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.
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.
Our Costa Rica training is located at Chilamata Rainforest Eco Retreat in the Sarapiqui Region, one of the most biodiversity-rich places in all of Costa Rica, in the heart of the San Juan la Selva Section of the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor.
According to National Geographic’s article “The World’s Happiest Places” from November 2017, Costa Rica is ranked one of the three happiest countries in the world. Looking at its natural beauty and its vibrant culture, this really comes at no surprise. Come and train to be a Forest Therapy Guide amongst the majestic trees, animals and birds of this special place.
Chilamate Rainforest Eco Retreat
Native Sarapiqueño Davis Azofeifa and Irish-Canadian Meghan Casey are the founders of Chilamate Rainforest Eco Retreat. Chilamate Rainforest eco Retreat was born out of the couples dream to work together on a project that would benefit the local community and also the critical section of the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor where Davis and his family have traditionally lived. The property consists of 55 acres of Sarapiqui Riverfront and lowland tropical rain forest.
Pricing includes lodging for 7 nights, all meals and transportation to and from the airport by shuttle:
- Single occupancy private room: $963 USD per person
- Double occupancy private room: $650 USD per person
- Triple occupancy private room in Jungle House Lodge Main Floor: $583 USD per person
- Quadrouple occupancy in Family Suite or Top Floor Jungle House Lodge: $618 USD per person
- Bed in Dorm Room in Jungle House Main Floor: $478 USD per person
Transportation to and from the airport via shuttle is included in the price of accommodations.
The food we serve is all locally sourced and is majority organic. We can accommodate all dietary restrictions, including vegan and meat-eating options.
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. Your accommodations, meals and transportation to and from the airport via shuttle can be arranged directly with Chilamate Rainforest Eco Retreat. Please check current exchange rates for conversion to CRC or other currencies.
Chilamate Rainforest Eco Retreat
I am inspired to show other people how to connect to nature and have the appropriate tools to do so. My whole life I have been connecting to nature in a very intimate and close way. Becoming a Certified Forest Therapy Guide and then a Trainer with ANFT has given me the formal tools to show other people how to feel as part of nature as I do.
I graduated from German speaking school in Costa Rica. After school I worked as a naturalist tour guide, throughout the whole country on 2 week duration roundtrips. Through my work as a guide and a trainer I can make a real contribution to conservation because one protects the things we love the most, and if I get people to reconnect to nature and learn to love it again, they will also protect it.