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New Online Continuing Education Courses

The courses below are currently being developed. Have a course you’d like to see added? Use the contact form below to make a course suggestion! Register to receive this blog if you’d like to be informed of courses as they’re added!

7Cs of Mindful Parenting
ACT: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
ADHD: Non-Medical Approaches to Treatment
ADHD vs. PTSD: Differential Diagnosis and Trauma
DBT-Informed Therapy
Ecoplay
Ecotherapy for Anxiety
Ecotherapy for Depression
Evaluating Research: A Scientific Approach
Gender Identity Disorder and Transgender Issues
Genograms: How to Create and Use Them
Hypnosis: An Introduction
LGBT-Q Clinical Issues
Marriage & Family Therapy: An Introduction
MBFT and Couples Therapy
MBFT in Clinical Practice
Mindful Mood Management (Part A)
Mindful Mood Management (Part B)
Mindful Self-Care for Therapists
Mindful Suicide Prevention
Mindfulness & Addiction
Mindfulness & Depression
Mindfulness & LGBT-Q Issues
Mindfulness & Spanking
Mindfulness-Based Ecotherapy
Mindfulness-Based Family Therapy (MBFT)
Mindfulness-Based Family Therapy (MBFT) and Couples Therapy
Narrative Therapy
Neurobiology of Play
Neurobiology of Spanking
Neurobiology of Trauma
Person-Centered Therapy
Play Therapy: A Filial Approach
Play Therapy Supervision: A Mindful Approach
Sand Tray Therapy: An Introduction
Solution-Focused Treatment
Supervision of Counselors and Therapists: A Mindful Approach
Teletherapy: An Introduction
Transgender Therapy: An Introduction
Trauma in Children
Trauma-Informed Treatment
Treatment Plans: How to Create and Use Them

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CERTIFICATION IN MINDFULNESS-BASED ECOTHERAPY – COMPLETE PACKAGE $249.95

The long-awaited online version of the Mindfulness-Based Ecotherapy Facilitator Training Program is now available!

This popular series certifies you to be a facilitator of the 12-week Midnfulness-Based Ecotherapy program. This program, based on the Mindfulness-Based Ecotherapy Workbook, is now taught worldwide.  Becoming a certified facilitator of this program allows you to run your own groups, wherever you are. It also affords you access to free online support for the program, plus a free listing on our directory of certified facilitators.

The coursework for the program is listed below:

The MBE Facilitator Training Program is a 60-hour program that includes the following courses:
Mindfulness-Based Ecotherapy in Clinical Practice – 25 hours $149.95
Mindfulness: An Introduction – 15 hours – $74.95
Ecotherapy: An Introduction – 10 hours – $49.95
Running a Successful Group – 10 hours $49.95

If you purchased all of these courses separately, your cost would be $324.80, but during this special offer you may purchase the entire certification package of 60 hours of continuing education materials for only $249.95!

Click here for information on purchasing the Mindfulness-Based Ecotherapy Facilitator Certification Package

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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.

Vacations

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

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Doing, Being, Thinking and Sensing

A key aspect of mindfulness is stepping outside of doing mode and entering into being mode.

When we’re caught up in thought and feeling cycles that lead to depression and anxiety, we usually feel that we should be doing something to fix it. The problem with this is that sometimes there is nothing you can do to fix a problem. Mindfulness is a way to escape this cycle of trying to fix things by simply focusing on our moment-to-moment experience. When we are doing this, we are in being mode. In being mode, we are not trying to fix anything. We are not trying to go anywhere. We are not trying to do anything. We are not trying, period. Trying is doing, and being mode isn’t about doing.

In being mode we are free to enjoy our experiences from moment to moment by focusing on what our senses are telling us rather than focusing on trying to find a way out of a problem. When downstairs brain is engaged, and upstairs brain is temporarily disconnected, moving into being mode allows us a little breathing room.

The way to move from doing mode to being mode is to shift our mental energy from thinking mode to sensing mode. Our brains only have a finite of energy to spend on any given task at any given time. If we have a stressful or depressing thought cycle going on, we can shift energy from what our thoughts are telling us by engaging our internal observer to start focusing on what our senses are telling us. As you read this paragraph, can you feel your breath going in and out of your lungs? Were you even aware you were breathing before you read the previous sentence? When caught up in thinking cycles, we’re focusing on the boomerang. But by shifting our attention to our direct experiences and focusing on what our senses are telling us, we’re able to move into sensing mode.

When in sensing mode we are no longer giving energy to ruminating cycles that are leading us to states that we do not want to experience. We are able to move to sensing mode by focusing first on our breathing, then on our direct experiences of the current situation. We do this by using all of our senses, in the moment, to explore the environment around us. What do we hear? What do we see? What do we smell? What do we taste? What do we feel? By asking ourselves these questions, we are able to move into sensing mode.

