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  • Writer's pictureKesley Cage

The Healing Power of Nature

Updated: Feb 21

"The miracle is not to walk on water, but to walk on the earth with peace in your heart." - Thich Nhat Hanh

Nature is an integral part of our existence as human beings, and as we have evolved, we have developed a complex relationship with it. The ancient Britons revered nature and considered it sacred, and their deep connection with the land and the seasons was an integral part of their culture. Today, our relationship with nature has become increasingly strained due to modernization, industrialisation, and urbanisation. Many people now find themselves disconnected from nature, and this can have negative consequences on their mental and physical health.

As an outdoor therapist, I often witness how consciously connecting with nature supports individuals to deepen their sense of spirituality, widen their perspective on life and enhance their inner well-being. There are numerous psychological benefits to spending time in nature and many of these have been recorded in scientific literature. It's clear that time outdoors reduces stress, anxiety, and depression, as well as improved cognitive function and creativity (Bratman et al., 2015; Berman et al., 2012; Williams, 2019). Nature-based therapy has been found to be effective in treating a wide range of mental health issues, including anxiety disorders, depression, and addiction (Hynes et al., 2014; Jordan et al., 2010; Jordan et al., 2017).

Incorporating nature connection into counselling frequently helps individuals develop a deeper connection with their ancestral roots. Many ancient cultures, including the ancient Britons, believed that the land and the seasons were sacred and held deep spiritual significance. By connecting with nature, individuals can tap into this ancestral wisdom and develop a deeper sense of our nature-based identity and purpose (Branstrom et al., 2011; Jordan et al., 2017).

Counselling sessions that take place outdoors can be particularly effective in helping individuals connect with nature and their ancestral roots. Starhawk (1999) writes that “Nature is not a place to visit. It is home.” In an outdoor counselling setting, it is possible appreciate the natural world and its rhythms, as well as gain a sense of belonging and connection to the earth. Outdoor therapy may be particularly beneficial for you if you struggle with mental or emotional distress and experience feeling of disconnection (Jordan et al., 2017).

Outdoor therapy can help individuals connect with nature and their ancestral roots, leading to improved mental and physical well-being. By spending time in nature, individuals can tap into their innate connection with the earth and its cycles, gaining a sense of purpose and identity. As Alan Watts (1957) famously stated, “We do not ‘come into’ this world; we come out of it, as leaves from a tree.”


Berman, M. G., Jonides, J., & Kaplan, S. (2008). The cognitive benefits of interacting with nature. Psychological Science, 19(12), 1207-1212.

Bratman, G. N., Daily, G. C., Levy, B. J., & Gross, J. J. (2015). The benefits of nature experience: Improved affect and cognition. Landscape and Urban Planning, 138, 41-50.

Branstrom, R., Duncan, L. G., & Moskowitz, J. T. (2011). The connection process: A metaphorical representation of mindfulness, acceptance, and empathy in psychotherapy. Psychotherapy Research

Berman, M. G., Jonides, J., & Kaplan, S. (2008). The cognitive benefits of interacting with nature. Psychological Science, 19(12), 1207-1212.

Berman, M. G., Kross, E., Krpan, K. M., Askren, M. K., Burson, A., Deldin, P. J., ... & Jonides, J. (2012). Interacting with nature improves cognition and affect for individuals with depression. Journal of Affective Disorders, 140(3), 300-305.

Bomford, M. (2012). The healing power of ancestral connections. Counseling Today, 54(2), 18-22.

Geller, S. M. (2012). Ecotherapy: Theory, research and practice. New York, NY: Springer.

Liehr, P., & Diaz, N. (2010). A pilot study examining the meaning of ancestral knowledge to women of Mexican descent. Journal of Transcultural Nursing, 21(2), 151-159.

Mind. (2018). Ecotherapy. Retrieved from

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