Course Summary for Mindfulness-Based Ecotherapy Facilitator Certification

This summary contains key points to remember about the course.

  • Social Change Groups focus on changing a policy, procedure, or practice of concern within either an organization or the community at large.
  • Emotional Mind occurs when people are driven by emotion. Rational Mind is driven by logic and reason. Wise Mind is logic informed by compassion and emotion tempered with reason.
  • Wise Mind is a perfect balance between Emotional Mind and Rational Mind.
  • Ecopsychology is the study of how nature impacts mental health and psychological and emotional well-being.
  • Echotherapy is applying the tools and techniques of ecopsychology in a therapeutic environment.
  • The mindful skill of acceptance allows us to experience emotions without feeling obligated to react to them.
  • As a good facilitator your goal is to not to solve problems for your students. Instead, your goal is to help students consider the costs and benefits associated with each solution and to lead them to solve problems for themselves.
  • A group description is important when planning a group. If you publish a group description prior to the beginning of the group, participants know ahead of time what to expect.
  • Bruce Tuckman’s (1965) stages of the group process include all of the following:
    • Forming
    • Storming
    • Norming
    • Performing
    • Adjourning
  • Mindfulness-Based Ecotherapy is a blending of Mindfulness and Ecopsychology.
  • The ability to separate thinking from feeling in a given relationship or situation is called “differentiation.”
  • The Transtheoretical Model (TTM) of Stages of Change includes all of the following:
    • Pre-contemplational
    • Contemplational
    • Preparation
    • Action
    • Maintenance
  • If we are “living in our heads” we are not mindful. We are not present in the moment.
  • Doing Mode is to Being Mode as Thinking Mode is to Sensing Mode. Being Mode doesn’t mean that we stop thinking. It means that we leave Doing Mode and focus on the information our senses are giving us.
  • A good facilitator knows that it is possible to validate a person’s feelings without necessarily having to agree with or condone those feelings or the behaviors they generate.
  • Being able to see things as they are, and not as we think they ought to be, is called Being Non-Judgmental.
  • Mindfulness is paying attention to the present moment
  • The power of intention is a solution-focused approach to problem solving.
  • The past, like the future, only exists in the mind. The only moment that is real is the present.
  • If we are victims of our circumstances, we will always be victims. But if we are victims of our beliefs about our circumstances, then we are always free to change our beliefs.
  • Radical acceptance means realizing that if our distressing thoughts and feelings are the result of our circumstances, then we will always be victims of our circumstances.
  • Kellert (2002) found that cognitive, affective, and moral development is impacted significantly and positively by direct contact with nature.
  • You’d need a crystal ball to know what another person’s thoughts or feelings may be. Instead of assuming what another person’s thoughts or feelings might be, the best way to know is simply to ask them.
  • We cannot change the thoughts, feelings and behaviors of others. We can only change our own thoughts, feelings and behaviors.
  • Kim et al (2009) describe using mindfulness with Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) in a mindful walk through a forest before the CBT exercises. After studying this technique, the author concluded that the mindful state produced by this exercise improved depression rating scores, saw improved HRV and decreased salivary cortisol levels.
  • The Sensory Integration Meditation allows us to bring our minds more in tune with our bodies by focusing only on the information we get from our senses
  • Hebb’s Postulate states, “What fires together, wires together.” This means that when you have a new thought for the first time, the neurons in your brain reconnect in new pathways.
  • A goal of mindfulness is the recognition of the True Self as who you really are, apart from troublesome thoughts and feelings.
  • Milton Erickson helped a man to with alcohol addiction by giving him the “homework” task of contemplating the survival qualities of the cactus. This helped the man to connect with nature and to connect with himself.
  • A “want” would be something that might be nice to have, but is not essential to our survival and well-being (for example: a nice house, a nice car, money for recreation and entertainment). A “need” is something that is necessary for survival, and might include things like food, clothing, shelter and love.
  • Shaw (2000) researched childhood nature connections and trauma, and observed that nature itself was seen as a protector by traumatized children.
  • Being one-mindful simply means focusing on one thing at a time.
  • If meeting one-on-one for ecotherapy, do so in a public park or other setting where there are plenty of people/witnesses for safety reasons.
  • If happiness is something we learn to create from inside of ourselves, then nothing and no one can take that happiness from us. We can’t always control the circumstances of our lives, but with proper understanding we can always choose to be happy.
  • Judging is observing a fact about the world around us and the people in it and then adding an evaluation or interpretation of “good” or “bad” to it. Being non-judgmental is just the opposite.
  • The “Happy Fisherman” story in Session 4 illustrates the idea that “sometimes less is more.” This means that material possessions aren’t the source of happiness. A life well-lived is the source of happiness. By learning to focus on what we need rather than what we want, we are able to be grateful for everything in the moment.
  • Most insurance companies will not reimburse for ecotherapy sessions, so when planning for an ecotherapy group it is necessary to verify coverage. Most ecotherapy groups are cash-pay for this reason.
  • The power of intention means that we choose every act deliberately and purposefully, focusing our awareness on each task with intention.
  • Happiness is about our relationships to others and to ourselves.
  • Mindulness isn’t about avoiding unpleasant experiences. It’s about making room for whatever we are feeling. There is no such thing as a “wrong” feeling.
  • Living in the Now occurs when we leave Doing Mode and entering into Being Mode. This allows us to focus only on the present moment.
  • The Birth Tree exercise in Session 6 uses trees as a metaphor to facilitate centering.
  • The “Faces and Masks” exercise does helps to facilitate connection to your True Self. The premise behind the exercise is to image that an archaeologist finds your mask a thousand years from now. What could he/she tell about you from observing your mask?
  • A habit of thought or action that gets passed along from one person to another is called a “meme.” “Meme” comes from the Greek word for “imitated thing,” therefore a meme is a pattern of imitated or inherited thought or behavior.
  • The Attitude of Gratitude exercise illustrates the principle of Nature as Nurture.
  • The ‘downstairs’ portion of the brain, the limbic system, is engaged in fighting, fleeing, or freezing.