Session 1: Preparation-To Feel or Not to Feel
Feelings are a part of our natural make-up and, as such, are a “wired-in” response. Our emotions are there for our benefit. It’s in our feelings that we find our true, authentic self. Most people, to some degree or another are afraid of their feelings. This kind of fear can be called a feelings phobia. Our defenses, not our feelings can lead to a wide range of physical, emotional, and psychological problems. Feelings are like waves and have a natural flow to them. They rise up, crescendo, and then dissipate. The core of your being is formed by what and how you feel. When you avoid your feelings, you’re squelching your identity and thwarting your true potential. Although it takes courage to face your feelings, the rewards are numerous.
Session 2: Step One/Part One-Becoming Aware of Your Feelings
Unacknowledged feelings negatively affect our experience and behavior. With practice, you can become more consciously aware of your emotions. Feelings are felt in the body. The key to becoming aware of our emotions is rooted in our visceral “felt” experience-not in our mind. We need to make room to connect. Thinking distances you from your feelings. Mindfully tuning into your body sensations brings you closer to your feelings. There are eight basic emotions on which all others are based. How you experience your feelings is neither right nor wrong-it just is.
Session 3: Step One/Part Two-Becoming Aware of Your Defenses
A defense is any thought, behavior, or reaction used to distance ourselves from our feelings. Defenses develop in childhood as a way to help us feel safe. Over time, defenses develop into our “default” responses to feelings. Over reliance on defenses can lead to a variety of problems. Defenses operate to protect us from the anxiety we experiences when we get close to our true feelings. Defenses can be used to keep our emotions from others as well as from ourselves. Feelings can also be defensive when they are used to cover up our true emotional experience. Practicing emotional mindfulness can increase your ability to recognize your own defensive responses. Being aware of your defenses is essential to freeing yourself up emotionally and connecting more deeply with others.
Session 4: Step Two: Taming the Fear
Anxiety or fear can be a helpful sign that we’re getting closer to emotions. We can reduce our discomfort to a manageable level so that our emotions don’t have to feel overwhelming. Identifying and simply naming our feelings decreases anxiety. Describing and tracking the physical manifestations of anxiety or fear can regulate our emotional experience. Abdominal breathing stimulates our parasympathetic nervous system and calms our fear response. Visualization and that positive feelings it engenders can act as an antidote to anxiety and fear. Placing a hand on your heart stimulates the vagus nerve, which calms your nervous system. Practicing these strategies increases your capacity to manage your distress and get control of your fear.
Session 5: Step Three: Feel it Through
When fully felt, feelings don’t last forever. They have a beginning, middle, and end. We need to be willing to see and accept our feelings for what they are. Attuning to what’s going on inside us frees up the energy of our emotions and allows that energy to move. Emotions are multifaceted. We need to feel them in all their complexity in order for them to benefit us. There comes a moment when it’s often best simply to “give way” to our feelings. Experiencing our feelings and expressing our feelings are two different things. When we stay open to our feelings and really give them their due, they bring us a wealth of internal resources. When we feel our emotions through to completion, we experience a body shift; we feel freed up and relieved. Making space for and working through one feelings sometimes allow room for others to emerge. Reflecting on our experience of feeling our emotions through consolidates our gains and rewires our neural network.
Session 6: Step Four: Opening Up
Our needs for closeness, security, and care are biologically based and exist throughout our lifetime. Emotions can help us see what we need or want in order to make things better. Putting our feelings into words is one of the most powerful ways to communicate what’s in our heart. Early experiences with our caregivers can lead us to be afraid of opening up later in life. Fear of expressing ourselves can be overcome from practice and experience. When we are mindful of it, the wisdom of our feelings can inform and guide our choices. When verbalizing how we feel and what we need, we should keep our message simple and clear, us “I” statements, and communicate in a way that is respectful to ourselves and to the listener. Slowing ourselves down and mindfully attending to the present moment can make opening up more manageable. Speaking slowly connects us to our feelings and allows our expression to come from the heart. Making eye contact helps extinguish our fears, makes us feel closer, and increases the likelihood of being understood. Lean into your discomfort a little more each time, and your capacity to be emotionally open will expand.
