This page details some of the different trainings available in ecotherapy and ecopsychology in the UK. Please also see the ‘Links‘ pages for related therapy and psychology websites and blogs – this page lists ecopsychology trainings, and there are many other related trainings available. If you would like to find out more about a particular course listed below please contact the individual training providers listed on this page for more details rather than contacting the website administrator!
A useful starting point is a question we are often asked is how do I train to become an ecopsychologist?
It’s a good question. There is no complete training available in this field, although there are both long and short term courses available. The first stage for most ecopsychologists is to train and gain working experience in fields such as: psychotherapy, counselling, bodywork or the caring professions, outdoor education or environmental work of some kind. The second stage is to use the wide range of courses now available to help integrate ecopsychology into your practice and ways of seeing. An important ongoing element in an ecopsychology training is to find and develop our own personal practice of which nurtures and supports our re-connection with the earth and other elements.
For practice days and weekend courses we used to forward readers to the Ecopsychology Ning Website which no longer exists. We will inform you when an replacement resource emerges here or elsewhere. Longer courses are listed below; each course has a different emphasis.
This course explores psychological, spiritual and practical aspects of working outdoors to facilitate personal and ecological healing. It is designed to help you develop the confidence to start working therapeutically in a variety of outdoor locations. The learning process combines theoretical perspectives with practical skills, delivered through a combination of experiential activities, group work, talks and guided reading. The course is split into three sections. A one-week residential programme will be followed by a series of six online seminars, leading to a second one-week residential. There will be a total of eight residential days and six, one-hour online sessions. Facilitated by Mary-Jayne Rust and Dave Key. Location: Common Ground, Common Ground is an education, retreat and ecotherapy centre based on a farm in Fermanagh (explore Common Ground’s website for this and other short courses).
Nature in Mind – (Confer)
A Certificate or Diploma in Eco-Psychotherapy, Systemic Thinking and Imagination in Mental Health. A Course for Psychotherapists in a Time of Ecological and Cultural Change: Saturday 4 February 2023 – Sunday 1 October 2023. A unique course for psychotherapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists with the aim of integrating nature, systems theory and the imagination into contemporary therapeutic practice by way of online lectures, in person and immersive experiential contact with nature. This will include experiential therapeutic work out-doors and camping as a group. The course is designed to have a strong transformative impact on participants by encouraging new perspectives, not only on our relationship to therapy itself but also its context within our current social and political institutions and the ecological systems of our planet. The course is held and contained by Roger Duncan, and Dr Catriona Mellor.
Photo credit: Jane Glenzinska
Environmental Arts Therapy offers a post graduate training consisting of 12 weekends spread over one year. This course is suitable for final year and qualified arts therapists who wish to enhance and extend their practice with working with nature. Facilitated by Ian Siddons Heginworth
The Diploma in Nature-based Psychotherapy is a year long post graduate training delivered through experiential learning and taught seminars over 8 weekends. The course is fully immersive taking place in woodland and nature reserves within London. The training acknowledges nature as a therapeutic container, co-counsellor and primary source of attachment. Our own relationship with nature is central to nature-based psychotherapy and the course focuses on supporting your connection to nature through embodied and sensory experiencing. The training incorporates anthropological perspectives, traditional ecological knowledge and attachment theory. Facilitated by Beth Collier.
Natural Change Facilitator Training: A two-year course to train facilitators to lead programmes that use the Natural Change approach. The course is based around four wilderness residentials with mentoring, seminars, self-guided reading and the development of personal and professional practice in-between times. More information.
Natural Academy: is a non-profit, eco-social enterprise which has offered training in nature-based facilitation to individuals and organisations for the past 12 years, with its main training base being a woodland in North Somerset, just outside Bristol. It is nationally accredited with the Open College Network in London. The Academy offers webinars, ongoing support meetings, three-day ‘threshold’ courses and longer courses. It offers a year-long foundation in Ecopsychology and Nature Based Practice, which is a level 3 accredited course designed for people who want to develop their work with others in nature. It also offers the two-year Pathway Diploma in Ecopsychology and Nature-Based Practice which is designed to ensure practitioners are able to deepen already established learning and experience and/or begin t:o work within the 3 realms of practice: 1. Nature, Health and Wellbeing: 2. Natural Healing and Development/Ecotherapy and 3. Deeper Nature/Spiritual Ecology. More information. Course facilitators: Rhonda Brandrick and Michéal Connors. Contact information.
Exploring Ecopsychology – through the wheel of the year: This year-long ecopsychology course is based on a co-operative inquiry model, aiming to become a relational and participative on-going spiritual practice for those who attend. The group come together in various formats eight times throughout the year in line with the four Fundamental Solar Festivals and the four Cross Quarter Fire Festivals that make up the Wheel of the Year. The eight meetings will consist of one immersive, virtual weekend and three in-person, immersive residential weekends in Sussex, with two hour zoom meetings in between, and peer and tutorial contact. This course is for anyone questioning the wisdom of modern-day customs and culture and seeking to explore the relationship between the human and more than human worlds or yearning for a holistic engagement in questioning what it is to be both human and humane.