The more energy we spend on sensing, the less energy we have to spend on thinking. Based on the tale of two wolves, we could see the two wolves as “thinking wolf” and “sensing wolf.” The more energy you give to sensing wolf, the less energy you give to thinking wolf. The less energy thinking wolf receives, the weaker thinking wolf becomes. Conversely, the more energy sensing wolf receives, the stronger sensing wolf becomes. By shifting from thinking to sensing, you’re not trying to ‘kill’ the thinking wolf. You’re not engaging in doing by trying to make the thinking wolf go away. You’re simply depriving it of energy so that it may eventually go away on its own. Even if it doesn’t go away on its own, you’re not focusing your attention on it. Since your attention isn’t on it, thinking wolf can’t grab you by the throat, refusing to let go.

It could be said that focusing on what your senses are telling you is a type of thinking as well, and that is partially true; however, the difference is that focusing on what your senses are telling you is a type of thinking devoid of emotional content. If you’re in a thinking cycle that is causing you anxiety or depression, then anxiety and depression are emotions. But unless you hate trees for some reason, simply sitting quietly in a forest and observing a tree as if you are an artist about to draw that tree, is an exercise devoid of emotional content. By focusing on the emotionally neutral stimuli found in nature, we give ourselves the opportunity to feed the sensing wolf.

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Upstairs Brain vs. Downstairs Brain

Feelings of depression, anxiety, sadness, and other emotions are generated in a part of the brain called the limbic system. This ‘downstairs’ portion of the brain is only interested in three things: Fighting, fleeing, or freezing. In ‘fight’ mode, the downstairs brain wants to protect you from harm by fighting against the threat. When it is triggered, your heart may race, your palms may get sweaty, and you may have a sharp increase in irritability and anger. In ‘flee’ mode, you may experience a similar adrenaline rush, but in this instance your brain is preparing your body to run away from the danger. In ‘freeze’ mode, we tend to retreat inside ourselves. This is the deer-in-the-headlights feeling of “If I’m very quiet and still, the bad thing won’t see me.”

Whether you’re in fight, flee, or freeze mode, your downstairs brain is preparing you to deal with a real or perceived threat in the only way it knows how. When your downstairs brain is engaged, the upstairs part of your brain tends to get overwhelmed. The upstairs brain, which consists of the neocortex of the brain, is the part responsible for thinking things through, figuring things out, and solving problems. When the downstairs brain takes over, the upstairs brain is out to lunch. That’s why when you’re emotionally overwhelmed it is nearly impossible to figure out a way to deal with it. Upstairs brain is all about finding solutions to problems, but downstairs brain is all about fighting, fleeing, or freezing. When your upstairs brain is overwhelmed, thinking things over isn’t going to work. That’s because at that point your downstairs brain is in charge. For those times when your downstairs brain is running the show, mindfulness is a way of disengaging from the thinking cycle for a while so that you can re-center yourself and reconnect with yourself and the world around you.

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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.

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Mindfulness: An Introduction 15-hour Online CEU Course

$49.95

This self-guided online course is good for 15 hours of online continuing education in Mindfulness.

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE THIS COURSE

“Mindfulness is the energy of being aware and awake to the present moment. It is the continuous practice of touching life deeply in every moment of daily life. To be mindful is to be truly alive and present with those around you and with what you are doing. We bring our body and mind into harmony while we wash the dishes, drive the car or take our morning cup of tea.”
–Thich Nhat Hanh, Zen Buddhist Monk and Founder of the An Quang Buddhist Institute

Think about the things that have caused you anxiety, stress or depression in the past. Now ask yourself, “Was it the things themselves that caused the anxiety, stress and depression, or was it what I believed about those things?”
If it is true that anxiety and depression are rooted in our thoughts, then we should be able to change our thoughts and eliminate, or at least minimize, anxiety and depression. Mindfulness is a way to change your thoughts and feelings. If you can change your thoughts and feelings, you can change your world!

Product Description

DISCLAIMER
Charlton Hall, LMFT/S, RPT-S is a board-approved sponsor of continuing education in South Carolina, permanent sponsor #495. This course is approved for Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists and Licensed Professional Counselors in South Carolina. The course materials are evidence-based with clearly defined objectives; however it is your responsibility to check with your local licensure board for course approval for credit prior to enrolling in this course. No warranty is expressed or implied. A list of citations and references is provided in the course materials for your records.

