alone or I am involved with other professionals who I can team up with to deliver group work.
James Kendall: Forest School Leader, Social Forester and bushcraft instructor.
Roger Saxby: Physiotherapist and accredited to lead Breathworks Mindfulness for Health & Mindfulness for Stress Courses. Practitioner of Mindfulness in a Woodland Setting.
Kay Ribbons-Steen: Trained as a Ranger in environmental conservation, Forest School Leader, Social Forester and have worked for a number of years in Eco-Therapy and trained in Mindfulness in a Woodland Setting. Ambassador for the National Autistic Society, and autism awareness speaker.
April 13th & May 4th 2019 – New date to be confirmed.
Starts Jan 2020. Date to be confirmed.
Summer dates to be confirmed.
WHAT IS MINDFULNESS?
Mindfulness is a holistic approach to health and well-being.
“The term ‘mindfulness’ does not refer to a single practise but to a range of practise based approaches, seeking to focus an individuals mind and attention on breathing and patterns of thought as a mean to managing emotions, feelings, habitual patterns of behaviours and unregulated critical reactions to events.” (Leary & Tate, 2007)
Running through all these approaches and therapies we practice an increased ‘awareness’ of the self and the environment, ‘taking notice’ of the present thoughts and conditions, including one’s surroundings and how these impact on the body.
There is now a very large and growing literature evidencing the links between the natural environment and people’s general health and well being.
WHY RUN THESE SESSIONS IN THE OUTDOORS?
Environmental psychologists have insisted that the physical and psychological problems of modern society are associated with a disconnection between human beings and their natural environment.
Humans are ‘hard-wired’ through evolution to hold an emotional and psychological attachment to nature. Placing people apart from nature disrupts our connection with nature and can lead to negative impacts on wellbeing.
“Shinrin-yoku”, which can be defined as “taking in the forest atmosphere” or forest bathing, has been receiving increasing attention in Japan in recent years for its capacity to provide relaxation and reduce stress. Scientific studies have shown certain stress indicators, such as cortisol levels and sympathetic nervous system is lowered when time is spent in a forest as compared with an urban environment.
Mindfulness in natural settings is a growing movement and I am a firm believer in the power of nature to be therapeutic for everyone. My training as an Counsellor worked toward my long-term goal to incorporate nature therapy into my services. I am passionate about finding ways to increase the self-esteem of people and encouraging motivation through positive experience, shared enthusiasm and a nurturing environment.