with world renowned ecopsychologist
and facilitator David Key
April 30th - May 7th, 2023.
Tune into ecotherapy to discover the transformational power of nature.
Time outdoors in nature heals. Discover how to create healing experiences for your personal and professional practise by deepening your awareness and engagement with nature to regenerate both personal and planetary wellbeing.
David Key, author of the ground-breaking book Field Guide to Ecotherapy*, and one of the pioneers and world leaders in the field of ecopsychology, is offering his unique transformational experience in Australia for the first time at Springfield.
David has been facilitating transformational change in nature for more than 20 years, including projects with the WWF, the Australian Conservation Foundation, the European Union, Schumacher College, and Outward Bound New Zealand.
Immerse yourself in the revitalising power of nature.
Unearth wild insights about your place in the natural world.
Learn outdoor techniques for personal healing that inspire fresh ways of being and acting in the world.
Connect with a new community - and the whole community of life.
Emerge from your lockdown cocoon feeling vibrant and empowered.
*Publication March 2023
“I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out until sundown,
for going out, I found, was really going in.” John Muir
Don't hesitate. Just do it! You will feel great, brave and you won´t be disappointed – I promise you.
Margret Mennenga, Germany
Read more of what our past guests have had to say here.
This retreat explores the rich and transformational intersection of psychology, outdoor experiences and sustainability. Psychology provides a lens for understanding our relationships with the rest of nature and spending time outdoors helps us to embody that understanding. Considering our personal role in sustainability adds another dimension to this experience, giving meaning and true context for health and wellbeing.
Ecotherapy healing connects us deeply to planetary healing, bringing self and the planet, upon which all of life depends, into one interdependent whole.
This five night retreat is expertly designed to reshape your relationship to place, to nature, and to yourself. Professionals who would like to learn how to incorporate these Ecotherapy lessons into their practice also have the option to stay for an additional two days of professional development.
Program Part 1 : Ecotherapy - personal practise
Apri 30 - May 4th
"Hold your nose and dive in at the deep end – the course will take you to places you haven’t imagined, good and bad, and will be truly formative as an investment of your time and energy." - Gill, Former Program Guest.
As a tribe, we will sit around a flickering fire in the woods, experiencing how ecological consciousness arises through relationship, as an emergent property of nature’s living tracery. Then, by spending precious time in solitude on the land, we’ll come back to ourselves as the Earth. Together we’ll broaden our sphere of awareness to participate in nature - on its own terms. We will share the wisdom it has to offer with humility and grace.
We’ll explore and live in deep time, honouring the processes which connect us with a vast evolutionary journey and all of life on earth. We will reflect on our stories and roles in these challenging and uneasy times. We’ll share a transformational journey that supports a wider perspective of time, space and consciousness. This is a chance to check out from all things digital, resource yourself, reflect and harvest the fruits of a strange and traumatic year.
We will begin, through gentle practices, by getting to know each other and tuning in to place. There will be discussions, time for reflection, creativity, sharing and listening. There will be walking, watching, supporting and nourishment.
We will each find our place and open a deep dialogue with the earth. Through our senses we will pay attention, and discover what we might keep, and what we must give away. Our stories will be heard and carried. Honoured and transformed. We will emerge with a tale to tell and a keen heart.
To complete we will bring things together. Orientate ourselves in and between worlds. Find solid ground below, feel the high sky. We will weave threads and plant seeds. We will make plans and stand together.
Program Part 2: Ecotherapy - Professional Practise
May 5th - 7th
Those staying for professional development will then spend several days burrowing under the ground of it all. Finding the roots. Unearthing. Exploring how these types of experiences can be skilfully convened, designed, held, led and witnessed - for the benefit of person and planet. One and the same.
Is the second part of this retreat for you?
You do not need to be a psychotherapist or counsellor to participate in this course. It is for anyone interested in working with the therapeutic potential of outdoor experiences - from urban parks to designated wilderness.
