Our Workshops & trainings

Nature’s Wisdom

Ecotherapy Immersion & Certification Program

For therapists, counsellors, psychologists, coaches & other health professionals

What is Ecotherapy?

We notice it ourselves. We notice it in others. The experience of groundedness, unity, wholeness, connectedness, peace… when we spend time in the natural world. Ecotherapy is not a new concept. It has been an inherent aspect of our existence on Earth for as long as we have been here.

It’s only a recent development in human evolution where being in nature is something that we go and “do.” Prior to this, our interdependence with nature was an obvious necessity. Consequently, as research is showing, the absence or forgetting of this necessity is resulting in many harmful and discouraging effects, both personally and collectively.

Ecotherapy, then, involves the intentional re-connection with the natural world as a profound gateway to our own healing and renewal.

About this training

This training draws from the work of many before us – those who have received ways of honoring, connecting to, and relating to the natural world from a long line of wisdom keepers.

Alongside this ancient wisdom, we bring the recent knowledge and expertise of the teachers who have dedicated much of their personal and professional lives to broadening the access to, and supporting the embodiment of, these teachings.

We utilize practices that support us in reconnecting to our inherent knowing, discovering our unique place in the natural world, and claiming the healing, growth and transformation this makes possible.

The primary professional modalities that inform this training are: Somatic Ecotherapy, Nonviolent Communication (NVC), Hakomi Mindful Somatic Psychotherapy, Internal Family Systems, Creative Arts Therapy, and Mindfulness. Some specific attention will also be given to working with trauma.

The specific lineage-holders of knowledge that this training takes particular inspiration from are: Dave Talamo with Wilderness Reflections; Steve Foster and Meredith Little with The School of Lost Borders; Joanna Macy with The Work that Reconnects; Jon Young with the Wilderness Awareness School; Bill Plotkin and the Animus Valley Institute; Ron Kurtz and Hakomi Mindful Somatic Psychotherapy, and S.N Goenka with the Vipassana Meditation Centre.

The Structure of this Training

This is a four-module training spread out over 4 months. The first three modules taking place on a Friday evening and full weekend. The final module takes place on a Wednesday evening plus full days on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and includes an overnight solo.

The purpose of the training is to support participants in (a) developing their own intimate relationship with nature, (b) developing a solid structure for facilitating an Ecotherapy session, (c) incorporating a number of different therapeutic modalities well suited for this work (see above), and (d) determining where their own particular level of comfort is in this way of working.

Each of the four modules will revolve around the theme of one of the four cardinal directions (North, South, East and West) and their associated stages of human development and transformation (drawn particularly from the work of Meredith Little and Steve Foster and the School of Lost Borders, and from the work of David Talamo and Wilderness Reflections). As part of each module, participants will explore each of these developmental stages in relation to their own personal life journeys, in relation to the various cycles found in nature, and with regard to facilitating the healing and transformation of their clients.

 

This training will support you to:

  • Develop your own intimate & allied relationship with the natural world

  • Support your clients to create their own intimate & allied relationship with the natural world

  • Support your clients to access strength-based nature resources

  • Develop an internal topographical compass and map that will enable you to feel confident in facilitating and navigating an individual or group ecotherapy session

  • Develop skills for building therapeutic relationships that create safety, boundaries and trust

  • Create a backpack of therapeutic tools and skills to draw from and weave into your existing outdoor or indoor practice

  • Explore philosophies and principles that support the practices of Nonviolence, organismic wisdom, unconditional positive regard, authentic communication and loving kindness

  • Have fun, relax and connect with like-minded people in nature

Course Framework:

4 Modules (each 3 – 5 days long)  + 1 optional Vision Quest (up to 8 days)

Module 1: “Establishing Basecamp” – Resourcing
Theme:  Gathering resources and establishing alliance, with nature, our clients, and our essential self
Dates:  September 24th – 26th
Location:  The Catlins – Otago

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Module 2:  “The Foothills” – Accessing
Theme:  Identifying the therapeutic threshold and venturing forth.
Dates:  October 29th – 31st
Location:  South Dunedin – Otago

      ——————————-

Module 3:  “Climbing the Mountain” – Processing
Theme:  Navigating the territory of unhealed wounds and unresolved trauma.
Dates:  December 3rd – 5th
Location:  The Catlins – Otago

    ——————————-

Module 4:  “Back to Basecamp” –  Integration
Theme:  Weaving the rewards of this transformative journey into ordinary consciousness and our everyday life.
Dates:  February 9th – 13th
Location:  Peel Forest – Canterbury

