Mental health awareness week 2021: connecting with nature
Using the Outdoors.
For me, using the outdoors and nature for sessions has been invaluable. There are times when clients share that they feel ‘stuck’ when meeting in rooms and this changes with the freedom the outdoors can bring.
Alongside this it introduces the element of fresh air and low impact exercise (mainly walking and talking), nature offers an opportunity to return to the primal mode and, if the right areas are picked, can still have the sense of containment and safety. Having an opportunity to express raw emotions both verbally and physically whilst looking out across the Welsh countryside can be an invaluable experience for some.
Using the outdoors can also reduce the stereotype of therapy. Instead of meeting in an enclosed space, clients can walk with a drink and explore their local areas/a new aspect of Wales. From recent experience, this has really benefitted the engagement with men specifically.
What the Outdoors means to me.
Whenever possible I look to move outdoors within my personal life, whether it is through exercise, walking or just taking time to breath and be still. The outdoors presents the opportunity to return to our roots (physically and metaphorically) allowing the opportunity to feel grounded and secure.
During the pandemic living in close proximity to two mountains has benefitted me no end. A chance to escape from the claustrophobic elements of both working and living at home and move into open space, pausing to release any unwanted energy (through movement and breathing). It also provides the opportunity to be alone and step away from the psychological impact from the pandemic.
Being a Drama Therapist I have also moved the majority of my work back to nature and the outdoors opening doors for expression and journeys with clients with the backdrop of the Welsh valleys and mountains.
Bryn Morgan - Bereavement Officer - The Jacob Abraham Foundation