The Art of Working With Nature in Nature-Based Therapies

Lia Naor, Ofra Mayseless

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Nature-based therapeutic approaches have largely centered on the significance of nature, as a unique setting. This article focuses on an additional perspective, that of nature as actively influencing the therapeutic process, providing significant content. Purpose: The main objective of this study was to shed light on how practitioners experience, perceive, and work with nature to serve therapeutic goals. Methodology/Approach: Grounded theory inquiry was implemented. Data included in-depth interviews conducted with 26 nature-based practitioners with different professional backgrounds from five countries and field observations of six nature-based workshops. Findings/Conclusions: Four major categories emerged: (a) A basic belief among practitioners that nature is actively influencing the therapeutic process, providing significant and relevant personal information; (b) the practitioners’ relationship with nature and its role in the therapeutic process; (c) the practice of working with nature so nature’s input is acknowledged and integrated intentionally; (d) creating the conditions for the clients’ engagement with nature as a resource via five themes. Implications: This study expands on common notions of nature-based facilitation, illuminating the possibilities and potential of integrating nature’s input as beneficial and relevant to the therapeutic process by working with nature. The operational and practical steps for working with nature are delineated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)184-202
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Experiential Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Authors 2020.


  • facilitation with nature
  • mindfulness
  • nature-based therapy
  • wilderness/adventure therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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