A friend from my peer-supervision group made me aware of a Radio Four programme earlier this week: One to One. It is only 13 minutes long...by which I am saying: have a listen! It is an interview of Dr. Alan Kellas by Isabel Hardman, and it looks at his experience and feelings around nature and the therapeutic value of it. I felt that he gave a very good picture of the importance of being connected to nature, whether that be in caring for plants in a window box, or going out into the wilds.
A few of the key ideas for me were:
- that being outside and being in contact with/noticing our bodies is crucial to good mental health, and that nature can facilitate that;
- that managing stress is helped by being outside (as much research has shown);
- that having therapy while walking outside and having side-by-side conversations can feel more comfortable and more natural, when compared to being face-to-face, sat down, in the therapist's room;
- exploring one's own role in one's recovery, and the importance of finding our own resources to deal with difficulties in our lives;
- Dr. Kellas responded to Hardman's question about what sort of treatment should be used: medication or being outside, by saying "...not to be too dogmatic about any of these things is a good start";
- And finally, that we come from the natural world, and that it's bizarre to think that we can recover our mental health while still being surrounded by technology and the urban life style. For me, it is crucial for us to be in environments which are not man-made.
I thoroughly recommend listening if you have considered therapy, but aren't quite sure if traditional indoor therapy is for you. I found that Dr. Kellas brilliantly describes the importance of contact with the outdoors in order to keep ourselves healthy.
I hope you manage to get out this weekend, and explore your relationship with the natural world!