The Nature-Based Therapy graduate certificate is ideal for anyone interested in understanding the healing benefits of nature. Research posits that intentional time spent in nature has physical and psychological benefits including decreased blood pressure, decreased cortisol levels (stress hormone), decreased symptoms of depression and anxiety, increased attention, and increased sense of wellbeing. However, humans are more disconnected from the natural world than ever before. Since the technology boom in the early 1990s, there has been a growing dysfunction in our (humans) relationship with the natural world. Grounded in ecocentrism, the Nature-Based Therapy Graduate certificate program offers students the opportunity to critically examine the impact of “moderization”, defined as, “the conglomeration of a society’s urbanization, industrialization, technological advancement, secularization, consumerism, and westernization” (Hidaka, 2012, p. 2) and develop knowledge and skills crucial to the ideological shift necessary to heal our relationship with planet Earth.
Situated in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains, East Tennessee State University is the picturesque location to intentionally foster your relationship with the natural world and hone in on nature-infused wellbeing. Johnson City, Tennessee is conveniently located less than two hours from the Great Smoky Mountain National Park; one hour from Asheville, North Carolina and the Blue Ridge Mountains, and 30 minutes to the nearest Appalachian Trail trailhead.
With specific emphasis on cultivation of the ecological self, the Nature-Based Therapy graduate certificate program offers students foundational knowledge and skills fundamental to harnessing nature’s healing benefits in any setting. The certificate would be most beneficial to professionals in the social and health sciences, but its application extends far beyond those specific fields. The certificate offers comprehensive preparation for the creation of nature-based therapeutic services and programming, as well as for the integration of nature-based therapeutic practices into existing programs and services. Students will develop skills relevant to individual and community healing, development, and wellness, including practical skills for programming logistics, implementation, administration, and risk management. Topics covered include ecopsychology, ecotherapy, Leave no trace (LNT) philosophy, land stewardship practices, common US nature-based program models, multicultural perspectives in nature-based therapeutics, and outdoor behavioral health care.