The Forest is the Therapist. The Guide Opens the Doors.
-M. Amos Clifford, Founder of the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs
What is Forest Therapy?
Forest Therapy is a research-based framework for supporting healing and wellness through immersion in forests and other natural environments. Forest Therapy is inspired by the Japanese practice of shinrin yoku, which translates to "forest bathing." Studies have demonstrated a wide array of health benefits, especially in the cardiovascular and immune systems, and for stabilizing and improving mood and cognition.
The Association's Forest Therapy Guide training draws on the latest medical research, new developments in the field of nature connection, and ancient traditions of mindfulness and wellness promotion. In this training you will learn skills that are applicable in any forest ecosystem or bioregion. They can be adapted to other natural settings besides forests, and are also effective in human-built environments such as city parks and botanic gardens. They can be readily integrated with health promotion, psychotherapy, social work, recreation, nature education, employee wellness programs, conservation efforts and many other specialties.
Read the Book
"John Muir once said “between every two pine trees is a doorway leading to a new way of life.” Now Amos Clifford has given us a beautiful and inspiring guide inviting us to seek out the trees and let the healing happen, both for us and for our beleaguered ecosystems. Grab this book and head outside. " — Florence Williams, author of The Nature Fix
Order your copy today from one of these websites:
Physical Requirements of Practicing or Training in Forest Therapy
Forest therapy does not engage in activities that require a great deal of physical exertion. Part of the appeal of Shinrin-Yoku-inspired forest therapy is that it is highly accessible to people with a wide range of fitness abilities and conditions. No physical exertion is encouraged or facilitated by the practice or during our trainings.
I really want to to thank you and the team for an amazing week. Thank you for putting into words and written format what I never could. I've been bathing in the forest, fields, and waters of Maine all my life, but now I have a practice to deepen that connection. You also helped me realize that the human connection is just as important as the nature connection. For these things, I have immense gratitude.
Forest Therapy Guide Training
Certified Forest Therapy Guide Training (CFTG): This six-month training begins with a week long immersion and education with experienced forest therapy instructors, which is followed by a field practicum consisting of a series of structured assignments completed over a series of six months. During the practicum trainees are supported by mentoring via phone or skype and by monthly group conference calls with other participants in their cohort. Completion of a detailed curriculum is required for certification as a Certified Forest Therapy Guide (CFTG).
Forest Therapy Immersion: Also called "Council of the Waters and Trees," this four-day event is an immersion in Forest Therapy lead by our experienced training team members. We use the group communication practice of Council to deepen our understanding of what we are experiencing in nature. A focus of the curriculum is on healing our relationships with the more-than-human world. This event is recommended for:
- Forest Therapy Guides
- Those who are considering becoming Forest Therapy Guides (however, this event is not a pre-requisite)
- People interested in an immersive experience of Forest Therapy and/or the Way of Council.
Space is limited to 20 persons per training; apply early to hold a place