Ten Directions: founded in 2011, this training programme takes a broad view of ecotherapy and its place in the wider landscape of ecopsychology and environmental concern. Students come from a wide variety of backgrounds including counsellors and psychotherapists who want to take their work outdoors, spiritual and shamanic practitioners, and people engaged in various outdoor fields who want to become more psychologically orientated in their work with individuals or groups. The programme, which is grounded in a synthesis of Buddhist and Western approaches, consists of 5 core units, each delivered over a 4 week period, during which students receive daily exercises by email and post responses in an online forum. These core units are practical and are aimed at developing a regular outdoor practice. In addition, students attend 90 hours of seminars, workshops or training intensives of their choice out of a wide range of courses on offer. There is also an option to carry on for a 2nd year of mentored practice. More information. Course Facilitators include: Caroline Brazier, Stephen McCabe, Paul Maiteny, Harriet Lock, Sam Lewis, Fairlie Winship and Elise Tate as well as a number of other contributors.
Venture Trust Outdoor Therapy Service – Scotland: Venture Trust offer several distinct training programmes for people interested in developing their therapeutic skills in the outdoors. This training is built on Venture Trust’s 40-years of experience of working with complex clients in outdoor environments. This training has been developed by a team of multi-modality accredited therapists with decades of collective experience facilitating outdoor therapy and wilderness therapy. Designed with counsellors, psychotherapists and allied mental health professionals in mind, it covers aspects such as, boundaries, the setting, best practice, managing risk, working with metaphor and creative exercises in a nature-based practice. Further details are available here.
Wild Therapy: Running since 2012, this one year training brings therapy into the wild, and wildness into therapy. Wild therapy is an exploration and celebration of therapy’s wildness, its capacity to transcend the limitations we place on our own creativity and connectedness. Central to the year is encountering the other-than-human and more-than-human, and exploring their role in the therapeutic process. From this we can learn to transform fear-based defensive practice into contact-based adventurous practice. The sequence of three residentials and a non-residential weekend takes participants into increasingly wild environments, and finally into the city to explore how the journey has changed relationship with familiar domestication, and how Wild Therapy can be integrated into participant’s work. Wild Therapy was founded by Nick Totton. Current Wild Therapy training is run by Leo Guest, Jayne Johnson, Emma Palmer, Allison Priestman and Stephen Tame. More information about Wild Therapy and Wild Therapy trainings can be found here.
WTR Facilitator Development Adventure: a one year-long facilitator training and development group journey for people already facilitating The Work That Reconnects and similar eco-psychological processes, or those who wish to do so. Venue: Bath. Facilitators: Kirsti Norris, Jenny Mackewn and Chris Johnstone (author of “Find Your Power” and “Active Hop” written with Joanna Macy).
There are more longer ecopsychology courses listed within ‘Academia’ below (e.g. see the CHE module).
Ecopsychology within Psychotherapy and Counselling trainings
Wild Therapy, mentioned above, is a 1 year course which is an optional Year 3 of the Embodied Relational Training. It is an exploration and celebration of therapy’s wildness, its capacity to transcend the limitations we place on our own creativity and connectedness. Central to the year is encountering the other-than-human and more-than-human, and exploring their role in the therapeutic process. From this participants can learn to transform fear-based defensive practice into contact-based adventurous practice. There is one ‘indoor’ residential, preparing for two residentials camping in a relatively wild environment, and a final weekend focused on bringing what we have learnt back into ordinary life and therapy practise. For more info visit the Wild Therapy website.
Sweet Track Counselling Training, based in Glastonbury integrates ecopsychology into their work, including ‘Re-wilding Ecotherapy’.
Keele University: offered a Psychology Bachelor’s degree with a module in Ecopsychology taught by Dr John Hegarty, as well as other degrees incorporating ecopsychology.
The Centre for Human Ecology, Glasgow is a network for ecological and social transformation, offering courses for people who want to “be the change,” help organisations pursue greener, more ethical practices, and work towards tackling the root causes of global issues.
London South Bank University: Paul Maiteny tutors and writes for the MSc programme in Sustainability: Policy, Practice and Pedagogy. His units are informed by ecopsychology. This distance learning course has been running since 1994.
Nottingham Trent University: Formily at Nottingham Trent University, David Kidner ’s research and teaching interests are focused around the conflict between the natural order and industrialism, and include the shaping of selfhood in industrial societies, the effects of industrialisation on psychological well-being, and the relationship between culture and the natural world.
Wales University, Lampeter: Patrick Curry ‘s ongoing project concerns enchantment as a common but little-mentioned human experience – one which touches on and connects a wide range of strange bedfellows: nature, erotic communion, art, divination and spirituality. He is also very interested in related issues such as the nature of truth, metaphor, embodied phenomenology, pluralism and post-secularism.
Warwick University: John Pickering lectures on ecopsychology and related subjects in the Dept Psychology.
Warwick Fox (author of Towards a Transpersonal Ecology, published by Shambala in 1990) is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, University of Central Lancashire. He offers independent academic courses on deep ecology and more.