This article addresses the ‘how’ of ‘how does wilderness therapy work’ in a practical sense; what is wilderness therapy, how is it structured, what does it really entail and what does it actually look like on the ground. I have also included a list of wilderness therapy organisations in the UK.
A guest post by blogger Angela Chick:
I was surrounded by nature as a child. I remember family walks in the winter, trudging through snow and drinking from freezing rivers. I remember island hopping in a lake with other kids from the neighbourhood, imagining we were the only people to have ever explored that land. I remember feeling a certain type of fullness when I’d return from spending time outdoors. Whether I’d been out playing in the snow and my pink cheeks were just starting to thaw, or running around catching fish in the river with our bare hands, I’d return home absolutely exhausted but absolutely full of goodness.
Read on to hear how Angela turned back to nature to overcome the mental health challenges she faced as an adult.
As a teacher, my life was split into two discrete halves. One was characterised by order and routine; the other by freedom, wildness and adventure. After a while, it just didn’t seem healthy to live like this. I wanted to bring the spirit of the wilderness into my life in a more sustainable and nourishing way; to build a life more in tune with my wild soul. Read on to find out more about my journey and my discovery of “pockets of wilderness” in the everyday.
Mankind has always walked and talked; it’s what separates us from other mammals. And I expect since our earliest days we have found the spaciousness of a long walk, and the ease of a side-by-side movement conducive to a certain kind of talk. Out on our walk, under the open skies, falling into step with our companion, grateful for the view which releases us of the necessity of eye contact, we might well take a deep breath and start to speak of what is really going on for us. And when we do so, in the English language, chances are we’ll use metaphor.
Do you know the one about the Gobhaun Saor? I inherited both my parents’ love of the spoken word and a hearty walk, and these days I love finding walks which have stories attached; myths of landscape, history and folklore which enrich the journey and activate the soul, as well as the sole! Here are four of my favourite walking tales, with my own ‘morals’, some more serious than others:
I don’t take photos. Ok, I do ever. But generally, I don’t. I’ve just checked, and in total on my computer, which is the only place they are, I have just over 6000 photos. And I’ve been alive for 36 years, and travelled to nearly 50 different countries. That’s roughly 300 photos per year of my (digital) adult life; less than one a day. In general, I don’t do photos. For me, the point of travel, especially when it’s outdoors and in nature, is to escape from technology, modernity and screen time; to switch off from social media; to stop recording, appearing or presenting, and simply to be. So, how do I grow the profile of wilderness therapy in the UK without photos or social media?
Walking and talking are the main things that humans do. These skills distinguish us from other species and define our position in the ecosystem. The fact that we can do both at the same time is a tremendous boon. Even more fortuitously, it is now being recognised that doing both together is a good idea. Walking and talking is a therapy for mental health.
A guest post from blogger and traveller Danny Newman about the interplay of mindfulness and nature.
All of us could do with slowing things down, taking a step back and making personal wellness a priority. Practising mindfulness andspending time in nature are two great ways of doing just that. Put them together and you have an ideal combination for enhancing your well-being. So, let’s take a look at mindfulness and nature in turn, before considering the benefits of combining the two.
A guest post from blogger and adventurer Seanna Fallon, about ipse wilderness' NYE journey.
I was tucked up in my sleeping bag when an anticlimactic dribble of fireworks cracked, a fresh page was turned, and a host of new hopes, dreams and goals were born. It was midnight.
I thought of all the people around the world, intoxicated in a club, or cuddled up on their sofas with a cup of tea, surrounded by those they love most, at glitzy parties or intimate dinners, or even fast asleep, greeting 2018 in the way that they had dreamed. Meanwhile I was feeling like I’d struck gold with my new year, and lamented the ones I’d wasted, doing what I thought I should be doing instead of following my heart.
This was where I was meant to be.