2020 Forest Therapy Guide Trainings
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.
We have recently upgraded our entire training program in response to the global pandemic. It has been an opportunity re-imagine and re-vision many elements of the training. It still contains all the same core content experienced by the first 53 cohorts of trainees. But now we've added more, and changed our pedagogy by deploying an enhanced "Distributed Learning" model. Thus, the trainings are no longer place-based, although there will an immersion at the end of the training, organized according to where trainees live, to reduce as much as possible travel and carbon footprint.
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 awareness 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.
In 2020 ANFT Changed the training format.
Now much of it is done online and remotely. Is it still as effective as the old training?
Just as with the prior trainings, new trainees continue to report that the experience for them is profound, and often transformative. The healing power of the forest is still strong and very present in this new approach. We are grateful that our team has found a way to continue growing this wonderful practice, even in times when COVID-19 has restricted our ability to travel and gather in large groups.
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.