The ancient and enduring relationships between people and place, self and cosmos, remain vital to our sense of belonging. Human beings are one expression of life in an abiding interdependence with the other-than-human world. Yet the stresses of contemporary life emphasize our separation, our differences, and our distance to nature, resulting in anxiety, depression, isolation and loss .
In this program, students will be exposed to the scientific evidence proving that time outdoors in nature, especially in green spaces with trees and beside water, can result in multiple health benefits. Researchers have found that being in nature can lower blood pressure, alleviate depression and reduce anxiety. Addictive behaviors, symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and the symptoms of trauma and PTSD have also been reduced. Additionally, such strategies as earthing, forest bathing, eco-art therapy, wilderness therapy and outdoor adventure methods have proven to increase cognition, improve hopefulness, increase altruistic feelings and acts of generosity, increase a sense of safety and belonging, and boost the immune system.
Completion of the Ecotherapy Certificate involves taking any four elective courses which can be selected from the quarterly schedules. A total of 68 continuing education credit hours are required to complete this certificate, or a combination of quarter units and CECs. Courses will include offerings from a variety of earth-based healing techniques and methods. Some examples include:
–Ceremony, Ancient Narrative and Healing
–Dreams, Visions and the Sacred
–Earth Body, Earth Mind
–The Council of All Beings
–Walking with the Ancestors
–Sacred Connections: Plants, Animals, People and Place
*Southwestern College students may take these courses at the Continuing Education price unless they are using the course to meet graduate program degree requirements.
Program Learning Outcomes:
Students will demonstrate familiarity with the health and wellness benefits of Ecotherapy, including the enhancement of spiritual, physical, emotional and mental health.
Students will demonstrate increasing skill at participating in and leading transformational nature-based experiences and to reflect upon that experience meaningfully.
ATTITUDES AND BEHAVIOR
Students will demonstrate an openness to engage with various cultural concepts, worldviews and practices regarding the connection between human and other-than-human beings.
Skills you will be introduced to:
- A framework for Earth-based healing that addresses the stresses of contemporary life, including depression, addiction, grief, and anxiety.
- How to plan and implement earth-based ceremony and ritual, including rites of passage, in support of personal growth and collective renewal in modern psychotherapeutic and wilderness settings.
- A variety of integrative techniques for personal and collective transformation, including: story medicine, ancestor work, the medicine wheel, vision quest, dream work, and expressive arts. How to embody greater awareness of our vital interconnection with all that lives and move from duality to unity and from dominance to partnership for both personal and social transformation.
- How to integrate Earth-based shamanistic approaches into clinical work in the therapeutic professions and healing arts.
Where you might use these skills:
1 Mental and Behavioral Healthcare Agencies
2) Hospitals, schools, nursing homes, treatment centers
3) Private practice
4) Outdoor adventure programs and wilderness therapy programs.
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Ann Filemyr, Ph.D., President of Southwestern College
is an educator, poet, teacher, and mentor. Ann was trained as a traditional healer by the late Keewaydinoquay Peschel. She served as Kee’s graduate teaching & research assistant at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and as her personal apprentice or ‘helper’ for twenty years. Kee was a culture carrier, storyteller and healer. In the Midewiwin tradition of the northern Great Lakes, Kee served as an Anishinaabeg Mashkikikwe (Ojibwe herbal medicine woman). Ann continues to live and teach from this tradition.