Moving Right Along, You and Me, and All of Cosmology.

One to one walk and talk adventure therapy in the outdoors. Observations from five years of practice.

(presented to the 8th International Adventure Therapy Conference, Sydney, 2018)

Nick W&T.png

Introduction:

I am trained in somatic psychotherapy with Bob Palfreyman’s Wholistc Therapy Centre in Hobart.

And bush adventure therapy with Project Hahn Inc. in Tasmania.

I have a post grad certificate in counselling from the School of Psychology, University of Tasmania.

I am a clinical member of the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA).

And a member of the Australian Association for Bush Adventure Therapy Inc (AABAT).

I have over twenty years experience working therapeutically with people in the outdoors.

I am based in Hobart, Tasmania at Geilston Bay and the East Risdon Nature Reserve.

I work in client specific, and activity specific, natural settings around Hobart.

My office is my boat, Water Is Life. It is moored in the bay, and travels to the Hobart CBD for onboard sessions and meetings.

At boat.png

The Landscape We Walk In:

The East Risdon Nature Reserve is a dry open bushland that contains rare plant species, wild native animals, and possibly 60000 years of aboriginal history, layered with just over 200 years of recent history.

kunyani+ERNR.png

A walking track runs through this country, south to north. The reserve’s open country is easy to explore.

Shag Bay 2019.jpg

It has a western boundary on the Derwent River. This river’s water is significantly impacted by recent industry and population pressure. The Derwent is known by our first nation people as Big River. It flows from the central highlands, and meets the Southern Ocean at Hobart.

This reserve is 10 minutes car travel from Hobart’s city centre.

Sitting tree.png

Modalities and Strategies:

The one to one modalities I work in:

Person centred therapy.

Somatic psychotherapy.

Psychodynamic storytelling.

Mindful nature immersion.

Experiential learning.

Lifelong learning and maturational stage awareness.

Little adventures, and big adventures.

IMG_5227.JPG

 

This model from my group work training and experience informs my individual work:

PH model.png

IMG_5255.jpg

We walk where things intersect:

Mindfulness and immersion.

City and the bush.

The land and the river.

The client and the counsellor.

Right action and wisdom as mediated by the outdoors.

The two paths, along the river, or through the bushland. A choice before each home base session.

The history of therapy and the spontaneity of the natural world.

Little adventures and big adventures.

I work from home base, to other places.

IMG_6430.JPG

 

Practice Observations:

From my sessions:

Ease of talking side by side.

Ease of focusing on the immediate environment, regardless of what is being emoted and/or talked about.

Value adds of exercise, being outdoors, and specific activities.

A sense of safety held by the level of comfort in outdoor environments of the practitioner.

The unplanned use of therapeutic strategies that appear to be triggered by immediate natural events.

The shared sense of doing something different, of being on an adventure.

Participation is not age or gender specific. To some degree it is access specific.

A qualitatively and quantitatively different space. Recognised as quality time, more space, a gentle and safe space.

 

P1120056.JPG

Clinical Observations:

In note form from session and milestone observations:

Learnt to relax/feel safe/trust

Closer interactions, increased interest in physical activity outdoors. Increases in relaxed affect and patience.

Prepared to trust.

Talking less about computer games, more about what’s happening now. Responding to different male role-modelling, increased self-reflection, engaging in new activities.

Decrease in paranoia, increase in motivation. (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)

Recovered from grief, strengthened sense of self, returned motivation, career choices made, commitment to partnership strengthened.

Specific mental health insights established, specific workplace and relationship issues clarified, increase in self worth and trust in the therapist.

Increased tolerance to stillness and mindfulness, strengthened understanding of family of origin dynamics, and cessation of sessions without explanation.

Valuing of honest male to male sharing of intimate partner relationship landscape and dynamics.

Strong valuing of being outdoors and walking and talking.

High functioning conversations, valuing of walking/talking and nature interactions, and strong rapport built rapidly. (Asperger’s Syndrome)

Well adjusted, discovered issues were principally school based, referred to teaching staff.

Activity based sessions, increase in valuing unique family situation, increased capacity to relate to male father role, and improved self regulation.

Expanded and grounded understandings of self worth and relationship with his mother.

