Since 2006, Ecotherapy students at SWC have been reconnecting to Mother Earth by going on Wilderness Fasts, praying in sweat lodges, practicing Andean energy healing techniques, and participating in other indigenous healing ceremonies.
But how have these folks been applying what they learn, once they are out in the professional world of mental health? Here are some inspiring stories….
David graduated from the Ecotherapy certificate program. He is an upper-level manager in a state-wide medical organization in Washington State. Within his organization, he inspires co-workers to create healing environments in their medical clinics. Outside of his regular job he teaches energy healing classes and is currently planning to lead a 9-day Wilderness Fast in the Northern Cascade Mountains.
Eliza, a SWC alumna and Ecotherapy graduate, is a licensed therapist. She volunteers for Aldo Leopold Charter School in Silver City, NM. One summer, she helped a group of teens learn backpacking and wilderness skills in the Gila Wilderness. Another summer, she worked in an outdoor program for at-risk youth, introducing kids to nature-based therapeutic activities.
Chris received his M.A. in Counseling from SWC and also completed his Ecotherapy certificate. His love of earth-based ceremony inspired him to co-lead a Wilderness Fast in the San Mateo Mountains of New Mexico. He received a job offer from a wilderness therapy organization in Colorado, based on his combination of therapeutic skills and experience in indigenous rites of passage work.
Patty has participated in many Ecotherapy classes and two Wilderness Fasts. She has been taking women into the mountains on day-long therapeutic Medicine Walks as part of their healing process. She also co-led a Wilderness Fast with Chris in the San Mateo Mountains.
Lisa led a group of women to a cave in northern New Mexico for a healing day of Medicine Walking and ceremony.
Lorien worked with at-risk youth in an east coast wilderness therapy program for her SWC internship.
Tod teaches clients about the Medicine Wheel as a map for the healing process.
Deb uses earth-based ceremony in her grief support groups. She and Kristine led a Wilderness Fast as part of their internship experience.
Sami and Shannan involved group therapy clients in a despacho ceremony (Andean healing ceremony) as part of their internship.
Colleen built a labyrinth for the Santa Fe animal shelter as her final project for her Ecotherapy certificate. Volunteers and shelter dogs frequently walk the labyrinth no matter what the weather!
Vicki has an ongoing women’s support group in which earth-based ceremony is incorporated into every meeting. Sometimes they travel to local indigenous sacred sites for ceremony and prayers for Mother Earth and for personal healing.
These are just a few of the many stories of our students and graduates from the Ecotherapy Certificate program…..