• Elspeth Robertson

Every Session Plants a Tree

For every individual, group, and online session that I facilitate, one tree is planted with the One Tree Planted reforestation project.


Did you come to a therapeutic art-making group? You planted a tree.

Attend weekly counselling sessions with me? Each time, you've planted a tree.

Have you walked with me out in the trees, surrounded by nature? One more tree was added to the enviornment.


Cultivating trees is not only good for the environment by cleaning the air, capturing water and promoting biodiversity, but forests and other natural landscapes are intrinsic to mental health and fulfillment. Eco-grief and eco-anxiety are becoming incredibly common as our natural landscapes change due to climate change. Humans are not separate from the natural world, and environmental losses are also human losses.


In my work as a counsellor, I view humans as existing in a web of interconnectedness which includes other humans, animals and natural landscpe. However, our industrial environment has effectively disconnected us from so many natural sources of healing, joy and fulfillment. Connecting my practice to reforestation efforts is integral to the authenticity of my therapy practice.


Here are a few examples of how the environment affects our psychology and mental wellbeing:


When asked to express images of fulfillment, almost without exception people will invoke natural settings such as streams, oceans, trees, the colours green and blue and soundscapes of birds, rain or waterfalls (Dreikurs, 1986; Williams, 2017).


Contact with nature leads to deep reflection and evokes emotional and self-transcendent experiences which an be a catalyst for spiritual awakening and allows for personal openness and dialogue. (Hinds, 2016).


Reconnection to nature can produce healing and joy within the mind, body and soul (Buzzel, 2016)


One Tree Planted helps to connect Intrinsic Therapy to a wider community, expanding the web of interconnectedness and pays homage to natural landscapes as our original teachers and healers. Through this initiative, I can play my part in becoming an integral member of the interconnected community, working to build a world of equality, community and ecological stability, where there are higher chances of fostering care and happiness (McKibben, 2007).


And who wouldn't be happy hugging a tree?

Disclaimer: This blog post is for educational purposes and is not therapy or medical care.

Find a counsellor in your area on Psychology Today or Counselling Match.


If you are interested in working together therapeutically, book a discovery session with Elspeth.


References


Buzzel, L. (2016). The many ecotherapies. In J. Hinds & M. Jordan (Ed.), Ecotherapy: Theory, research and practice (pp.70-79). Macmillan.


Dreikurs, S. E. (1986) Cows can be purple. Adler School of Professional Psychology.


Hinds, J. (2016). Eudemonic philosophy and human(istic)-nature relationships. In J. Hinds & M. Jordan (Ed.), Ecotherapy: Theory, research and practice (pp. 45-51). Macmillan.


McKibben, B. (2007). Deep Economy: the Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future. Times Books, Henry Holt and Company.


Williams, Florence. (2017). The Nature Fix. W. W. Norton Company, Inc.