What is ‘Wild Therapy?

Mutual Holding

What words or images does the word ‘Wild’ conjure?:  Unpredictable, Savage, Untamed, Animal?

And what about ‘Therapy’?:  Support, Acceptance, Holding, compassion?

It may seem strange to see these 2 words together, forming a therapeutic phrase, when they may seem to be so opposite to one another.

To me, they fit very well together…maybe like the Yin and Yang working together to form the greater whole in the Taoist symbol. Major themes in my approach to therapy are ones of Relationship, Contact and Connection. I am fascinated by who we are: connected within ourselves, with each other and with the wider world around us. I am fascinated by how our experiences shape our beliefs about how and where we belong within our own lives. And I am fascinated by an ever-growing awareness of just how Big we are as people; as animals, within a very Big World. How do all these fit together?

We often believe we are Socialised and Civilised Beings. And, perhaps, can it also feel sometimes as if we have a ‘Wild and untamed Animal’ inside us? If so, can it also seem as if these two sides to us don’t always feel to fit together too well? Often, the ‘Civilised’ takes precedence over the ‘Animal’. But what happens if this happens too often or too completely; where our seemingly more unpredictable ‘Animal’ energies cannot be felt and/or expressed? Could it be that some of the symptoms we suffer from might be an expression of this so-far inexpressible feeling?

Wild Therapy, as I practice it, is an attempt to work within a different setting towards finding a new and richer relationhip and connection within ourselves, with each other and with the world around us. This setting is usually outdoors – a secluded woodland or valley setting – where we can ‘step outside the World of People’ towards finding a new rhythm to life. We may walk and explore, we may sit and reflect. We may notice and share, we may look inwards and be silent. We may try to hide, we may want to run and shout. Outside, all is possible. We are not stuck in our therapy chairs.

Watching you, watching me

I believe that, working Mindfully, opening our senses to the life and processes (seasons, weather, etc) around us and allowing ourselves to ‘take part’ in our surroundings, we can find release, relief and new understandings. We can start to find some sense of belonging to something greater than ourselves. We can start to feel more connected to one another as we share this experience. And we can start to feel more in tune with ourselves as we progressively allow our more ‘Animal’ selves to be felt, expressed and allowed as a part of our wider sense of Self.

Sounds good; how do I make this happen?

I would ask you to contact me in the first instance through this website, by email or by phone.

I would then arrange for us to meet at my Chippenham practice for an initial, exploratory, session in a safe and controlled setting. This would work similarly to an initial session for indoor work with the added space given to exploring why ‘Wild Therapy’ might interest you and exploring how this might work for you.

If after this session you feel it might and believe you’d be happy to work with me as a therapist we would look to set up an initial outdoor session. This would be an opportunity to ‘try it out’; get a feel for whether this might be the setting for you. If so, we’ll look to continue outdoors. If not, you are free to move to indoor work with me or stop completely. It may also be possible to switch between the two, where appropriate.

Okay, what else do I need to be aware of?

Fees and session duration:

Indoor initial session remains £20 for each 50-minute session.

Subsequent outdoor sessions :£40 per 60-minute session.

We would normally look to work weekly, usually at the same time and place as would for indoor work.

Seasons and weather:

Each strand, connected

As I’ve already said, Connection is a major theme in my approach. This means I believe we are a part of the wider ‘Web of Life’ and can find great value and richness from our willingness (not always felt, perhaps) to participate: whatever the season, whatever the weather. I will be committed to meeting you in this where you are ready to. However, the option will usually be available to meet indoors where particularly adverse weather conditions require. We can discuss how this might work when setting up how we’ll work together.

Terrain and risk:

I use an area of land comprising fields and woodland near the village of Ford. I also have access to a quiet valley near the village of Yatton Keynell. In both areas, the terrain is uneven with the potential for slips, trips and falls, especially in wet weather. We may need to climb over gates and/or styles. As such, you will need a basic level of physical fitness. If in any doubt as to your physical suitability for this work, I would recommend you speak with your GP prior to coming out with me. I assess the routes we may take in advance and will inform you of any risks as necessary. However, not all contingencies can be covered and, in working outdoors, you will need to accept that risks may arise for whatever reason and take your own responsibility for your welfare when working this way.

I also recommend you wear, or have handy, suitable clothing and footwear, according to the weather and season. It may be possible to provide some if required.

Learning to fly…