Tag Archives: mindfulness

Ecoplay Group starting soon!

What is Ecoplay?

Ecoplay is an eight-session online program that trains parents how to do Ecoplay with their children. Each session is designed to give parents and their children the opportunity for experiential activities outdoors that combine mindfulness, ecopsychology and the skills of family resilience and play therapy.

How does Ecoplay Training Work?

Ecoplay is an eight-session program that teaches parents how to use the healing powers of mindfulness and nature to help their children. The classes meet once per week, starting in June 2018, for eight weeks.  Classes are generally held in outdoor settings on hiking trails near Table Rock,  in north Greenville County, South Carolina.

How Can Ecoplay Help My Child?

Ecoplay is about reconnecting to nature, and reconnecting to your children. It is a relationship-based program that utilizes the skills of mindfulness and the power of nature to facilitate change. This positive parenting model teaches parents how to play with their children in an outdoor setting in ways that allow children to build confidence and resilience while having fun!

A large and growing body of research has demonstrated nature’s power to heal and facilitate growth. Ecoplay allows you to tap into this power to build resiliency and well-being in your family and in your relationships to your children and to nature.

Course Information

The course consists of eight sessions:

Session 1: Intro to Ecoplay
Ecoplay is an evidence-based eight-session training program designed to give parents and their children the opportunity for experiential activities outdoors that combine mindfulness, ecopsychology and the skills of positive parenting. Ecoplay is an authoritative, rather than authoritarian, approach to discipline and parenting. It is a framework for guiding your child(ren) to reconnect to nature in healing ways. Ecoplay trains parents to be nature-based play therapy facilitators for their own children. It is also a theoretical framework and approach to parenting that allows children to express themselves in play, their natural language. Ecoplay allows this expressive play to happen in healthy natural outdoor environments.

Session 2: Compassion
We can talk about problems all day, but until we start talking about solutions, nothing gets solved. Ecoplay focuses on family strengths and connections. It is a solution-focused approach that looks more at what’s working than what’s not working. The Pygmalion Effect teaches us that people tend to become what you expect them to become. If you expect good things from your children, you generally get good things from them. However, if you expect “bad” things from your children by focusing on problems rather than on solutions, your children tend to engage in the behaviors you expect. Ecoplay’s compassionate approach is a positive parenting model designed to catch your children being good by focusing on solutions.

Session 3: Communication
Ecoplay is based on mindful communication strategies. What we say is not always what our children hear. Many of the difficulties in parenting occur due to miscommunications. These communication errors usually occur when our children assume that we meant something different than what we actually said, or when we assume that our children mean something different than what they actually said. By learning proactive, mindful communication strategies we can learn to communicate our intentions in ways that lead to the results we want. In mindful communication we learn to be in the moment with each other, without concerns about the past or the future. In the moment we are able to truly hear and validate each other. From here healing can happen.

Session 4: Control
Ecoplay takes the stance that there is no such thing as a “wrong” feeling. What may be “wrong,” or unproductive, is the way we choose to respond to our feelings. With Ecoplay we learn to respond in positive ways to feelings so that our interactions do not become problematic. We all like to feel that we have some measure of control over our lives. Children are no exception to this rule. Parenting difficulties sometimes come when get caught up in power struggles over control issues with our children.

Session 5: Choices
Ultimately, maturing into adulthood means learning to make good choices. The only way to learn to make good choices is to have the opportunity to make not-so-good choices. Ecoplay uses the power of choice-giving and choice-making to allow your children to gain confidence on their journey to adulthood. If we can change our thoughts and feelings, we can change our worlds. Our choices are the result of our beliefs. Our beliefs are a result of our thoughts and assumptions about the world and about our children. If our choices are leading to consequences we don’t want, we can consciously change our choices by challenging the thoughts and beliefs that led to them. By changing our choices, we learn to create consequences that we do want for ourselves and for our children.

Session 6: Consequences
Every choice has a consequence. By skillful used of consequences we teach our children self-control and personal responsibility. By linking consequences to choices we teach our children to think for themselves and to take responsibility for their own actions. Every choice is the result of a belief. Each behavioral choice leads to consequences. By examining the consequences of our choices through examining the thoughts, feelings and beliefs that led to those choices, we learn to create different consequences.

Session 7: Consistency
Consistent consequences for consistent choices helps your child to learn self-confidence in a safe, predictable environment. While maintaining consistency can be hard, parents who are able to achieve a level of consistency with their children will reap the rewards. The key to developing consistency is to change the way your family thinks about things. Such a paradigm shift becomes possible by living in the moment. By shifting the focus to the present, we help our children to regain control of their behaviors in the present so that they can choose a different future.

