The therapeutic space, held by a practiced and competent therapist, is an emotionally safe and confidential space.
If we embark on a small adventure in this space it adds wellbeing values to our experience. If the adventure is canoeing what is this adding to our session together?
We are on the water, being supported by it in an unconditional way. We have a mutuality of respect where the sea gives us this kind of support, and we respect the power and the beauty of sea, and take care, and respect our limits in order to best keep the session within the scope of wellbeing. We are exercising our bodies in a gentle, shared and immersive way. We are allowing our breathing to be regular and focussed on being courageous, and enjoying of the moment. We are in direct contact with the elements of the day. The temperature, the wind, the light, the radiance of the sun on our bodies. We are literally immersed in nature, with kind intent. We are encountering the other animals that live in this environment. All these things are adding to our therapeutic, wellbeing, healing experience. And we have time to talk through some things as well.
This activity is adventurous, and is open to and achievable by a wide range of people. Age and experience need not be a barrier as the outrigger canoe is very stable and easy to learn the basic skill of paddling. I provide all our necessary safety equipment. I am a trained and skilled paddler.
Having a relaxed chat about what’s happening as we are held by the sea, and the landscape.
We may encounter some of the locals.
A seal swimming along in front of our canoe.
A different seal swimming past the water’s edge. I have found them to be gentle and inquisitive.
An eagle flies by, followed closely by a silver gull keeping a close eye on her.
At Geilston Bay we even have a resident goose.
We can share a canoe, or take individual canoes. This activity is weather and season dependant. In summer the water is about 22 degrees celsius so ok for most people. In autumn and spring it is about 12 to 14, and in winter about 8. Outside summer we need to dress appropriately, and use the outriggers on my canoe so we definitely don’t need to be in the water!
I can transport our canoes to cool spots to go for a paddle.
Sometimes Alfie the therapy dog, who is passionate about seafaring, comes too.
We can jump out for a rest and a look around, before heading back.
We can experience the river at different times of the day.
Nick Hall, adventure therapist.