Would you like to learn more about getting certified in the field of ecotherapy? We’ve outlined ten ecotherapy training programs where you can further your education, from simple online programs to an advanced degree.
The practice of healing with nature takes many forms. Sometimes this is traditional psychology performed in an outdoor setting using environmental tools.
Often ecotherapy goes broader, describing a reciprocal process where the human and nature heal each other. It can also include the rebirth of traditional practices like shamanic healing and yoga.
Counselors can take different ecotherapy programs, from certificates to graduate degrees. Here are descriptions of some excellent programs.
10 Ways to Earn A Certification in Ecotherapy
Currently, there are no formal standards about becoming an ecotherapist. This leads to both opportunity and confusion.
For existing psychologists and counselors, the process can be as simple as engaging in continuing education credits or self-study. This can stretch upwards to a master’s degree.
Some programs offer strong certificates and degrees that will provide a structured set of classes with a credential awarded at the end. Outdoor and community leaders can also enter a program to gain some of the counseling tools they need.
Online Training & Certificate Programs
Online training programs are generally faster and less expensive than formal graduate school. However, they also offer less coverage and depth than the more extended programs. If you want to learn the basics to apply to your therapy practice, one of these programs may be best for you.
1. Earthbody Institute
The Earthbody Institute offers an online ecotherapy certificate program. This program teaches a wide range of techniques and interventions.
Practitioners learn about applying ecotherapy both indoors and outdoors and developing a reciprocal relationship with the outdoors. Classes focus on topics such as animal therapy, horticulture, and arts. They created this program for psychologists, counselors, and those who work in similar fields, such as ministers and teachers.
The program comprises a mix of webinars, online classes, and individual consultations. These classes are small, capped at 12 students. They have rolling start times throughout the year, lasting for 12 weeks. The cost of the program is $997. Earthbody offers a special section for BIPOC students and traditional Continuing Education (CE) certificates.
2. Mindful Ecotherapy Center
The Mindful Ecotherapy Center teaches an approach centered on mindfulness or being rooted in the present. The ecotherapy certificate focuses on mindfulness practices in the outdoors. Class topics include radical acceptance, letting go, and recognizing nature as a healer, teacher, nurturer, and metaphor.
Its program is an online set of classes. (But they teach in-person classes once each year in Seattle.) Each class involves a reading, getting outside, and coursework, including experiential exercises. The classes meet once every week for 12 weeks.
The online self-guided Certified Facilitator Package costs $269.95 and has a rolling start. The Mindful Ecotherapy Center also does continuing education. They also offer classes, such as Ecospirituality: The Way of the Coyote, that trains coaches and teachers.
3. TerraSoma Institute
TerraSoma Eco-psychology Training Institute offers a 5-month in-person program in Professional Ecotherapy Certificate (call-in ability is available for some sessions.) This course has its heart in nature immersion, getting people outside, and seeing their connections to nature.
It also assures students are reading in theory and research. It teaches outdoor skills, including ceremony and creativity, while also offering work in assessment and treatment planning and ethics.
This program includes an 8-day immersion class, eight other classes, two ecotherapy sessions, homework assignments with a final paper. The TerraSoma course costs $3997, although there is a $300 discount for enrolling early. Enrollment caps at ten to grant everyone some individual attention. Courses run four times each year, seasonally.
4. Tariki Trust
Ecotherapy training at the Tariki Trust is explicitly Buddhist and based on the Other-Centered Approach of mindful engagement with others. The Ten Directions Ecotherapy Training Program reflects on personal and collective engagements with nature using creative and therapeutic methods.
The Ecotherapy Training Program is available live or online, where the learner does much work out of doors. The online component offers choices for the learner of different lessons and projects to better fit their needs. They also offer a second-year program. The Core Sequence costs £1450 for full training or $625 online (with early pay discounts). Each of the five core units takes 21 days at an hour per day of work.
Graduate Programs with an Ecotherapy Specialty
If you have an undergraduate degree and want to get a master’s in counseling and ecotherapy, one of these graduate programs may be the best choice for you. These programs are deep dives, where you emerge at the end as a credentialed counselor.
5. Monmouth University
Monmouth University in New Jersey offers an ecotherapy specialization area to graduate students in counseling. Students complete two classes and an internship. Students learn various techniques involving the outdoors, plants, and animals, including forest bathing and biophilic design.
These classes are part of the Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, a 60-credit, two-year program that leads to licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor in New Jersey. The department schedules classes for working adults in afternoons and evenings. Costs depend on financial aid offered.
6. Naropa University
Naropa University, in Colorado, is a Buddhist-inspired university offering an MA in Eco-psychology. The program focuses on the link between human health and the health of the earth and our connections with our physical environment. Naropa has a contemplative educational environment and a commitment to inner development. They build meditation practices into the program. Every student also has a service-learning placement.
This low-residency program requires students to be on campus for ten days at the start of the year, two weeks in the summer of the second year, and two five-day intensives in January. These days are about a third of class hours. Students complete the rest of the coursework through the internet. The first year costs $25,500 and the second $17,050, but financial aid brings those numbers down.
7. Lewis and Clark College
Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon, offers a graduate certificate in Eco-psychology. This is an expansion of a graduate program at a top-rated US’ GreenSchool.” The program has a mix of theory and skills classes using the environment and outdoors. It focuses on interacting with nature and our embeddedness in the natural world.
Graduate students in several therapy-based programs can take this certificate. Alumni, people who have completed an MA in counseling, and current master’s students at other schools are all welcome to join the program as well.
The eight credit hours (where each class is one credit hour) cost $7,800, but most students get substantial financial aid. Students take these classes over 2-3 semesters. The graduate certificate requires 6 classes and one immersion experience.
Additional Training & Specialty Programs
Not every program fits a neat mold – here are a few other ways to get training.
8. Prescott College
Prescott College in Arizona offers a low-residency online program in Nature-Based Counseling. It combines wilderness learning with different ecological approaches to therapy. Students complete four intensive placements: wilderness, urban, nature, and one on a special issue.
9. Pacifica Graduate Institute
The Retreat at the Pacifica Graduate Institute’s Certificate in Eco-psychology is one class for three hours of credit, offered online over three months. It costs $25 for continuing education and $695 to $1095 for college credit. The program aims to challenge traditional thought in both ecology and psychology.
10. Southwestern College
Southwestern College and New Earth Institute have a certificate program in ecotherapy. This program is a 64-hour certificate with four required classes. The price is $365 for 16 continuing education credits. Those taking it as part of a degree program will pay the higher tuition rate. Students choose from a selection of varied classes.
Other Related Training Courses
There are many sub-specialties of ecotherapy you can explore, such as wilderness therapy, forest bathing, animal-assisted therapy, and therapeutic gardening. Check out these related articles where you can learn more about each specialty.
- How to Become a Certified Forest Therapist: 5 Programs to Consider
- How to Become a Wilderness Therapist: Degrees and Internships
Ecotherapy Programs Offer Diverse Experiences
Someone learning about ecotherapy has a wide variety of choices open to them, from inexpensive continuing education credits to more immersive degree programs.
Costs, time, and courses required differ between programs. Each of these programs offers its own unique approach to teaching the varied subjects that make up ecotherapy.