Reviewed By Cara Swanston - BA MBAC Adv. Dip.
What Is Wild Therapy?
31 March 2021
Wild Therapy, based in Holywood, takes talking therapy out into the great outdoors. Here’s what their sessions involve.
Therapist, Ellie Hobson, founded WILD THERAPY as a way to offer outdoor therapy and one-to-one walk-and-talk counselling sessions. Wild Therapy is based in Holywood and sessions are available across the North Down & Ards borough. We chat with Ellie to find out more about Wild Therapy.
When it comes to therapy, sometimes doing it in a way that suits you is how you’ll get the most out of the experience. Every therapist will have a different approach to their therapeutic practice and it’s up to us to decide what suits us best. The wonderful thing about therapy is the diversity of options and how the capacity to heal and help ourselves can happen in many ways.
What is Wild Therapy?
Wild Therapy is a fresh and organic approach to therapy and is the outcome of two of my passions; the desire to see people pursue emotional health and transformation and the use of the great outdoors as a natural facilitator in this transformation process.
Why is therapy outside different to therapy inside?
Obviously there are physical health benefits with outdoor therapy. Breathing in fresh air, moving your body, the open nature of sessions, I believe all serve to enhance the experience of therapy. There is so much research in the realm of trauma about how we absorb trauma in our bodies, and so, naturally we will also release it through our bodies. I firmly believe, and have experienced for myself, the power of movement as a vital part of the therapeutic process.
I also offer wild swimming for those who are interested. Again, the benefits of cold water immersion are increasingly becoming more widespread with the growing influence of Wim Hof and other known celebrities, like Ben Fogle, who are talking about cold water swimming.
Just being in nature and taking time to notice and observe our natural world are healing in themselves. I often take time out in a session to just sit and watch the sea lapping up against the rocks or to listen to the birds in the trees. It can also be a little bit less intimidating to walk and talk rather than coming into an enclosed space with someone for the first time and sitting face-to-face. It feels like a more natural process to me. I do think though that we miss some of the felt presence of room based work and that feeling of being held, so I am also exploring how to offer sessions in maybe a cabin or a pod in the future.
What can I expect from a Wild Therapy session? Where do we go? What do we do?
I work mostly along the Coastal Path at Helens Bay. We would meet in the car park and then head along the coastal path for a walk and maybe up into the forest at Crawfordsburn Country Park. We would begin by listening to the reasons you might be coming for counselling and to find out a bit more about you and your story up to now. We would also think about your relationships with your family and friends; what it was like growing up for you and some of your earliest childhood memories. As well as this, we would think about self esteem. How do you connect with yourself? What’s your inner voice like? We might spend some time in stillness, focusing on nature and taking time to connect with your body by incorporating some breath work. It’s also an option to go for a wild swim if that’s something that you would be interested in doing.
Can I choose where we go?
Yes I’m happy to explore other places, depending on distance and time availability. I’ve done some sessions at Redburn Country Park in Holywood.
How and where do I sign up for Wild Therapy?
Wild Therapy is an outdoor therapeutic organisation offering one-one counselling & retreats. I created Wild Therapy in 2019 after walking 400kms on The Portuguese Camino. It has been birthed out of my passion to offer professional counselling in nature. I wanted to offer a fresh and organic approach to therapy that incorporates a holistic approach to healing, recognising that our bodies, minds and souls are interconnected. I believe movement and simple breath work can be utilised alongside professional counselling to create a path towards healing.
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