Forest Therapy Guide Training

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California - Cohort 31

Jouvence Lodge in Winter
The world's most experienced forest therapy guide trainers invite you join a growing global movement and an activist community that is making a difference--by rebuilding the relationships between people and the more-than-human-world of nature.
Week-long Intensive: 5 - 12 Oct 2018 | Practicum ends: 12 Apr 2019
San Damiano Retreat, California
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California, USA

Bask in nature's splendor at a refuge for spiritual contemplation...

​San Damiano is a center of respite set apart from the noisy bustle of the city, but easily accessible from it. As a Franciscan Retreat center, San Damiano has served as a place of introspection and connection for all those seeking it, no matter people’s faiths or backgrounds. The retreat center has comfortable facilities, a multitude of quiet corners in which to find peace, and fountains spread all throughout its gardens. It sits on around 55 acres of land filled with oaks and bay trees. This venue is settled into hills and has slightly more elevation changes than some of our other destinations, but offers beautiful vistas of the surrounding area.

Things to Note: San Damiano is a place for people seeking a quiet environment. For this reason, cell phone use is only permitted in designated areas and all electronics must be used with headphones. No keys will be given out for bedrooms, but your rooms can be locked from the inside.


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.

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 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
  • 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
  • Our aim is simple: to train competent guides. However, many participants report that this training profoundly affects many aspects of their lives.
About the Venue:

San Damiano Retreat, California

San Damiano is a center of respite not far from the noisy bustle of the city. As a Franciscan Retreat center, San Damiano has served as a place of introspection and connection for all who look for it, no matter people’s faiths or backgrounds. The retreat center has comfortable facilities, a multitude of quiet corners in which to find peace, and fountains spread all throughout its gardens. It sits on around 55 acres of land filled with oaks and bay trees. This venue is settled into hills and has slightly more elevation changes than some of our other destinations, but offers beautiful vistas of the surrounding area.

Things to Note: San Damiano is a place for people seeking a quiet environment. For this reason, cell phone use is only permitted in designated areas and all electronics must be used with headphones. No keys will be given out for bedrooms, but your rooms can be locked from the inside.

Lodging

There are double rooms and a limited number of single rooms available. The rates are $924 for a double room and $1029 for a single room for the length of the training. These rates include meals, linens, and use of the grounds

If a participant wants to commute, the fees for the use of the grounds, meeting rooms, and lunch each day are $406 for the length of the training.

Transportation

San Damiano is very accessible -- around a 40 minute drive from Oakland Airport, and less than an hour from San Francisco.

Meals

Meals are served buffet style. They are able to accommodate vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free diets if requested.

Tuition and Continuing Education: 
Continuing Education Hours for Certified Forest Therapy Guides:
60

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. If you wish to book with San Damiano, you must make your own arrangements; the cost is not included in the tuition.


Carolynne lives in Toronto, Canada, where she pursues her lifetime commitment to social and environmental justice. She is a Certified Forest Therapy Guide who brings many years of deep nature connection training to her practice. Her perspective is informed by  her own indigenous heritage.

Since childhood, Caitlin has been driven by her deep desire to live a life close to the earth and in service to the health of all life.  She offers forest-bathing walks as an opportunity for people to develop an intimate relationship with the land and to connect to the innate processes that bring health and wellness to us as organisms.  She knows our health is intimately tied to the health of the land and visa versa.  It is her intention that this work lead to tender relationships with nature that bring greater health and vitality to individuals and invoke greater stewardship and commitment to the healthy regeneration of our world.  As a guide Caitlin brings joy, grace, loving compassion and a deep sense of beauty and presence.  She is dedicated to the future generations and leaving them a healthy, happy, thriving world.