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.
We have trained more guides in more countries on more continents than any other forest therapy organization. Simply put, we are the most experienced and the best at what we do.
Our acclaimed certification course is six months in duration. It begins with an on-site, week-long intensive. The intensive is followed by a six-month practicum that you complete from home, guided by a curriculum and supported by one of our expert mentors. These trainings fill up quickly, and often far in advance. We encourage you to apply early.
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
- Trail awarenesses and safety
- Group process skills that promote interactive learning
- Sequencing forest therapy invitations for maximum impact and benefit
- Core routines of nature connection
- Expressive arts activities for forest therapy
- Somatic techniques for embodied awareness
- Tips for successfully promoting your forest therapy offerings
Apply & Register
To begin the process of becoming a forest therapy guide, please choose a training and submit an application. We feel it is important to get to know people before they register for a training to make sure this is a good fit. We consider applications based on a variety of factors, but ultimately we're looking for individuals whom we believe will make good forest therapy guides. Being a good forest therapy guide does not require a background in forestry, psychotherapy or medicine; more often than not, the most desirable qualities in a guide are connected to how they tend relationships.
Once your application is received, our admissions team will review it, and if you are accepted into the program, send an acceptance letter within three weeks. This letter will contain all the information for next steps, including a link to the training registration page.
Human communities, like forests, thrive on diversity.
The Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs is committed to creating and sustaining a welcoming, equitable, and inclusive environment for new guides, participants and contributors from all cultures and backgrounds. We strive to be a place of belonging for all people interested in cultivating healthy relationships within human communities and the natural world.