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Alex Douglas-Kane shares her experiences and understanding of Discover Nature Awareness

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Natural Awareness...

gets participants to connect with their heart and to transfer the lessons learnt from nature (be it connecting with a tree, an animal, plant or another human being) into an opportunity to change old behaviour thus creating the potential for new healthy behaviour to manifest, by becoming more self-aware. Within an established therapeutic-programme, individuals can reflect upon their experiences through listening, discussing and processing with their peers/counsellors who have shared a similar experience, by abstracting practical insights about their behaviour and that of others.

Nature-Awareness could be seen as a “Halfway House” (Greenway, 1995, p. 133), who introduced this concept along with alternative methods like yoga and meditation into his wilderness-programme, the outcome of which was that before and after a wilderness-experience he found that “…dysfunctions almost completely ceased” (p. 133). Because Nature-Awareness comfortably functions between a residential and wilderness setting, (reducing our physical impact on the wilderness), nature becomes more accessible as part of an individuals healing process. Lau & McMain (2005) state that “… recent innovations in psychological treatments have integrated mindfulness meditation techniques with traditional cognitive and behavioural therapies, challenging traditional cognitive and behavioural therapists to integrate acceptance - and change-based strategies” (p. 863), with the emergence of mindfulness (the so called Third Wave) models like CBT are advancing, creating the potential for greater integration of alternative-therapies.


While not a stand alone intervention Nature-Awareness promotes behavioural, cognitive and affective change demonstrating an integrated approach which synergistically works with other therapies, such as Cognitive Behavioural Techniques (CBT), Transactional Analysis (TA), Gestalt (GE), 12-Steps (STEPS) which is used to deliver an end result GREATER than the use of a single therapy used in isolation, as an intervention Nature-Awareness can and does compliment main stream models.

Drawing Great-spotted Woodpecker by Geoffrey McMullan