My Workshops, Trainings & Events
Ecotherapy Immersion & Certification Program
For therapists, counsellors, psychologists, coaches & other health professionals
What is Ecotherapy?
We notice it ourselves. We notice it in others. The experience of groundedness, unity, wholeness, connectedness, peace… when we spend time in the natural world. Ecotherapy is not a new concept. It has been an inherent aspect of our existence on Earth for as long as we have been here.
It’s only a recent development in human evolution where being in nature is something that we go and “do.” Prior to this, our interdependence with nature was an obvious necessity. Consequently, as research is showing, the absence or forgetting of this necessity is resulting in many harmful and discouraging effects, both personally and collectively.
Ecotherapy, then, involves the intentional re-connection with the natural world as a profound gateway to our own healing and renewal.
About this training
This training draws from the work of many before us – those who have received ways of honoring, connecting to, and relating to the natural world from a long line of wisdom keepers.
Alongside this ancient wisdom, we bring the recent knowledge and expertise of the teachers who have dedicated much of their personal and professional lives to broadening the access to, and supporting the embodiment of, these teachings.
We utilize practices that support us in reconnecting to our inherent knowing, discovering our unique place in the natural world, and claiming the healing, growth and transformation this makes possible.
The primary professional modalities that inform this training are: Somatic Ecotherapy, Nonviolent Communication (NVC), Hakomi Mindful Somatic Psychotherapy, Internal Family Systems, Creative Arts Therapy, and Mindfulness. Some specific attention will also be given to working with trauma.
The specific lineage-holders of knowledge that this training takes particular inspiration from are: Dave Talamo with Wilderness Reflections; Steve Foster and Meredith Little with The School of Lost Borders; Joanna Macy with The Work that Reconnects; Jon Young with the Wilderness Awareness School; Bill Plotkin and the Animus Valley Institute; Ron Kurtz and Hakomi Mindful Somatic Psychotherapy, and S.N Goenka with the Vipassana Meditation Centre.
The Structure of this Training
This is a four-module training spread out over 4 months. The first three modules taking place on a Friday evening and full weekend. The final module takes place on a Wednesday evening plus full days on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and includes an overnight solo.
The purpose of the training is to support participants in (a) developing their own intimate relationship with nature, (b) developing a solid structure for facilitating an Ecotherapy session, (c) incorporating a number of different therapeutic modalities well suited for this work (see above), and (d) determining where their own particular level of comfort is in this way of working.
Each of the four modules will revolve around the theme of one of the four cardinal directions (North, South, East and West) and their associated stages of human development and transformation (drawn particularly from the work of Meredith Little and Steve Foster and the School of Lost Borders, and from the work of David Talamo and Wilderness Reflections). As part of each module, participants will explore each of these developmental stages in relation to their own personal life journeys, in relation to the various cycles found in nature, and with regard to facilitating the healing and transformation of their clients.
This training will support you to:
Develop your own intimate & allied relationship with the natural world
Support your clients to create their own intimate & allied relationship with the natural world
Support your clients to access strength-based nature resources
Develop an internal topographical compass and map that will enable you to feel confident in facilitating and navigating an individual or group ecotherapy session
Develop skills for building therapeutic relationships that create safety, boundaries and trust
Create a backpack of therapeutic tools and skills to draw from and weave into your existing outdoor or indoor practice
Explore philosophies and principles that support the practices of Nonviolence, organismic wisdom, unconditional positive regard, authentic communication and loving kindness
Have fun, relax and connect with like-minded people in nature
4 Modules (each 3 – 5 days long) + 1 optional Vision Quest (up to 8 days)
Module 1: “Establishing Basecamp” – Resourcing
Theme: Gathering resources and establishing alliance, with nature, our clients, and our essential self
Dates: September 24th – 26th
Location: The Catlins – Otago
Module 2: “The Foothills” – Accessing
Theme: Identifying the therapeutic threshold and venturing forth.
Dates: October 29th – 31st
Location: Otago (Specifics to be determined)
Module 3: “Climbing the Mountain” – Processing
Theme: Navigating the territory of unhealed wounds and unresolved trauma.
Dates: December 3rd – 5th
Location: The Catlins – Otago
Module 4: “Back to Basecamp” – Integration
Theme: Weaving the rewards of this transformative journey into ordinary consciousness and our everyday life.
