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.
Our trainers are among the most experienced guides in the world and each one undergoes a rigorous training process beyond their certification as guides. The trainers listed below on this page are subject to change based on trainer availability; no matter which trainers you work with, you will be taught by the best in the field.
In this training, you will learn:
- The Standard Sequence of Guided Forest Therapy Walks
- Professional standards and competencies: what a Forest Therapy Guide should know and be able to do
- The pedagogy and fundamentals of nature connection
- Nature and forest therapy research and effects on health care and well-being
- Our framework for the Way of the Guide, wisdom on the inner aspects of the art gained through decades of experience
- The leadership skills and style of the Guide archetype
- Creating space for others to find their own authentic nature connection
- Accelerating connection to deep mindfulness and bodyfulness through simple sensory invitations
- What makes a good setting for forest therapy
- How to facilitate restorative human connection through storytelling and witnessing
- Our theoretical framework of deep nature connection through embodiment, liminality, reciprocity and relationship
- Sequencing forest therapy invitations for maximum impact and benefit
- Expressive arts activities for forest therapy
- Somatic techniques for embodied awareness
- Our aim is simple: to train competent guides. However, many participants report that this training profoundly affects many aspects of their lives.
Govinda Valley Retreat
Govinda Valley is a not-for-profit, volunteer based retreat centre located at the foot of the Royal National Park (one of the oldest natural reserves in the world), providing the service and facilities for groups to host their own unique retreats, while immersing themselves in the spectacular natural surroundings.
Govinda Valley is a yogic community aspiring to live a simple, clean and spiritually fulfilled lifestyle, role modelling a practical balance between material and spiritual life. Our foundations are built on the Bhakti yoga tradition - the yoga of love and service - which is the essence that runs through the heart and soul of everything we do. It is our aim to provide a clear, nurturing and nourishing space for our guests and community, that allows all of us to come home to ourselves, into a higher level of self-awareness, personal alignment and contribution to the greater good.
Participants will book lodging directly through ANFT by choosing an accommodations package. All figures in USD currency and account for the entire training week, March 7- checkout on March 14, 2020. Spaces are limited for each accommodation option.
-Single Occupancy ensuites cost $1,310.00; includes 3 meals a day and use of facilities.
-Twin Share ensuites cost 890.00; includes 3 meals a day and use of facilities.
-Non-ensuites cost $595.00; includes 3 meals a day and use of facilities.
-Camping cost $455.00; includes 3 meals a day and use of facilities.
-Please contact our Admissions Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions
Nearest airport is Sydney Airport. Transportation from Sydney is possible by train or rental car.
Govinda Valley is strictly vegetarian (meaning no meat, fish or eggs are allowed on site). Three vegetarian buffet style meals are served each day and light refreshments of fruit and herbal teas are served daily. All dietary restrictions can be accommodated including vegan, diary free and gluten free.
Tuition for the six-month Guide Training and Certification Program is $3410 USD. This includes the week-long intensive training and six months of mentored practicum. It does not include travel, lodging, ground transportation, or meals. Please check current exchange rates for conversion to AUD or other currencies.
Govinda Valley Retreat
Vicky Kyan is the first ANFT Certified Guide, Mentor and Trainer in the Southern Hemisphere. She is a strong advocate for the practice of Nature and Forest Therapy, and for the promotion of trainings in the South Pacific. She is largely inspired by her local ocean beach, seashore and estuary ecosystems, where she has pioneered this work since her Guide Training with ANFT in North California in May 2015.
Vicky operates a small Homestay holiday retreat, where she offers ‘Wellbeing Wanders’ Nature and Forest Therapy guided experiences. When she is not travelling she uses her Pacific Island home as a base for mentoring ANFT trainee guides and building network with nature connection contacts both nationally and around the world. She is also an active member of the ANFT International Training Team and travels to trainings around the world.