W&T.png

 

Conclusions From My Practice:

Walk and talk, and activity based individual adventure therapy sessions can be effective across a range of needs. There is evidence to suggest the following:

The outdoor setting is a low pressure social environment that suits many clients as a space in which to participate in therapy.

This modality gives access to clients who do not wish to, or would not, avail themselves to counselling/psychotherapy that takes place indoors, particularly in a small room.

It is suited to clients who enjoy the value adds to the process such as walking, being outdoors, nature contact, adventure activities.

Working therapeutically outdoors in an expansive, low pressure and safe place where nature phenomena dominate over man made structures is well suited to healing childhood trauma, and post traumatic stress.

Working outdoors is effective across a broad range of issues that present in the counselling/psychotherapy environment including workplace issues, relationship couple counselling, maturational support, trauma recovery, ASD socialisation coaching, self acceptance, and intrinsic self worth.

 

Nick Hall, 2018

 

Here is what underlies my practice.

I will describe as best I can the essence of why I work with you in the outdoors, and why I use storytelling, maturational theory, and experiential learning in my practice.

Some things we may be able to agree on, simply stated:

Help is everywhere; our wellbeing is fundamentally supported by the universe, and things can go wrong.

We are children; and then adults, of this universe.

Discovering and experiencing new things is essential to our wellbeing.

We belong to this universe.

The universe is made up of all things.

It is immense and mostly unknown.

We belong to the unknown, because we cannot remain well without it.

We need to explore the unknown to stay healthy.

We invent and share stories about what we know, and what is unknown; this is part of sustaining our wellbeing.

These stories are our cultural mythology.

In this sense, We belong to mythology.

Now here is a perhaps curious idea?

Science is about what is observable with our senses; these observations are repeatable.

In other words, science is about what is.

Understanding “what is” is essential to our wellbeing.

In a universe all things are related.

Mythology and science are not separate.

Because they both are.

And one last idea I’ll leave you to explore;

We belong to the land; we are born out of the fruits of Earth.

Which means;

Strawberries belong to delicious.

strawb.jpg

And;

The land belongs to nurture.

Which of course brings us back to help is everywhere.

 

Nick Hall 2019

 

Nature Immersion.

IMG_5227.JPG

What is nature immersion?

Nature immersion is being surrounded by a natural environment that has a minimal amount of man made features in it. It is a therapeutic strategy intended and designed to promote wellbeing and healing. It is also referred to as nature contact and nature therapy. As a therapy it can be useful in accompany talk based counselling and other effective therapies.

How do I do it?

In this space we then intentionally connect with these natural features, the ground, the wind, the sunlight, the sounds, the temperature, the plants, the animals. We are enjoying being in nature, like feeling the big toe at the end of your foot, except you are feeling something in nature instead, as if it were part of you.

IMG_5329.JPG

Why would I do this?

When we immerse ourselves in a natural environment in a confident and safe way, there is reliable potential for grounding in the present moment. This grounding then allows for your feelings just to be, and when our feelings are allowed to be, they manifest as energy running through our bodies, which can be accepted, and enjoyed. This is a somatic psychotherapeutic element of nature immersion.

IMG_6050.jpg

How do I do this safely?

The safe practice of nature immersion involves understanding why you are doing it. Your intention can be to nurture yourself. Your intention can be to heal yourself. That nurture and healing can be through gentle contemplation, or active adventure. To be as safe as you can be it is important to ground yourself in your intention from the start, and ground your feet, or your body, in the environment you are in, also from the start. This grounding is achieved simply by feeling your feet on the ground, or your body in the space. When you begin your immersion, it is then important to become aware of your boundaries. Your boundaries begin where you can feel your body’s senses connecting with what is around you. Touching, hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting, feeling what energies are resonating around you. It is an intention of nature immersion to experiment and play with these boundaries in a confident way. To stay within your confidence and therefore your strength, it is also necessary to feel where your limits are. Your limits are yours to play with. They can be extended, or just let be, and accepted for where they are.  Getting to know your limits and personal boundaries, and acknowledging them, is celebrating and respecting your self. This is why we are doing this. We are immersing ourselves in nature, so we can discover ourselves.

P1100713.JPG

 

Nick Hall.

 

I Am A Person Centred Therapist.

