Date of Award

Spring 5-18-2024

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Dr. E Kellogg


There is much research on nature-based therapy approaches and the benefits of nature to human health and well-being, which include stress-reduction, improved cognitive functioning, feelings of growth and non-judgment, and awareness of the larger world and a sense of belonging to that world (Luo & Jiang, 2022; Naor & Mayseless, 2021). Research has suggested that hearing sounds of nature, witnessing the life cycle of plants, and relating to the diversity found in nature are just a few of the many ways that connecting to nature can contribute to well-being (McEwan et al., 2023; Subirana-Malaret et al., 2023; Yao & Chen, 2017). This thesis reviews a range of nature-based theory and practice (ecotherapy, forest bathing, adventure and wilderness therapy, technology-assisted nature therapy, horticulture therapy, and nature-based expressive arts therapy) and emphasizes opportunities for the use of nature-based therapy in urban and indoor settings (e.g., growing plants indoors, introducing nature sounds and images in sessions), given that most therapists cannot access wild spaces with their clients easily. Elements of expressive arts therapy such as attunement, embodiment, and imagination are reviewed and related to nature-based therapies, with the suggestion that the expressive arts can serve to help deepen a relationship with nature. The importance of developing a reciprocal relationship with the more-than-human world (whether in a therapy setting or on an individual level) is emphasized, as well as the potential environmental benefits of fostering that type of relationship.

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