Informed Families Blog

Ecotherapy—A New Word for An Age-Old Solution

Posted by Informed Families on October 29, 2021 at 6:00 AM

Our ancestors lived outdoors. They exercised hard every day, whether from tending the land or chasing prey animals. They woke with the sun and went to sleep not long after sundown.

Of course, without the benefit of modern medicine they had far more diseases than we do, and therefore shorter lives. But the lives they lived were close to the land, and in tune with nature’s rhythms.

Our children, on the other hand, wake according to the school’s schedules and sleep when they can tear themselves away from their electronic toys.

A new approach

This is why more therapists are turning to something called ecotherapy to work with their young patients.

Psychologists Linda Buzzell and Craig Chalquist explain the concept in their book titled “Ecotherapy: Healing with Nature in Mind.”

This isn’t a fad, they say, but rather a “solid, theoretical, cultural, and critical foundation for ecotherapeutic practice.”

It’s an approach that helps us realize our interconnectedness with the rest of nature as a solution to numerous mental health problems.

Do try this at home

But a child or teen doesn’t necessarily have to be ready for formal therapy to reap the benefits of being in closer touch with nature.

Numerous studies have shown that exposure to nature can benefit kids (and adults) in many ways, including by improving cognitive development and lowering levels of stress.

Just a brief walk after dinner with the family can open them up to new, slower worlds outside the constant pressure of school, friends, and the ever-present pinging of their smartphones.

Or how about a weekly “adventure” into a local park, forest, or farm?

It’s not even necessary to leave the house, if your kids are into creating arts or crafts focused on nature, or if they have pets, plants, or gardens they can care for.

The important thing is to put them in touch on a regular basis with the comforts of the natural world and to teach them early that it’s a place they can always go to unplug and find solace.

Topics: ecotherapy

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We teach people how to say no to drugs and how to make healthy choices. To reduce the demand for drugs, Informed Families has focused its efforts on educating and mobilizing the community, parents and young people in order to change attitudes. In this way we counteract the pressures in society that condone and promote drug and alcohol use and abuse. The organization educates thousands of families annually about how to stay drug and alcohol free through networking and a variety of programs and services .

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