IMG_8750.jpg

Person-centred therapy works with the ways in which we perceive our self consciously, rather than attempting to interpret our unconscious thoughts, ideas, or imaginings, as some more analytical therapies do. This makes this way of approaching finding a solution to things that are causing you some kind of difficulty or misery, more immediate.  Easier access to solutions means less time caught up in the problem.

A person-centred approach sees us as having an innate tendency to develop towards our full potential using our own resources and supports. However, this ability can become blocked or distorted by our life experiences. This in turn effects our sense of self worth, either by depressing it, or inflating it. Both of these effects cause personal suffering.

Using this understanding I work to understand your experience from your point of view. My positively valuing you as a person in all aspects of who you are, and by being open and genuine, allow us both to feel accepted and better understand our own feelings. We do this together. The intention is that this enables you to reconnect with your inner values and balanced sense of self-worth. This reconnection with your own resources enables you to find your way to move forward.

Two powerful things are happening here. You hear yourself express what is important to you and what thoughts and/or actions may be interfering. Then we explore what it is that works for you to free yourself from what is making you unhappy, anxious or unwell.

And when we find what works for you, you can explore and practice it, because it is what works for you. Which of course is you.

IMG_5255.jpg

To talk about therapy/counselling options, and to make an appointment, please call me.

Nick Hall – 0459413198 – 9am to 5pm – Monday to Wednesday.

(You can send me a text message at other times)

Come once if you want, to see if you like it, or to talk through whatever is on your mind at the moment. There is not necessarily any need to have ongoing appointments, it’s up to you.

The first session is half price at $80.00* to see if my approach is for you. Sessions are 1 hour to 1.5 hours so good value for your health dollar.

I am registered with BUPA for clients with the appropriate policy.

I work from Geilston Bay, Hobart, Tasmania.

Counsellor Hobart Tasmania. Counselling Hobart Tasmania. Psychotherapist Hobart Tasmania. Psychotherapy Hobart Tasmania. Therapist Hobart Tasmania. Counselling outdoors. Bush Adventure Therapy. Person Centred Therapy. Somatic Psychotherapy. Psychology. Nature Contact. Life Skills. Coaching. Walk and Talk. Psychodynamic. Mindfulness. NDIS.

*For self funded clients. Standard sessions are $120.00.

Some Real News, and a little bit of fake news, From The 8th International Adventure Therapy Conference.

IMG_4965.JPG

On my way there, Domestic Airport Station, Sydney.

The proceedings began with a welcome to country from Uncle Max who spoke about what it was like having a bad day when he was seven years old, and what adults should do, and how he could support us, if we are having a bad day. “Get your little camera out, take a picture of yourself, and send it to me.” Tears were streaming down my cheeks, streaming. Uncle Max is a local aboriginal elder, and clearly a beautiful man. “We need to give it away to keep it” he said of his precious culture. How many aboriginal people have I met this year displaying in kind of generosity. I am beginning to lose track of their names.

40622454_10156604144621597_7072656288525582336_n 2.jpg

Post surf at Stanwell Park, a truly perfect morning learning to surf.

Four hundred and forty plus diverse delegates from around the earth, we met at Stanwell Tops to share our experiences, research and knowledge of adventure therapy.

40607246_2058728004146910_639947764871987200_o.jpg

Our delegates from around The Earth.

What is adventure therapy? It typically occurs outdoors, but not necessarily. It must utilise an essential dose of adventure. Wikipedia says an adventure is exciting. The Romans had it as advenire meaning to arrive, and adventurus, meaning about to happen. A mix of presence and anticipation that is typical of contemporary adventure therapies.

IMG_5038.JPG

Stanwell Tops, a section of the Great Dividing Range escarpment that touches the Pacific Ocean at Stanwell Park.

Five days of conferencing gave us many engaging speakers, useful workshops and sessions. For me it was exciting how many knowledgable women spoke. Gabrielle Fletcher spoke of post humanism and the more than human, meaning all the sentient beings that are not strictly us, but just as important. She admirably, and for one of the few times in my life, clearly explained how The Earth is here because we are here, and we are here because The Earth is here. Have a crack at that next time you are sitting around the campfire!

https://8iatc.internationaladventuretherapy.org/8iatc-session/spotlight-gabrielle-fletcher/

Here are the links to the other speakers:

https://8iatc.internationaladventuretherapy.org/8iatc-session/spotlight-karen-field/

https://8iatc.internationaladventuretherapy.org/8iatc-session/spotlight-nevin-harper/

https://8iatc.internationaladventuretherapy.org/8iatc-session/spotlight-jess-huon/

https://8iatc.internationaladventuretherapy.org/8iatc-session/spotlight-creativity-within-making-and-seeing/

IMG_5086.JPG

A couple of the locals, more than human.

