Where to Practice Ecotherapy – Five Unique Locations for Healing

Trying to decide where to schedule your new ecotherapy session? Any location with an abundance of nature is suitable for practicing ecotherapy. However, sometimes a new area can inspire a different way of looking at things or even a breakthrough.

Many of our regular ecotherapy sessions take place close to home. A local park, therapeutic garden, hiking trails, or even in your own backyard are popular choices. But if you are looking for a new place to reconnect with nature and enjoy its healing benefits, we’ve got a few new good ones to try.

5 Unique Places for Ecotherapy Work

Here are five unique places to practice ecotherapy by yourself or in a group setting. 

1. Go Horseback Riding

couple riding horses on a ranch in the mountains

Riding horses or going on a trail ride is a great way to immerse yourself in nature. Spending time with horses can build trust, improve confidence, bring perspective to a situation, and many other benefits. The animal’s sheer size forces us to let go a little and put our welfare and trust in the horse.

Therapeutic Riding was first practiced in the US during the sixties. But equine therapy goes back much further to the ancient Greeks.

Equine therapy, also known as hippotherapy, is a medically recognized practice that can benefit both children and adults with cognitive, physical, or emotional disabilities.

2. Visit A Sensory Garden

Sensory gardens are designed to appeal to one (or more) of our five senses. The most common sensory gardens are planted to delight our sense of smell, sight, and touch. 

small girl in pink dress touching the plants in a sensory garden

Many sensory gardens include herbs since they engage many of our senses. Consider the herb garden planted with lavender, thyme, and rosemary that appeals to our sense of smell. The sensory herb garden delights the touch as you crush the herb leaves between your fingers to enhance the aroma. And mints can be planted to taste.

The sense of hearing can also be incorporated into the garden. 

Children are encouraged to shake the seeds in the drying flower pods. Tall grasses may be planted that make swishing noises in the wind. 

Community healthcare or medical facilities build sensory gardens for their patients. See the directory provided by Healing Landscapes. These gardens may be designed to treat children with Autism and used in senior centers to encourage daily garden walks. 

3. Find an Adventure Therapy Experience

Adventure therapy is a fun ecotherapy activity that offers a unique way to teach our brain to cope with challenges. It is known as experiential therapy. In this type of therapy, there is an element of risk while engaging in physical activity or mental obstacles. 

group of women encouraging each other through a ropes course - a great place to practice adventure therapy

A well-known activity in this type of program is the rope challenge. Teams need to cooperate while maneuvering through a hanging rope obstacle course. The course teaches skills like perseverance, leadership, teamwork, trust. It can build confidence for the participant when encountering future life challenges. 

Therapists recommend this type of therapy for survivors of trauma, to overcome substance abuse problems, troubled youths, depression, and even team-building for coworkers.

4. Take a Nature Art Therapy Course

If you attended summer camp, you might recall going to an arts and crafts session. You may have made bracelets or collages with natural items like leaves, shells, or moss. 

two people cutting branches in an arts and crafts project

One of the benefits of working with natural items is that no single item is uniform or perfect. Nature has flaws, a chipped stone or uneven branch, yet they are all beautiful. 

By working with the materials’ organic shapes, we learn to let go of the quest for perfection. By finding beauty in the natural state of things, we can also see the beauty in ourselves. The result is letting go of the need to be perfect.

5. Go on a Vision Quest

For centuries, humans have walked into the woods to quiet the mind. The solo journey is used to seek answers to questions, and reconnect with the natural world. It may be to mark a specific occasion, such as a young person coming of age. Another purpose is to resolve a problem you are struggling to solve. 

woman walking alone in the desert with a backpack during a wilderness therapy retreat in a remote location to practice this solo form of ecotherapy

Several organizations offer guided Visions Quests to help you make sure you get the most of the experience and stay safe in the process. One example is Wilderness Reflections. There are many types of experiences in their program, depending on what you are trying to achieve. 

The first step is always preparation. You will learn the basic rules of the quest, such as the history of the location, safety, and survival techniques. Your instructor will teach you to create an inner map of the experience. This ensures you will get the most benefits and achieve your primary goals for the quest.  

A typical quest is three days in the wilderness. During this time, you will be on your own rediscovering yourself and letting nature help you see the world more clearly. 

The therapist will guide you through a reconnecting process after you emerge from your journey. This part of the process helps you analyze or share what you learned and help you get ready to rejoin the outside world. Many have said it can be a life-altering experience. 

Where Will Your Next Big Breakthrough Happen?

Use this list to add variety to your ecotherapy practice or take it to the next level. Whether you have a formal approach with patients or are working on your own, it’s always fun to mix it up and try something new!