Dates: February 9th – 13th
Location: Peel Forest – Canterbury
(Optional) Vision Quest: A personal plunge into the depths of Nature’s Wisdom
Theme: After having completed the journey of the core training, this is an opportunity to further deepen and integrate the knowledge and wisdom you have gained; and to request further guidance and direction from the natural world and the depths of your essential self.
Dates: 18th – 25th March
Location: Waitati – Otago
Meet the Teachers:
Toni McErlane – Ecotherapist, Counsellor, Mediator, Nonviolent Communication (NVC) Facilitator, Outdoor Adventurer
Paris Williams – Ecotherapist, Clinical Psychologist, Hakomi Teacher, Somatic Trauma Specialist, Outdoor Adventurer
Jaqueline Sheridan – Ecotherapist, Transpersonal Therapist, Creative Soul Journey Facilitator & Poet
Brendon Whitmore – Ecotherapist, Craniosacral Therapist, Deep Nature Connection Mentor and Wilderness Rites of Passage Facilitator
Early bird discount only $2,950 until July 31st ($3,250 afterwards)
*Optional follow-up 8-day Soul Quest – an additional $1,250 (see below for more details)
* price includes tuition, all lunches/dinners, & spacious dorm-style or camping accommodations
Submit Payment to:
Account name: Restorative Relationships
Account Number: 01-0322-0212196-01
Reference: [your name]
to Trauma Therapy
2-day Introductory Workshops
& 10-day Comprehensive Trainings
are being offered
There has been a steady movement within the field of trauma therapy over the past few decades towards the increasing recognition that:
(a) Psychological trauma (i.e., PTSD, acute trauma and developmental trauma) is primarily held within the body and nervous system
(b) Working directly with the body (via sensations, impulses, breath, posture, etc.) is therefore key to resolving entrenched trauma conditions
…and (c) That a particular attitude of open curiosity to one’s present experience—i.e., mindfulness—is an extremely helpful component to recovering from these conditions
As therapists and other helping professionals supporting people who grapple with unresolved trauma, we are fortunate that a number of methods have been developed in recent years that incorporate these principles, and which have been providing tremendous healing for millions of people around the world who have struggled with trauma conditions.
Among the most well established of these methods are Hakomi Mindful Somatic Psychotherapy, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, Somatic Experiencing and EMDR. In these trainings, you will learn and practice an integrative approach to mindful-somatic trauma therapy that draws from the collective wisdom and practice of these and other closely related methods.
In particular, you will…
… learn a simple yet powerful universal framework for making sense of extreme emotional and traumatic states, helping you to identify where your clients’ experiences are on the spectrum of ANS (Autonomic Nervous System) arousal, and therefore which interventions are likely to be most helpful at any given point in the therapy process. This theoretical framework is based on the latest research on the psychology and physiology of trauma.
… learn a broad map outlining the essential stages of the overarching process of trauma-focused therapy.
… develop your own capacity as a therapist to remain present and grounded, safely holding the space for clients to do the difficult work of trauma recovery, while not risking your own dysregulation, vicarious trauma and “burnout”.
… learn a number of effective yet relatively simple mindful-somatic tools based on these methods that you can begin using right away to…
- Help your clients develop confidence working with strong feelings and nervous sytem dysregulation
- Help your clients develop a sense of groundedness, presence and orientation
- Help your clients to develop a rich and healthy connection with their own feelings and needs
- Make the distinction between a beneficial “emotional release” and being “stuck in a trauma response”
- Work with flashbacks, intrusive memories and nightmares
- Work with somatization (unresolved feelings/memories held within the body)
Additional Info for the 10-day Comprehensive Trainings
The 10-day Comprehensive training expands upon the practice and theory of the 2-day workshops (details above). For those who are new to this work, we will be covering all of the basic theory and methodology to make full use of this approach, so it is not required that you have prior training in any particular method. However, due to the highly experiential nature of this workshop, it is highly recommended that participants have some counselling/psychotherapy experience prior to attending this training.
The overall structure of this training is divided into the 3 main stages of trauma therapy – Resourcing, Trauma Processing, and Integration
Stage 1: Establishing a Foundation & Resourcing
In this stage, we begin by establishing a solid foundation on two different levels:
(1) Providing a basic overview of the theory and practice of this highly integrative approach to trauma therapy.
