Nature therapy, also known as green therapy or ecotherapy, is the applied practice of the emergent field of ecopsychology, which was developed by Theodore Roszak. Ecopsychology is succinctly explained as an “interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary field that focuses on the synthesis of ecology and psychology and the promotion of sustainability.” It is an area of psychology that embraces ecology and aims to be holistic in theory and practice. Ecotherapy therapy involves intentional therapeutic interventions and activities in nature to remediate mental health symptoms and boost overall well-being. The American Psychological Association (APA) describes it as the integration of outdoor activities into mental health counseling. According to the Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion, nature therapy “acknowledges the vital role of nature and addresses the human-nature relationship…it [considers] the latest scientific understandings of our universe and the deepest indigenous wisdom.” A growing body of research highlights the positive benefits of connecting with nature. Examples of such benefits may include, but are not limited to, any combination of the following, provided by an array of sources:
- Strengthened development: Researchers have concluded that direct contact with nature significantly and positively impact children’s affective, cognitive, and moral development.
- Enhanced cognition: Research into childhood outdoor experiences has identified increased cognitive functioning to be a key benefit of interaction with ecosystems. One study showed that exposure to natural environments is good for the brain as it improves one’s working memory, cognitive flexibility, and attentional-control tasks.
- Decreased symptoms of anxiety and/ or depression: Results from one study conducted by Mind, a mental health charity organization, found that a nature walk reduced symptoms of depression in 71% of participants, compared to only 45% of those who took a walk through a shopping center.
- Attention restoration: In a meta-analysis of 31 randomized studies, almost all showed support for attention restoration theory, which is the idea that the ability to concentrate can be boosted or restored with exposure to natural environments.
- Improved self-esteem and mood: Empirical evidence indicates that short-term walking interventions, particularly in greenspaces, energize and enhance personal well-being and vitality.
- Increased happiness: A study published in Science Advances found evidence that contact with nature is associated with increases in happiness, a sense of well-being, positive social interactions, and a feeling of meaningfulness in life.
Nature therapy offers a holistic and accessible approach to supporting teenagers’ mental health. By incorporating nature into their lives, teenagers can experience a wide range of benefits that positively impact their emotional well-being, cognitive abilities, social connections, and overall quality of life.
For Information and Support
Every family in need of mental health treatment must select a program that will best suit the needs of their family. When one member of a family struggles, it impacts everyone in the family unit. To maximize the benefits of treatment we work closely with the entire family to ensure that everyone is receiving the support they need through these difficult times.
Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know needs mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact a person’s life, long term. Pursuing support at the beginning of one’s journey can put the individual in the best position to learn how to manage themselves in a healthy way so they can go on to live happy and fulfilling lives.
OUR KNOWLEDGEABLE ADMISSIONS TEAM CAN BE REACHED 24/7 AT INFO@PACIFICRTC.COM OR CALL: (866) 602-5512
We are available to answer any questions you may have regarding mental health treatment and our residential program, anytime. Contact us today using the form to the right.