The healing of capacity of nature
The capacity for us to connect to one another and to share our troubles is undoubtedly a powerful healing resource. Within counselling, the relationship that is formed between the therapist and the person who is seeking help is such a big part of whether the healing happens or not. Sometimes the connection between therapist and client can take on the form of that nurturing parent, that for many people was not properly available during childhood.
However, another important part of therapy is the safety it provides. A big part of this is knowing that there will always be a moment in the week, usually at the same time and same place, where it’s possible for the person seeking help, to come and talk, to unpack, to connect, to express what has been on their minds, in a very real way and for them to know they will be heard. This provides a level of assurance, a sort of built in safety within the week. For many seeking emotional support, taking time out to look after their own emotional well being, can affirm that they are taking time to look after themselves. It’s a bit like finding that nurturing parent within ourselves that knows we can look out for ourselves too. This affirmation can be so empowering as it’s both liberating and reassuring to know we can help ourselves by taking action to seek help in a way that we choose is best for us.
But what about the place this all happens in? Do you remember those happier moments in childhood where you can still somehow remember the the lovely smells, sounds, textures and colours of everything around you. It might be a room or a place that you visited. It could be a holiday on the beach, the smell of the salt, sand and seaweed on the beach and then maybe fish and chips after a fun packed day on the beach where we screamed with delight as the big white waves rushed towards us and tried to soak our rolled up trousers, and then later looking into the quieter fascinating rock pools full of a different miniature worlds.
When I talk to many people it’s often the country side that brings back lovely memories. Somehow being in nature with the sounds of the birds, fresh air, scents of flowers, farmyards and soil. These sensory experiences can have the capacity to deeply impact some of us and create a sort of reassurance that all is ok somewhere, somehow.
The power of contact within nature
Imagine combining all these different aspects, being with a trusted person, on a regular basis, in a very deeply reassuring and sensory environment. More recently, some therapists have been offering a different kind of therapy, by offering counselling in a different environment, within nature, a sort of walk and talk. As a trouble is shared and explored with that trusted person, softly in the background, there is the buzz of crickets, the occasional repetition of the blackbird singing, the sense of the sun that is always there as we are affirmed deeply, unconsciously that it’s always been there, consistently it’s left us in the evening, just after sun sets, but always returned in the morning to wake us up, like a parent saying good night and then after the night and the long sleep, waking us with a good old cuppa in the morning.
These sounds and senses can positively impact us deeply within our heart. Maybe it taps into that part of us that remembers that deep need to feel connected to something else. So as we walk and talk, something forms a deeper unconscious connection within our psyche. This connection can help form maybe a vital process towards the overall integration between our own troubles and a deeper understanding that we are connected to something bigger, and that something bigger offers some safety and reassurance. Although not everyone’s cup of tea, getting out into nature and talking about life’s troubles can add an extra layer of something that is needed to heal.
The late Psychotherapist and author, Martin Jordan, talks within his book, Nature and Therapy, about the ‘the use of nature as a metaphor for the human condition’. Jordan highlights the process, that can occur unconsciously, to project out our inner conflict out onto the natural world and find meaningful metaphors. Witnessing these metaphors, which relate to the deep feelings we have within us can help us make sense of ourselves, our situations in a way that takes us away from isolation and back towards connection again, something many understand and feel the human psyche deeply craves.
Wether going for a walk and talk with a trusted friend, within nature or maybe along the seashore, or walking and talking with a trusted therapist, within nature, could it be that maybe the combination of connecting on a real genuine level within a deeply nurturing environment, rich in metaphor can combine to create a perfect tonic for emotional healing?