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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.
Dartington Hall UK
Dartington Hall is the largest medieval manor in western England. With over 800 acres of verdant forests, abundant wildlife, and clear rivers, it serves as a wonderful backdrop for Forest Therapy Guide training. The training will be held on the Dartington Estate and no commuting will be necessary unless you are staying off-site. There may be one day when the group travels to a nearby location.
Private Student Accommodation:
Private, locking room with sink and access to shared bathrooms. Lodging includes breakfast only though other meals are available for purchase on site. Participants can book and pay directly through Dartington Hall. Reserved rooms for Perry (the private student accommodations) are £35 a night and include breakfast. Smoking is prohibited in accommodations. Towels and bedding will be provided. Check in on the first day will be at 2:00pm and check out on the last day will be at 10:00am. Participant s may store their bags in the meeting room on the final day after checking out.
There is also camping available. To inquire about camping, contact Dartington Hall directly. At the campsites, there will be hot and cold water, toilets, and pay shower facilities available. Electricity (available on accessible pitches only) costs extra but is available as well.
Reservations for rooms and camping can be made at firstname.lastname@example.org once you have confirmed your enrollment into the program. Please make sure to let them know that you are part of the ANFT group.
Dartington Hall offers a helpful guide for getting to its grounds via bus, train, car, and bicycle. Click here
- Several restaurants are on-site at Dartington Hall with a range of dietary options. For more info visit https://www.dartington.org/visit/food-drink/
- Cooking: There is no place on site where guests can cook. Cooking is permitted at the campsites but you must bring your own equipment
- The town of Dartington has a small convenience store
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, transportation, or meals.
Please note that if you want to book accommodations at Dartington Hall, this cost will be added to your tuition.
Please check current exchange rates for conversion to Euro or other currencies.
Dartington Hall UK
Amos Clifford is the founder of the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs and author of the best selling Your Guide to Forest Bathing (Conari Press 2018). A student of Buddhist philosophy for over 20 years, Amos founded Sky Creek Dharma Center in Chico, California, where he emphasized the importance of meditation practice in wild places. Amos is also widely known for his work in restorative justice. He is founder of the Center for Restorative Process, where he has led the inquiry into how the principles of restorative justice can inform ways to heal the broken relationships between humans and the more-than-human world of nature. Amos holds a BS in Organization Development and an MA in Counseling from the University of San Francisco. Amos has been the primary developer of ANFT's acclaimed training programs.
Maria do Carmo is a certified Forest Therapy Guide based in Portugal and the founder of the company Renature where she creates and facilitates restorative programs that promote wellbeing and health through Forest Therapy, nature connection practices, clean eating and self-care. She works all over the world with various populations that range from the general public, corporate senior and junior teams, schools, families, mental health populations and individuals recovering from situations of excess stress and resulting depression and anxiety. Her passion is to bring human beings back to nature and support the reconnection to the restorative potency of the natural world. She is trained in Forest Therapy, Embodied Mindfulness and Conscious Resting, Council and Active Meditation Techniques, and in the field of Healthcare as a Pharmacist. She holds a Masters in Business Management and is fluent in Portuguese, English, Spanish and French.
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.