The Therapeutic Process in Nature-Based Therapies from the Perspectives of Facilitators: A Qualitative Inquiry

Lia Naor, Ofra Mayseless

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article focuses on the therapeutic process in nature-based therapies (NBTs), shedding light on how the process is perceived, practiced, and evolves, from the perspective of practitioners from various approaches in the field. Building upon current conceptualizations, this study specifically focuses on the natural environment, as the setting and central ingredient in the therapeutic process. To gain a broad and empirically based understanding of the therapeutic process in NBTs, grounded theory methodology was applied. Data included in-depth interviews with 26 experienced practitioners from various NBT approaches worldwide and field observations of six NBT workshops. The findings of this study shed light on a unique experiential therapeutic process involving three main phases that are facilitated in a way that enhances the influence of the natural environment. These include (1) preparation and transition-creating the physical and psychological container for change, (2) engagement and challenge-learning new and expanded ways of being, and (3) meaning making and incorporation, deriving personal meaning from the experience and integration in daily life. These phases are presented in a tentative framework for intervention, underscoring the main objective, methods, tools, and role of practitioner and nature in each phase. The practical implementations of these understandings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)284-293
Number of pages10
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright 2021, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers 2021.


  • Adventure and wilderness therapy
  • Nature-based therapies
  • Personal development
  • Personal growth
  • Stages of therapeutic process

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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