INSTRUCTOR CREDENTIALS
Click here to see a summary of credentials and education for Charlton Hall, LMFT/S, RPT-S

INSTRUCTOR CONTACT INFORMATION
You may contact the instructor by clicking here or by mail at

Mindful Ecotherapy Center
PO Box 102
Cleveland SC 29635

COURSE OBJECTIVES
After completing this course, the student will be able to:
 Discuss and describe the concept of Mindfulness
 Differentiate between Doing Mode and Being Mode
 Discuss Differentiation and how it relates to Mindfulness
 Discuss Individuation and how it relates to Mindfulness
 Discuss emotional regulation and how it relates to Mindfulness
 Discuss and describe Emotional Mind, Rational Mind, and Wise Mind
 Discuss the process of Externalization and how it relates to Mindfulness
 Discuss and describe Positive and Negative Thought Streams
 Describe and discuss the Mindful Skill of Observing
 Describe and discuss the Mindful Skill of Describing
 Describe and discuss the Mindful Skill of Fully Participating
 Describe and discuss the Mindful Skill of Being Non-Judgmental
 Describe and discuss the Mindful Skill of Focusing on One Thing at a Time
 Describe and discuss the Mindful Skill of the Power of Intention
 Describe and discuss the dialectic of Acceptance vs. Change
 Describe and discuss Mindful Acceptance
 Describe and discuss Letting Go
 Be able to conduct a basic Mindful Meditation
 Discuss how Mindfulness may be used with CBT
 Discuss several Mindfulness-Based forms of therapy


COURSE FORMAT

This is a self-directed online introductory course in mindfulness. While this course is a part of the requirements to become a certified Mindfulness-Based Ecotherapy Facilitator, it is also a stand-alone course that gives the student a good basic grounding in the principles and practices of mindfulness.

The course materials include a 114 page workbook on mindfulness in pdf format, several mindful meditations in mp3 format, and over a dozen worksheets that you may use in your own practice. The workbook also includes a list of course objectives and a list of references and citations.

Click here to see a list of requirements for certification in Mindfulness-Based Ecotherapy

If you have any questions about this course, the materials, or how to complete the course materials, please feel free to contact me.

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3 FREE Continuing Education Hours for Mental Health Professionals

Join the Mindful Ecotherapy Center and Charlton Hall, LMFT/S, RPT-S for this FREE 3-hour continuing education course for mental health professionals. Since this course is provided free of charge, pre-registration is required and is limited to the first 20 participants.

Charlton Hall, LMFT/S, RPT-S is a SC board-approved sponsor of continuing education for LPCs and LMFTs, permanent sponsor # 495

Trauma and the Brain
FREE 3-hour continuing education course for mental health professionals
Saturday, June 3, 2017
9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Meet-and-greet starts at 9 a.m.
Greenville Library Main Branch (Hughes Library)
25 Heritage Green Place
Greenville SC 29601

For more information, call (864) 384-2388 or contact the Mindful Ecotherapy Center.

COURSE DESCRIPTION
Trauma actually changes the physical structure of the brain. The earlier the trauma, the more potentially long-lasting and permanent the damage. In this course we’ll look at what some of the most recent research in neurobiology has to say about how trauma impacts the brain. We’ll also look at some treatment options that might help to minimize or even reverse the damage.

COURSE OBJECTIVES
Describe some physical changes in the brain caused by trauma
Discuss how the cerebral cortex and the limbic system process a trauma reaction
Discuss the fight or flight cycle and how it impacts brain function
Discuss some causes of childhood trauma
Discuss how trauma impacts the brain at various stages of child development
Discuss and implement some mindfulness-based treatments for trauma

COURSE INSTRUCTOR
Click here for instructor’s qualifications and credentials

DIRECTIONS

REGISTRATION
To register for this course, complete the contact information below

No Fields Found.
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FREE 3 CEUs June 3, 2017: Trauma and the Brain

Join the Mindful Ecotherapy Center and Charlton Hall, LMFT/S, RPT-S for this FREE 3-hour continuing education course for mental health professionals. Since this course is provided free of charge, pre-registration is required and is limited to the first 20 participants.

Charlton Hall, LMFT/S, RPT-S is a SC board-approved sponsor of continuing education for LPCs and LMFTs, permanent sponsor # 495

Trauma and the Brain
FREE 3-hour continuing education course for mental health professionals
Saturday, June 3, 2017
9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Meet-and-greet starts at 9 a.m.
Greenville Library Main Branch (Hughes Library)
25 Heritage Green Place
Greenville SC 29601

For more information, call (864) 384-2388 or contact the Mindful Ecotherapy Center.

COURSE DESCRIPTION
Trauma actually changes the physical structure of the brain. The earlier the trauma, the more potentially long-lasting and permanent the damage. In this course we’ll look at what some of the most recent research in neurobiology has to say about how trauma impacts the brain. We’ll also look at some treatment options that might help to minimize or even reverse the damage.

COURSE OBJECTIVES
Describe some physical changes in the brain caused by trauma
Discuss how the cerebral cortex and the limbic system process a trauma reaction
Discuss the fight or flight cycle and how it impacts brain function
Discuss some causes of childhood trauma
Discuss how trauma impacts the brain at various stages of child development
Discuss and implement some mindfulness-based treatments for trauma

COURSE INSTRUCTOR
Click here for instructor’s qualifications and credentials

DIRECTIONS

REGISTRATION
To register for this course, complete the contact information below

No Fields Found.