Tag Archives: ecopsychology

New Mindfulness-Based Ecotherapy Group for 2018

The first Mindful Ecotherapy Conference in 2010.

The Mindfulness-Based Ecotherapy group for 2018 is now forming!

Mindfulness-Based Ecotherapy is a 12-week program that meets once per week on the hiking trails near Table Rock, in Pickens County,  South Carolina north of Greenville.  Sessions are usually 90 minutes long, with a one-hour topic and an optional 30-minute question and answer discussion.

Mindfulness-Based Ecotherapy is excellent for depression, anxiety, trauma, and anger management issues. Chuck Hall has been teaching the program in its various incarnations since the first conference in 2010 at the Mountain Retreat in Highlands, North Carolina. Since that time the program has grown and is now being taught all over the world. With the publication of the Mindfulness-Based Ecotherapy Workbook in 2015, the program has expanded in popularity and reach.

Join Chuck Hall, the creator of the program and author of the workbook, for this annual event!

Click here to learn more about the Mindfulness-Based Ecotherapy Program.


Complete the enrollment form at the bottom of this page to reserve your space. No payment is due until May 1, 2018. Completing the form below just reserves your space. You will be sent payment info once the class forms. Classes require a minimum of five people to start, and class attendance is capped at the first twenty (20) participants. These classes fill up quickly, and they are only offered once per year, so register now if you’re interested! Deadline for registration is April 30, 2018!


There are two options for payment for the classes:

PAY AS YOU GO: The first option is pay-as-you-go at a rate of $40 per session.  There are 12 sessions in the program.

COMPLETE PACKAGE: The second option is to pay for all twelve sessions at once at a rate of $450. This option includes a free copy of the  Mindfulness-Based Ecotherapy Workbook valued at $20, plus a discount off the pay-as-you-go rate of $30, for a total savings of $50.


Completing the Registration Form below does not obligate you to pay for classes until the registration date of May 1, 2018. On April 30, 2018 you will be sent payment information. The registration below reserves your space in the class.


The classes meet once per week on Saturdays starting May 5, 2018. Classes are from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and will meet at several different locations in the Table Rock and Bald Rock, South Carolina areas. Classes are outdoors on hiking trails that are light to moderate exertion.  Classes meet on Saturdays starting on May 5 with the following exceptions:

July 14, 2018

Classes will conclude on the last Saturday of July, 2018. Instructor reserves the right to alter schedule as appropriate due to weather, sickness, or other unforeseen scheduling conflict.

NOTE: If you elect the complete package option, there are no refunds for missed sessions.

This is the program for the general public. Click here you are looking for the Facilitator Training for Mental Health Professionals.



What is Ecotherapy?

For most of its existence homo sapiens has lived in harmony with nature as hunter/gatherers. Such a lifestyle requires a vast knowledge of the seasons, and of the patterns and habits of wildlife, and of plants and herbs and their healing powers. Industrialization and urbanization are fairly recent phenomena on an evolutionary scale. We still carry the genetic memory of our ancestors who lived in untamed nature. Our brains are wired for the outdoors and nature. A growing body of research demonstrates that not only do we feel better when we make time for nature, it is actually a requirement for good physical and mental health!

The field of ecopsychology studies how humans interact with nature. Ecopsychology is a philosophy combining elements of psychology and ecology. It is the philosophy that mental health is contingent upon the health of the environment. Humankind and the environment are part of an interrelated system. We are not separate from nature. We are a part of nature.

At its core, ecopsychology suggests that there is a synergistic relation between planetary and personal well-being; that the needs of the one are relevant to the needs of the other. In short, what we do to the environment, we do to ourselves. Ecotherapy is the practical application of this knowledge. In ecotherapy nature is the “therapist.” In practicing the techniques of ecotherapy, we allow the healing power of nature to work its magic on us. Hölzel et al (2011) demonstrated that meditative states of mindfulness stimulate neural growth in the cerebral cortex in the areas of the brain responsible for emotional regulation, good judgment, insight, and impulse control. Nature experiences have been demonstrated in several studies to produce meditative states (fascination, relaxation, and mindfulness).

Experiences in and with nature, or natural experiences, are ways in which we consciously choose to allow nature to work its healing magic on us. Some types of natural experiences include:

Facilitated Wilderness Experiences

In these types of experiences, a trained facilitator takes you into the woods for an adventure. These events can be anything from a wilderness experience in ecotherapy led by a therapist or counselor, to a hunting trip led by a wilderness guide. Kuo & Taylor (2004) demonstrated that therapy and other activities conducted in outdoor settings reduced symptoms of Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Whittington (2006) found that wilderness skills training gave adolescent girls increased self-esteem and self-confidence and helped to shatter gender stereotypes.

Animal Assisted Therapy

Animal therapy in the form of contact with pets and/or wild or domesticated animals enhances self-actualization and can lessen symptoms of depression. Antonioli & Reveley (2005) found that simply swimming with dolphins can greatly reduce symptoms of depression. Other studies have shown that owning pets, or even just watching fish in an aquarium, can greatly reduce stress. Equine Therapy uses horses to facilitate mental and physical wellbeing. There are many other ways that animals can help us lead happier lives, as any pet owner can tell you!

Therapeutic Gardens

Sempik & Spurgeon (2006) demonstrated that therapeutic gardening reduces stress and lessens symptoms of depression. Blair (2009) discovered that gardening can be used as a means of helping school children to enhance self-sufficiency, social identity, meaning, and self-integration. There’s just something very healing about planting something and nurturing it as you watch it grow.


Sponselee, et al (2004) discovered that outdoor activities reduce stress and restore energy. If you’ve ever had to miss a vacation, you’re probably painfully aware of the regenerative power of taking a week or so off to spend time in nature. Roggenbuck & Driver (2000) found that you don’t need a facilitator or guide to enjoy health and well-being benefits from the use of wilderness areas. There’s a reason we’re attracted to beaches and national parks!

Architecture Incorporating Natural Spaces

Nature can be incorporated into the home environment through the use of plants, an aquarium, or even recorded nature sounds. Alvarsson et al (2010) studied the positive mental health effects of listening to nature sounds.

Outdoor Classrooms

Purcell, et all in 2007 revealed that outdoor classrooms enhanced many critical factors of the educational experience, including: Enhanced retention, better focus, more attention to detail, less hyperactivity, more relaxation, increased confidence and self-esteem, and better cognitive functioning