The Eco-Friendly Therapist: An Interpretative Literature Review of Obstacles and Solutions to Practicing Ecotherapy
This dissertation uses the science and creativity of hermeneutic (interpretive) research to explore ecotherapy, a therapeutic modality that aims to heal the human-nature relationship through facilitating the healing of humans and the natural world. Ecotherapy includes, and goes beyond, the interpersonal concerns of clients, by locating them in the world and recognising our reciprocal relationship with the environment. Ecotherapy utilises the restorative qualities that nature offers by stepping outside the therapy room, or through bringing elements of nature indoors.
This dissertation provides a history and overview of ecotherapy practice, along with a summary of ecotherapy modalities. Five key obstacles to practicing ecotherapy and any solutions are explored in depth. These five obstacles are: (1) lack of time and money; (2) boundary, confidentiality, and legal concerns; (3) poor location; (4) that ecotherapy was considered to be irrelevant to treatment goals; and (5) a lack of awareness or confidence in implementing ecotherapy. Also included are ecotherapy practice examples along with theoretical explanations.