(2) Developing the therapeutic skills and capacity necessary to prepare ourselves and our clients to venture into the often challenging terrain of trauma recovery. This will include developing our own mindfulness and self-care skills so that we as therapists have the capacity to carry out this demanding work; and establishing effective therapeutic alliance with our clients—cultivating the safety and empathy necessary to embark upon more serious trauma therapy.
We then shift the focus to resourcing—supporting our clients (and ourselves) in managing overwhelming emotions and regulating their nervous systems in various ways, with a particular emphasis on mindful and somatic approaches. We often refer to this stage of the trauma therapy process as “establishing a base camp,” an essential prerequisite for moving into the more vulnerable work of trauma processing.
In this stage, we draw particularly from the methods of mindfulness, Hakomi, Nonviolent Communication (NVC), Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, and Somatic Experiencing.
Stage 2: Trauma Processing
The first part of this module will focus primarily on methods of processing/resolving unresolved trauma. Having prepared the foundation (i.e., “base camp”) in our previous module with personal self-care/presence/groundedness, with establishing an effective therapeutic alliance with our clients, and with establishing our clients’ confidence in working with strong states of mind and body, we are ready to embark upon the more adventurous work of directly processing the unresolved trauma.
We will learn and practice an integrative model of trauma processing, which will include a number of different processing methods, and learn how to identify which of these is most suitable given our clients’ particular situation and experience.
We will also learn how to work with more specific trauma experiences such as dissociation, flashbacks, nightmares and intrusive memories.
Finally, we will learn how to work with parts (i.e., in trauma, especially developmental trauma, parts of the person’s personality can become fragmented in various ways, and healing often requires the re-integration of these different parts).
In this stage, we draw particularly from the methods of Hakomi, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, Somatic Experiencing, and Internal Family Systems.
Stage 3: Integration
This is the final stage of this trauma therapy approach. After having experienced significant personal transformation as a result of working through and resolving trauma, many people find that their interests, values, passions and relationships with self and others have shifted significantly. We will learn a number of ways of supporting our clients in further integrating the transformation that has occurred, and of incorporating these shifts into their lives outside the therapy room.
In this stage, we draw particularly from the methods of Hakomi, Nonviolent Communication (NVC), Somatic Experiencing, Internal Family Systems and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).
*Due to the highly experiential nature of these trainings, it is strongly recommended that participants have some counseling/psychotherapy experience prior to attending.
*In order to maximize individual support and allow for sufficient social distancing in our workspace, these workshops will be capped at 24 participants.
10-day Comprehensive Training – Hamilton
Module 1: 8-12 November, 2021 (Mon-Fri)
Module 2: 14-18 February, 2022 (Mon-Fri)
Times: 9:30am – 5:00pm all days
Cost: Early Bird discount $1,950 (incl. GST) prior to 15 August; $2,250 (incl. GST) afterwards
Venue: Lady Goodfellow Chapel (Waikato University)
10-day Comprehensive Training – Dunedin
Module 1: 26-27 November, 2021 (Fri-Sat)
Module 2: 28-29 January, 2022 (Fri-Sat)
Module 3: 11-12 March, 2022 (Fri-Sat)
Module 4: 8-9 April, 2022 (Fri-Sat)
Module 5: 27-28 May, 2022 (Fri-Sat)
Times: 9:00am – 5:00pm all days
Cost: Early Bird discount $1,950 (incl. GST) prior to 31 August; $2,250 (incl. GST) afterwards
Venue: Friends Centre, Dunedin
Payment Details (for the trainings/workshops above)
To submit payment for either of the above workshops, deposit the full amount into the following bank account (contact me if you’d like to discuss a payment plan):
Account Name: Williams Services Limited
Account Number: 06 0729 0659387 00
…and then please contact me to confirm that you have done so.
If you would prefer to pay by credit card, you can use this PayPal link, but note that they charge a 3.5% c/card fee (which would be added to the training cost)
*I will send a GST receipt and confirmation email upon receipt of payment.
*These trainings are likely to fill up (being capped at 24 students), so you’ll want to secure your place as soon as possible.
Terms and Conditions for Workshops/Trainings
Securing your place:
After registering for any of these workshops and trainings, your place will not be secured until full payment has been received. If you would like to arrange a payment plan, please contact me to discuss.