    ——————————-

(Optional) Vision Quest: A personal plunge into the depths of Nature’s Wisdom
Theme:  After having completed the journey of the core training, this is an opportunity to further deepen and integrate the knowledge and wisdom you have gained; and to request further guidance and direction from the natural world and the depths of your essential self.
Dates:  18th – 25th March
Location:  Waitati – Otago

 

Meet the Teachers:

Toni McErlane – Ecotherapist, Counsellor, Mediator, Nonviolent Communication (NVC) Facilitator, Outdoor Adventurer

Paris Williams – Ecotherapist, Clinical Psychologist, Hakomi Teacher, Somatic Trauma Specialist, Outdoor Adventurer

Jaqueline Sheridan –  Ecotherapist, Transpersonal Therapist, Creative Soul Journey Facilitator & Poet

Brendon Whitmore – Ecotherapist, Craniosacral Therapist, Deep Nature Connection Mentor and Wilderness Rites of Passage Facilitator

 

Course Investment:

Early bird discount only $2,950 until July 31st  ($3,250 afterwards)

*Optional follow-up 8-day Soul Quest – an additional $1,250 (see below for more details)

* price includes tuition, all lunches/dinners, & spacious dorm-style or camping accommodations

Submit Payment to:
Account name:  Restorative Relationships
Account Number:  01-0322-0212196-01
Reference:  [your name]
Code:  Ecotherapy

 

REGISTER HERE→

Whale Song

8 Day Soul Quest

Waitati, Dunedin

18th to 25th March, 2022

  • Do you feel stuck without direction or purpose?
  • Has the fullness of life evaporated your creative soul?
  • Are you longing for solitude and reflection to listen deeply?
  • Or are you wanting to just pause and allow your authentic creative self to show you a more soul driven path?

If you feel ready to plunge into the depths of your own mythic adventure into the wilderness, to step into the humble passage of seeking vision, then we invite you to this ancient ceremony. A ceremony that is beyond any human teaching and until recently has been hiding in the dark rich soil of the forest unseen. This ceremony, sometimes referred to as a Vision Quest, has been carried out pan-culturally as a Rite-of-Passage for thousands of years and it is now time to re-awaken the ceremony in the modern day so that together we may flourish as individuals and communities with the Earth.

Throughout this ceremony you will be supported by experienced guides and therapists who have all undertaken their own Whale of a dive into the wilderness passage. They encourage you to step into the unknown and give up a little bit of comfort, in return you may just find what you have been seeking.

 

Structure of the Program

The is an eight day program that includes pre and post individual sessions to support participants to gain the most of their quest experience.

The first two days on the land will be in group where you will be supported by your guides to gain clarity on your intention and to prepare. The solo time is four nights after which your are welcomed back with ceremony by your guides and supported to integrate and weave your experience on the land into your daily life.

Follow up support after you go home in also included.

 

Why Whale Song?

In Myths, Folklore and Tribal Cultures the world over, Whales are considered the wisdom keepers of our great Mother Earth, where the sacred knowledge and guidance for our personal change and spiritual growth resides. Symbolically, Whale also reminds us to re-connect with our Great Mother, to remember our deeper connection to the ecology of life. The archaic echo sound of the Whale reminds us to slow down and connect to our own rhythmical nature, to feel into our hearts with Earth and remember the heartbeat we all shared when we were in our own Mother’s womb.

For more information about this process please contact us to set up a time to answer any questions.

Meet Your Guides:

Toni McErlane – Ecotherapist, Counsellor, Mediator, Nonviolent Communication (NVC) Facilitator, Outdoor Adventurer

Paris Williams – Ecotherapist, Clinical Psychologist, Hakomi Teacher, Somatic Trauma Specialist, Outdoor Adventurer

Jaqueline Sheridan –  Ecotherapist, Transpersonal Therapist, Creative Soul Journey Facilitator & Poet

Brendon Whitmore – Ecotherapist, Craniosacral Therapist, Deep Nature Connection Mentor and Wilderness Rites of Passage Facilitator

 

Quest Investment:

Early bird rate of only $1,250 until 31st December ($1,350 afterwards)

*includes meals and camping accomodation

Submit Payment to:
Account name:  Restorative Relationships
Account Number:  01-0322-0212196-01
Reference:  [your name]
Code:  SoulQuest

 

REGISTER HERE→

Wild Bones of Winter

One Day Quest

Auckland, (KareKare) 21st August 2021

Tauranga 22nd August 2021

Picton (Waikawa Bay) 4th September 2021

Christchurch 5th December 2021

 

Connect with the inspirational power of nature to allow your inner wisdom to rise up from deep within your bones.