Session 8: Confidence
Everyone has two images of self: The person they see themselves as and the person they’d like to be. Your children are no different. They are in the process of discovering who they are. With your guidance, they can gain the confidence to explore their futures. Ecoplay at its core is concerned with helping children and family members express the persons they were born to be. Doing so allows your child to live a life of confidence.

For more information or to register, complete the form below.


What is Mindfulness-Based Ecotherapy (MBE)?

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”

– Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Do you enjoy nature? Have you ever been camping, hiking or canoeing? Do you enjoy hunting and fishing? If so, you are probably already aware of nature’s power to relax and heal. A large and growing body of research demonstrates that nature is good for the mind as well as the body.

Mindfulness is a way of paying attention to the moment in which you find yourself by focusing on your immediate experience rather than on ruminations that may be producing stress depression, or anxiety. The benefits of mindfulness as a tool for stress reduction and self-improvement have been thoroughly researched. Mindfulness works so well in this capacity that it has been referred to as the “penicillin of mental health.”

Mindfulness-Based Ecotherapy (MBE) is a blending of Mindfulness and Ecopsychology. MBE uses nature to facilitate mindful awareness, the first skill of MBE.

MBE is used as a framework for helping individuals and families to find deeper connections in their own lives, and to give more meaning and enjoyment to the activities of daily living. By re-integrating ourselves with nature, we are able to tap into nature’s healing power and to heal the earth as we heal ourselves.

Think about the last time you were stressed out or depressed about something. Hold that thought in your mind and ask yourself, “Was the stress due to something that happened in the past? Was it about something that may or may not happen in the future? How much of what I was anxious about has to do with right now, at this very moment, as I read this sentence?”

Mindfulness is a way of paying attention to what is happening right now, in this moment.

By focusing on our experiences in the now, from moment to moment, we come to realize that we are free to choose which thoughts and feelings to pay attention to, and which thoughts and feelings not to focus on. This doesn’t mean that we’re trying to stop thinking or feeling. It means that we’re just making a conscious choice on how much attention to focus on those thoughts or feelings.

The past only exists in our memories. The future is only a projection of the past. Anxiety about future events is the result of playing the odds based on past experiences and expecting similar occurrences to happen in the future. Mindfulness is a way of using the present moment to choose what to believe about the past and the future. We can choose which memories to pay attention to, and which projections about the future to focus our attention on. Mindfulness isn’t about trying to make anxious or depressing thoughts and feelings go away. It is about choosing whether or not to dwell on such thoughts and feelings.

Try this: Imagine that everything that has ever stressed you out or depressed you is written on a sheet of paper. Now imagine holding this sheet of paper about six inches from your nose, or as close to your face as you can while still being able to read the words on this page.

With the page this close to your face, how much of your surroundings can you see? If you’re like most people, you probably can’t see much of anything in the immediate environment. If your stressful thoughts and feelings were written on this page, they’d be in the way. They’d be blocking your view. When we let our stressful thoughts and feelings occupy all of our attention, then like this page, they tend to block our view of anything else that might be going on in our lives.

Now instead of having all your stressful and depressing thoughts written on this page, imagine that they’re written on a boomerang. If you tried to throw that boomerang away, it would eventually come back to you. If you weren’t careful, it might actually smack you in the head on its return trip!  The harder you try to throw this boomerang away, the faster it comes back to you. When we try to “throw away” stressful and depressing thoughts and feelings, they tend to come right back at us as well. That’s because, like it or not, stressful and depressing thoughts and feelings are just as much a part of us as happy thoughts and feelings. Trying to throw them away is trying to throw away a part of ourselves.

What if, instead of trying to throw that boomerang away, you simply set it in your lap? If you did this, those negative thoughts and feelings written on the boomerang would still be with you, but they wouldn’t be blocking your view. You could still see and interact with the world, but you also wouldn’t be trying to throw away a part of yourself.

Mindfulness is a way of setting that boomerang of stressful and depressing thoughts in your lap so you can see the world around you. It’s not a way of trying to throw those thoughts and feelings away. Remember, if you try to do that, the boomerang may come back with a vengeance! Instead, mindfulness is about learning to accept that such thoughts and feelings are a natural part of existence, and accepting that we don’t have to let them keep us from interacting with the world unless we consciously choose to do so.