There is still one opening left in the Australia training, September 14-21 2018.
You tied up all the pieces of who I am into this simple package. I've never come home from a training before feeling so supported. When I came back home I felt 'Yeah I can do this! -- Mary Alice, Certified Forest Therapy Guide
I completed the training in June and recently started taking my clients on nature therapy walks. The feedback has been fantastic! What struck me was how well the training prepared me. I felt I had a plenty of tools and that I could adapt the therapy to any client. I knew how to chose a location, talk about the process with clients, and deal with surprises. I just felt so prepared. As a psychologist I find nature therapy an invaluable way to assist clients in accessing something healing that can't be accessed through talk therapy. Thank you !
Christa Smith, Psy.D., Licensed Clinical Psychologist
What is a Certified Forest Therapy Guide ?
A Forest Therapy Guide facilitates safe gentle walks, providing instructions—referred to as “invitations”—for sensory opening activities along the way. These walks follow a standard sequence. Each walk begins with establishing embodied contact with the present moment and place. Next come a series of connective invitations, often improvised in the moment and adapted to the needs of participants. These may be followed by wander time and/or sit spot. The walks end with a ceremony of sharing tea made from foraged local plants.
Forest therapy walks are not hikes in the traditional sense. An entire walk is typically 2 to 4 hours in duration and often covers no more than a quarter mile distance. In that short distance most people experience contact with nature in a much deeper way than they ever have prior to the walk. On Forest Therapy walks, people have a wide range of experiences, some of which they feel are significant, even profound. Guides are trained in the skills and perspectives needed to be supportive witnesses of these experiences.
During these walks people experience the therapeutic power of the forest. The forest itself is the therapist. We don't train therapists; we train guides. By slowing people down and facilitating sensory experiencing, guides open the doorways through which the forest can accomplish its healing work.
2018 Locations and Dates
Our acclaimed certification course is six months in duration. It begins with a week-long intensive. The intensive is followed by a six-month practicum that you do in your home area, guided by a curriculum and supported by one of our expert mentors. Some of the dates below are approximate; if you are interested in any of these trainings we encourage you to apply early. The list below will be updated with additional locations and exact dates as they become available.
To join our mailing list and receive notifications about future training schedules please click here: Forest Therapy Training Mail List
Our base tuition for all Guide Training and Certification Programs in 2018 is $3410 USD. This includes the initial week-long intensive training and the six month mentored practicum. It does not include travel, lodging, ground transportation, or meals. For the training in Slovenia, special rates are given for residents of Slovenia and Serbia.
When guides have developed baseline proficiency in the practice of Forest Therapy, they may begin to integrate Forest Therapy practices with other professional skills sets. For example, Forest Therapy is an excellent framework for ecotherapy and can provide an excellent context for other forms of psychotherapy. Our graduates are applying what they have learned in many fields, including heath care, professional life coaching, organizational development consulting, expressive arts, nature education, mindfulness meditation, PTSD recovery, and more. Individual guides bring their creativity and experience to the design of new and/or modified invitations, and are encouraged to share these with other guides via a private guides-only online forum maintained by the Association.
The Certification Program
Our certification program is rapidly establishing a growing international network of professional forest therapy guides:
- Create consistently high-quality, safe and healthful experiences for clients.
- Inspire the confidence of physicians and other health care system referrers.
- Contribute in a positive way to public and policy-maker perceptions of forest therapy and other forms of nature-based therapy and ecotherapy.
- Increase public awareness of the science of the connective and healing power of nature.
- Help establish areas of natural forests on public lands as designated sites for forest therapy activities, such as mindful walking and sensory opening activities.
- Serve as knowledgeable resources for information and advocacy for forest therapy and nature connection.
- Work on the front lines to help transform our cultural relationship to forests through fostering deeper relationships and positive experiences with forested areas.
The Pathway to Training and Certification
Our Forest Therapy Guide Training begins with a week long intensive residential program. This is followed by a six-month mentored practicum which is completed at home and in nearby forests and natural areas. Your practicum is guided by a curriculum which you receive at the training, and supported by one of our experienced mentors. Begin by completing an online application form.
What you will learn
- The Standard Sequence of Guided Forest Therapy Walks
- Competency standards: what a Forest Therapy Guide should know and be able to do
- The pedagogy and fundamentals of nature connection mentoring
- Nature and forest therapy research and knowledge
- Our framework for the Way of the Guide, wisdom on the inner aspects of the art gained through decades of experience
- Accelerating connection to deep mindfulness through simple sensory invitations
- What makes a good setting for forest therapy
- How to facilitate social connection, to strengthen nature connection
- Sequencing forest therapy invitations for maximum impact and benefit
- Expressive arts activities for forest therapy
- Somatic techniques for embodied awareness
- Much more; many participants report that this training profoundly affects many aspects of their lives.