Session 7: Nature as Nurture-The Healing Power of Plants and Animals
A large and growing body of research has demonstrated that nature has incredible healing powers. People who go into the woods become calmer, more relaxed, less stressful, and healthier. Embracing the nurturing power of nature, we are healed. Learn the benefits of how plants and animals can be used to nurture the soul. You will also have an opportunity to explore the idea of spirit animals and how they can help you to find peace and reduce stress and anxiety.
Session 8: Nature as Healer-The Healing Power of Stones and Crystals
Gemstones and crystals have aided humans in healing illnesses and attaining wisdom for centuries. Their use is documented in many sources throughout history: 5,000 year old Chinese medicine texts; 400 B.C Indian Ayurvedic writings; ancient drawings in the tombs of Egypt’s pharaohs; and in the Christian Bible where they are referenced over 200 times! Also recorded is their use among shamans of indigenous cultures around the world who used gemstones and crystals to diagnose as well as treat illnesses. You will learn about different stones and crystals and the intention and healing behind each one and you will also learn about the chakra system and how people use this practice to promote stress relief and healing.
Session 9: Nature as Metaphor-Using Stories to Understand Our Deepest Thoughts, Feelings and Desires
Each of us lives in our own personal fairy tale called “my life.” We all have good things that happen to us, and we all have bad things that happen to us. We create our own personal myths by choosing which things to focus on in our own lives. The good news about the myth of our lives is that we are the authors. So if we don’t like the way the story is going, we have the power to do a rewrite at any time. We can’t always choose the circumstances of our lives, but we can always choose the story we create about those circumstances. If you go out into the woods and start observing things, you will notice something begin to happen. You will begin to create stories about the events you observe there in the forest. These stories that spring to mind in the woods can tell you a great deal about what is going on in your own unconscious mind, if you know how to pay attention to them. Mindfulness-Based Ecotherapy (MBE) teaches you how to pay attention to those stories.
Session 10: Nature as Teacher-Deep Listening with Forest Bathing
Learn how to use nature and the forest to teach you to look deeper within yourself. By practicing mindfulness and using nature to help you connect spiritually, you will learn how to combine these skills to gain inner wisdom, guidance on all that life throws your way.
Ecotherapy is the name given to a wide range of treatment programs which aim to improve your mental and physical wellbeing through doing outdoor activities in nature. Connecting with nature in this way can have lots of positive health benefits.
Emotional Mindfulness & Ecotherapy for Adults & TEENS Girls
Women meet one Monday a Month 10:00AM-11:30AM/$35.00 per session
TEEN Girls meet one Tuesday a month 7:00PM-8:30PM/$35.00 per session
Private and Group Ecotherapy Day Sessions
***Choose from hiking or snowshoeing***
Private Day Session: $150.00
Group Day Session: $75.00
Mother/Daughter <OR> Mother/Son Session: $40.00 per person
90 Minute Private Ecotherapy Session
***Choose from hiking or snowshoeing***
$90.00 per session
Join me for a day as I take you on a nature adventure while teaching you the basic skills of mindfulness, using nature as our healing aid. Walking Meditation meditation, breathing, journaling, music therapy, gentle movement, forest bathing/meditation can also be intertwined into our session. These sessions are a great opportunity to apply the skills taught in the Emotional Mindfulness Ecotherapy Program. Day trips will be based on your skill level and can be done in a private or group setting. A 15 minute phone intake is required to help me learn more about you and to coordinate a guided experience that will meet your needs and experience level. Intake is included in session cost.
Sessions are offered on Thursdays from September through June months only. Departure time is 9am at a mutually agreed upon Park & Ride or destination. Return time is around 2pm. You are responsible for your own food and drinks. Minimal gear is required for all trips.
Private or Group Ecotherapy Day Sessions
Call Me: (603) 475-9030
Mind, Body, Spirit Counseling Derry LLC
230 Rockingham Road
Derry, NH 03038
Emotional Mindfulness & Ecotherapy
Mindfulness-Based Ecotherapy is a program that uses mind, body, breath and nature to teach clients how to slow down, recognize and balance their emotional state by combining the techniques of emotional mindfulness by Ronald J. Frederick and Timothy J. Beyer, the practice of coherent breathing by Richard P. Brown, MD and Patricia L. Gerbarg, MD and the skills of Mindfulness-Based Ecotherapy by Charlton Hall. Sessions include: