Nature based therapy is not a new concept, our well - being and association with nature is part of the never-ending human quest of who were are and just where is our place in this vast environment which surrounds us. In order to better grasp the topic of nature based therapy or ecotherapy, studies consulted were those pertaining to our connection with nature and our wellbeing. Just how does nature connectedness affect our experiencing of a good life is the subject of the first paper reviewed, by Howell, J.A., Dopko, R.L., Passmore, H., Buro, K. (2011). The second paper by Jordan & Marshall (2010) describes a the changes to the traditional therapy frame in a the uncertain environment of the outdoors. In taking therapy outside, we work with nature as one of the variables in the therapeutic relationship. The integrative, often experiential approach of nature- based therapy or ecotherapy, is gaining rapid ground in the field of counselling and psychotherapy. My final research paper aims at looking further into this growing field and how it can help those suffering from anxiety, burnout and depression.
Article Review A
Howell, J.A., Dopko,R.L., Passmore, H., Buro, K. (2011). Nature connectedness: Associations with well- being and mindfulness. Personality and Individual Differences, 51 (2), 166-171.
Howell, Dopko, Passmore and Buro (2011) delve deeply into the question of our connectedness with nature and how it can be measured as a reflection of our mental well- being. The authors, all from the Grant MacEwen University in Edmonton Alberta conducted two empirical studies evidencing this association with data demonstrating that connection to nature may be more beneficial to our emotional and social well- being that previously realized. Drawing from the Biophilia hypothesis argued by Harvard evolutionary biologist E.O Wilson in 1984, that human beings have an instinctive, emotional and genetic need to be in contact with nature, Howell et al., thus hypothesize that "higher levels of nature connectedness would be associated with higher levels of well-being and with greater mindfulness."
Many studies have been conducted on the subject with various results. Howell et al., describe a study conducted by Mayer and Franz in 2004 which showed a "significant correlation between trait nature connectedness and life satisfaction" (p. 166). They are careful to define the word trait and provide a seemingly through review of the qualitative variables in current literature, discussing the changes in definition of well- being by various theorists (Nisbert, Zelenski and Murphy, 2011). The team from Alberta builds upon current research by probing further into the question of the "whether trait nature connectedness was associated with feeling well ... and with functioning well ... as well as the relations among nature connectedness and a second index of positive mental health, mindfulness" (p. 167). Howell et al., review a large amount of research, define terminology and uncover new holes in the theories, they then go on to pose the hypotheses: "are higher levels of nature connectedness associated both with higher levels of well being and with greater mindfulness?" Methodology
Howell et al., conducted two studies using quantitative methods. In the first study, data was collected from 452 university students, primarily female, with "81.1% identifying Canada as their country of birth" (p. 167). Using a variety of questionnaires including Mayer and Franz (2004) 14- item Connectedness to Nature Scale, Keyes' (2005) 40- item, measure of well being and Brown & Ryan's (2003) Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MASS). In order to ensure objectivity of results, Howell et al., balanced these scales by using Paulhus's (1994) Balanced Inventory of Desirable Responding which serves to filter out "unintentionally inflated self-descriptions and impression management" (p 168).
In the second study 275...