“What you seek is seeking you” Rumi

THIS DAY LONG EVENT IS FOR YOU IF:

  • You are wanting more direction in your life.
  • You are in a transitional phase of life and are seeking guidance.
  • You are ready to shed that which is no longer serving you.
  • You want to step courageously into your wild power.
  • You are wanting to embed in the peace and beauty of the natural world and give space for the wisdom of Stillness.

This day long experience mimics the longer version of the traditional Rite of Passage ceremony as we journey together into Nature and the stillness of winter, a place where you may feel the soul calling you into something more, to mark a point of transition in your life or to seek insight and support to specific questions or challenges.

As we turn towards the months of winter, what wisdom is lying and waiting for us in the stillness of the frost, the smell of the rain or the cold on our skin. Maybe you are curious about what leafless trees may call up in you or how the slower polyrhythms of the birds aid you in slowing down. What may illuminate deep within as you give up a little bit of comfort to stand in the heart of Winter’s song?

Winter is a time of contemplating and reflecting, of bringing forth the wisdom for you, your family and future generations. It is said that we are all born into this world with a unique gift, and this is our soul’s purpose, but where is the soul? In many myths, folklore and cultures the “bones” are considered to house one’s soul. The “Wild Bones of Winter” journey invites us into those wild places to discover what lies deep in our own bones, so we may gain insight into what wisdom is wanting to emerge as our gift in this world.

As part of this one-day soulful event we will follow the 3 phases of a traditional Rite of Passage; Separation, Threshold and Incorporation. We will start the day with coming together in circle to explore each other’s intention, in the spirit of open-hearted listening. Stepping out of circle, you will then move into your own individual experience (Separation).  Crossing a Threshold, we honour the transition into sacred liminal space where you will enter into a conversation with the land.  Returning back through the threshold, you are welcomed back into circle to share what will have transpired out there in the mystery of the Natural world and the Winter landscape. (Incorporation).

“The seed must be frozen into its purpose before it can burst its winter casing and shoot forth green fire”. Steven Foster

If some curiosity has been sparked within you or you feel a sense of calling, please register below

 

Investment $169 (Please contact us if financial circumstances limit your ability to participate and we can connect around options that may make it possible)

An information pack will be sent on completion of registration.

This event is delivered by Brendon Whitmore and Toni McErlane who are both experienced Ecotherapists and group facilitators who care deeply about personal development, transformation and healing for yourself, others and the more-than-human world.

Meet Your Guides:

Toni McErlane – Ecotherapist, Counsellor, Mediator, Nonviolent Communication (NVC) Facilitator, Outdoor Adventurer

Brendon Whitmore – Ecotherapist, Craniosacral Therapist, Deep Nature Connection Mentor and Wilderness Rites of Passage Facilitator

Submit Payment to:
Account name:  Brendon Whitmore
Account Number: 02-0708-0247359-00
Reference:  [your name]
Code:  WBOW

REGISTER HERE→

Discover & Explore Your Personal Power

     …for Connection & Life

 

Dunedin

7th August, 2021

(Saturday)

9:30am – 5:00pm

This workshop may be for you if:

  • you’re noticing power dynamics in your relationship or workplace you would like to change

  • your voice says “Yes” when your heart is saying “No”

  • you want to support others in accessing their personal power

  • you want more freedom to speak your truth while staying connected to people you care about

Join Toni and Jean in exploring what power is, how you can access more of it, and how you can use it with integrity and compassion. Discover the difference between power-over and power-with. Learn to make and respond to requests with authenticity and care. Strengthen you connections and expand your sense of freedom and choice.

This one-day interactive workshop is based on the principles of Nonviolent Communication (also known as Compassionate Communication), developed by Dr Marshall Rosenberg.

Meet the Trainers:

Toni McErlane:  NVC Facilitator, Counsellor, Mediator, Eco-therapist

Jean McElhaney:  Certified NVC Trainer, Mental Health Professional (LPC, LCSW), Interfaith Minister

Assisting Facilitator:

Jorinde Rapsey:  NVC Faciltiator, Home Schooling Parent

Requested Financial Contribution:

Full tuition:  $108.00      Student $50.00

Deposit: $50.00
This deposit is required to secure your registration (fully refundable if workshop is cancelled, 50% refund if cancelled within 14 days notice, no refund if cancelled with less than 14 days notice).

Submit Payment to:
Account name:  Restorative Relationships
Account Number:  01-0322-0212196-01
Reference:  [your name]
Code:  NVCDaylong

 

REGISTER HERE→

Our Services

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Our Philosophy

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About Us

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Our Fees

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