This includes healthcare practitioners, outdoor leaders, social workers, youth workers, rangers, conservationists and educators - as well as those interested in commissioning, or referring into, therapeutic outdoor programmes.
Exploring together the transformational power of Nature for personal and planetary wellbeing will give you the confidence, understanding and practical skills to design and facilitate therapeutic outdoor experiences for others.
David will guide you into a deeper understanding of:
How to create healing outdoor experiences for others?
What frameworks help understand why they heal and how to work with them?
What techniques work best to facilitate outdoor experiences that heal?
Why are there so many names for this kind of work - what do they all mean?
Do you need to be a psychotherapist to work therapeutically outdoors?
How do you do this type of work ethically and professionally?
If you are looking for professional development, then extend the Ecotherapy retreat with three additional days of expert tuition.
Immerse yourself in the revitalising power of nature. Discover wild ideas about our place in the natural world. Build your personal experience into professional development. Discover frameworks and techniques to design and facilitate therapeutic outdoor experiences in a variety of environments and professional contexts.
“The world is our consciousness, and it surrounds us."
Springfield is situated on traditional lands that were shared by people of the Gundungurra, Dharawal and Yuin nations. Springfield is only five minutes drive from Fitzroy Falls in Morton National Park.
We are 15 minutes from Bowral, Moss Vale and Robertson in the beautiful Southern Highlands of NSW. The energy here has been described as peaceful, still and even soporific, making it an excellent place for exploration and transformation.
Meet Your Expert Facilitator
David Key works at the intersection of outdoor leadership and ecopsychology. Since 1996 he has designed and facilitated outdoor programmes for psychological wellbeing and sustainability to a wide diversity of organisations and individuals. This includes projects with the WWF, the Australian Conservation Foundation, the European Union and Outward Bound New Zealand. Dave also piloted the UK’s first outdoor programme by prescription, for the University of Exeter.
David has taught, supervised and researched extensively in the academic sector and is published in several languages. He has a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Design and a Masters of Science with Distinction in Human Ecology. He is a Fellow of the Centre for Human Ecology (UK) and is on the editorial boards of several international journals. He holds National Governing Body outdoor instructor qualifications in both the United Kingdom and Aotearoa New Zealand.
David's book A Field Guide to Ecotherapy is due for publication in March 2023.
LIMITED SPOTS AVAILABLE, DON'T MISS OUT!
What to bring:
We will be outside everyday whatever the weather! You will need to bring the right clothing and equipment to be comfortable outdoors. It is very important that you come prepared. A personal clothing and equipment list will be sent once your application has been processed.
This course is not a test of endurance! We are committed to creating an experience accessible to a wide range of abilities. We lead the programme to meet the needs of everyone in the group, while also recognising than a little bit of a challenge can be a helpful thing. Everything we do is offered as an invitation. You will never have to do anything you don’t want to. As a guideline, you will need to be able to carry a day pack containing your personal equipment (waterproofs, spare clothes, lunch, flask, etc.) for periods of up to four hours at a time, in a natural environment. If you are unsure about your ability to take part for any reason, please contact us as soon as possible to discuss your needs.
April 30th : All guests arrive
May 1st - 3rd: Ecotherapy Personal Practise
May 4th: Personal Practise guests closure & departure
Rest day for Professional Practise guests
5th- 6th: Professional Practise
7th: Closure & Departure
ROOMS, PRICES AND ACCOMMODATION
Accommodation is allocated according to availability and your first preference at the time of booking. We have two private bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms, if this is your preference please book early. If you choose to share we’ll pair you with a like-minded roommate, or bring a friend!
Please explore room options and descriptions here before booking.
$2325* private room, shared bathroom:
(Avocado Room, Indigo Room, Drover's Rest Rooms, Farm House Rooms)
$2675* private room with private ensuite:
(Rose Room, Blue Room)
*For those attending the second part of this retreat please add an additional $1750 to the prices above.