The Three Realms of Nature Based Practice

"When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe" —John Muir (My First Summer in the Sierra

One of the discernments that came in our previous work in bringing nature based ideas into counselling training and then later when we began to train specifically in Eco-Psychology and Nature-Based Practice, was that there are three main realms where practitioners can facilitate participants.

We understand of course that these realms are highly interconnected, of wholeness (holonic), complex, nuanced and vast (as is the whole field of Eco Psychology: and the quote above reminds us) but we have found that this has been a really simple, yet effective, set of lenses to look through for training team and the students. This has helped us and our students find new ways of seeing, sensing, exploring and discovering nature-based practice, theories, models, skills, activities and interventions.

These realms are

  • Nature, Health and Wellbeing/Green Care

  • Natural Healing and Development/Eco Therapy

  • Deeper Nature/Spiritual Ecology

The Triskele below felt like the most appropriate way of representing these realms as this symbol holds within it some of the key principles when applying this model for practice.

1. The separation of the realms is never complete, like all things within the vast complex system of the Natural Self (see previous blog) they are always interconnected, co evolving and co-arising.

2. All the realms are present at any given time when we choose to open to nature (our own and/or the natural world around us)

3. We can choose to focus in one particular realm or move between and across them.

4. Affecting one affects all the others and there is always a coming back to balance through a synthesis of experience.

5. The system is always open

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