IMG_5061.JPG

A morning surf check and contemplation from the edge of the escarpment, it was big.

The book  “The Palgrave Macmillan International Handbook of Women and Outdoor Learning” edited by Tonia Gray and Denise Mitten was launched by a stage full of women and spoken about by Helen Caldicott. Hang onto your trousers, or whatever else you may be wearing whilst she is talking. A very strong presence, a powerful intellect, and capacity, courage and boldness, in a triple dose. If you have not heard of her you may be young, or you were possibly asleep for the last sixty years. There are the search engines if you would like to catch up, or just gently inform yourself.

https://8iatc.internationaladventuretherapy.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2018/07/Screen-Shot-2018-07-16-at-11.02.19-pm.png

IMG_5104.JPG

The Dreaming Humming Bee closing ceremony is about to start.

Lead by Hoya (Lynne) Thomas and Rhona Miller, the conference closing activity was an indigenous dreaming humming bee to bring people together through love, understanding and belonging. By sending out blessings, prayers and respect for Mother Earth we ritually reconnected  through the songlines under the invitation and direction of Lynne and Rhonda. A meditation on the nurturing earth and the oneness of us who attended, and of all things.

I’m not sure exactly why, but I think I do know, the words sung by Elton John come to me to finish this piece. So here they are for you…

“So excuse me forgetting, but these things I do,

You see, I’ve forgotten if they’re green or they’re blue.

Anyway, the thing is, what I really mean,

It’s yours are the sweetest eyes I’ve ever seen.”

It was a big, joyful, and robust five days.

IMG_4965.JPG

 

My presentation at the 8th International Adventure Therapy Conference.

 

The 8th International Adventure Therapy Conference will be in Sydney, Australia this year, from the 28th of  August to the 2nd of September.

I will be attending to catch up with colleagues, meet new colleagues, learn new things about my field in the international sphere, and share a presentation on the work I have been involved with walking one to one with people over the last five years, entitled:  Moving Right Along – You and Me, and All of Cosmology.

I will also be co-facilitating the pre-conference workshop Bush Adventure Therapy 101.    https://internationaladventuretherapy.org/8iatc/8iatc-session/bat-101/

Screen Shot 2018-08-03 at 10.48.54 am.png

Screen Shot 2018-08-03 at 10.50.22 am.png

 

The abstract for my presentation:

Moving Right Along – You and Me, and All of Cosmology.

One to one walk and talk adventure therapy in the outdoors, observations from five years of practice.

For the past five working years I have been exploring a modality of adventure therapy whereby I have been working with clients one to one in outdoor settings in the environs close to our local capital city of Hobart in Tasmania. These environs range from paved walkways through to genuine wilderness that is part of our South-West Wilderness that connects with the edges of our city.

This paper gives a qualitative description and discussion of my observations from working therapeutically with my clients.

In this paper I look at the influences specific to the particular landscape that we choose to walk in for the ninety minute session time we usually share together. In conjunction with this I describe the therapeutic strategies I typically employ to effectively activate a session. A key decision in the choice of strategy is how well this strategy meshes with my approach in general, and the mood of the client, the landscape, and myself on a particular day.

I describe and investigate the confluences of city and bush, land and river, client and counsellor, that are the dynamic therapyscape of these AT sessions.

I look at this work through the viewpoints of mindfulness and emersion, and the ideas and reality of right action and the transition from innocence to wisdom, not knowing to maturation.

I have included a synopsis of my clinical findings.

My conclusions are a combination of qualitative observations, the clinical findings mentioned, and a curious unexpected thread whereby my learning’s from our collective history of successful therapies seem to come spontaneously into play.

stanwell park.jpg

The conference will be at Stanwell Tops, near Stanwell Park, New South Wales.

 

https://internationaladventuretherapy.org/8iatc/

https://internationaladventuretherapy.org/the-role-of-atic-in-international-adventure-therapy-conferences-iatcs/