Wild Therapy is a form of Ecotherapy. This is quite a new kind of psychological therapy that is conducted in the natural environment. It is supported by evidence of the power of nature to improve health and wellbeing, and also by theory about the damaging effects of living in urban settings. One of the principles of wild therapy is that people need to experience the authentic relaxation that comes from allowing themselves to feel part of nature rather than trying to control it. This control extends to ourselves as animals and is sometimes called 'domestication'. It is seen by some eco-psychologists as a main cause of unhappiness and stress in contemporary life.
Wild therapy is aiming to be an antidote to these damaging impacts using the power of the natural environment as a therapeutic force.
The importance of human connection alongside these potent experiences has been a part of traditional rituals throughout history, and is honoured in this work, through the participation in groups and the use of group experiences and excercises.
Alongside these primary goals, through incorporating some Bushcraft activities, the participant has the chance to use all their senses in their interaction with the natural environment and develop skill sets that improve confidence and self esteem.
For more detailed information about Ecotherapy please refer to the Farafoot's booklet 'Ecotherapy and Wild Therapy Information'.
The therapy is conducted outside on Brown Clee Hill, which is in the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), and the highest point in Shropshire, from which twelve counties are visible. It has an interesting combination of woodland and open moorland, and also has historic features such as the hill fort Nordy Bank that offer connections with the past. It forms part of the geologically renowned area of the Marches that attracts worldwide scientific interest. The wildlife is diverse, including the ponies that keep the tracks open in the Winter through the snow.
Small groups of around 6 (up to 15) participants will meet at the Boyne Arms, Burwarton (private room) for the opening phase and then walk to the chosen site, using the walk to begin to notice aspects of the environment and their own responses. On half day courses or when the weather is testing it is likely that the group will use a 'base camp' (either a bell tent or shelter made from forest materials) from which to conduct wild therapy activities. If you have mobility problems there are possibilities for vehicular access and the use of static locations.
Sessions will range from short walks through the forest, to site-based group sessions to solo individual sessions. The walks will be of varied distances at a slow pace and potentially over rough terrain. With all modes of therapeutic session participants will start and end with group activities/meetings in which to express and explore their experiences.
The therapeutic activities are varied, and dependant upon the preferences of participants, time available and the conditions, but might include bushcraft skills (found on the Farafoot Bushcraft page) and practices designed to enhance awareness and relaxation:
Please refer to the Farafoot Therapy Prices List
The wild therapy is led by Dr Yvette Primrose, a qualified and registered psychologist with experience of group and individual therapies. In an important sense, though, the natural setting will be the therapist, and the job of the guide will be to prepare the group for this, structure the session so that it is manageable and productive for the participants, and monitor the safety and wellbeing of the participants. For every session there will be an additional guide from Farafoot present to provide support.
Member of Ecopsychology UK and CAPO (Counsellors and Psychotherapists Outdoors)
The aim of Farafoot is to try and make participation possible for anyone over 18 who wishes to take part. People participate for a number of different and overlapping reasons, for example:
Thus we work with a range of people with varied needs. Some are comfortable in their environments and aim for personal growth, and some are more anxious, perhaps coping with difficult histories or difficult current circumstances, and some may be facing physical or cognitive challenges.
If you would like to inquire personally into Farafoot's Wild Therapy then please contact Farafoot.
The forms are comprehensive to ensure so far as possible that all potential participants in wild therapy can communicate their wishes, needs and essential information. After receiving the completed and signed booking or referral form and completed consent forms, Farafoot will contact you to arrange participation
A defining feature of Wild Therapy with Farafoot is that is largely conducted outside. This means that you will experience varied weather and temperature conditions. Warm clothes and waterproofs will therefore be required, even during the summer months (when they should be carried in a backpack or suitable bag by the participant). The wind can be quite strong on the hill, so a hat that can cover the ears is advisable.
In order for the sessions to have an impact, they run for a minimum of two hours, so any particular requirements regarding food, drink and medications should be carefully considered before-hand and managed by the you. If it is not possible for the you to take care of these needs yourself then the guide should be informed so that she/he can provide suitable assistance. We aim to be inclusive so will try and adapt to the needs of participantsas far as possible. If you would have difficulty with walking, standing or being outside in a natural environment then please do let us know so that we can consider how we might make participation possible for you.
If you would like these details in hard copy please refer to the booklet
'Wild Therapy by Farafoot'
All Wild Therapy courses begin and end at the Boyne Arms in Burwarton (unless otherwise notified). Participants will need to bring their own food, either to eat cold or cook over a fire, as well as snacks for the day.
For all courses there will be at least one additional member of the Farafoot team present, as well as the psychologist who has designed the wild therapy for Farafoot, Dr Yvette Primrose.
The 'Gifts from Nature' course combines bushcraft with therapy and is designed to move from the appreciation and use of natural materials to appreciation and consideration of the self as a gift from nature. This course would be suitable for people who would benefit from immersion in relaxing activities and a more compassionate and tolerant attitude towards the self. The course is available to adults only at this time but may be offered for children and young people at at a later date. You may book as a group or as an individual but there will be an upper restriction on the group number of 10 people. Each person wishing to attend will need to complete a booking and consent form.
Psychology is regulated by the Health and Care Professions Council. Dr Yvette Primrose is Registered with the HPC. This organisation publishes standards for ethics and codes of conduct that are accessible from their website.