Guest Post: Wilderness as Healing

Our first guest post here at Watershed Ecotherapy certainly sets the bar high! Michael Gallo, PsyD, MSc has graciously offered his doctoral dissertation, Wilderness as Healing: A Comprehensive Survey of the Literature and Critical Analysis, for public view. The abstract is as follows:

This comprehensive survey of literature with critical thematic analyses was conducted by Michael Gallo to form a contemporary perspective of Wilderness as Healing. Understanding existing perspectives of therapies integrating wilderness experiences was a pertinent foundation for this review. The dearth of prior literature and limited population-specific research necessitated focusing on underlying theoretical constructs as well as the author’s personal experiences as a foundation for new perspectives regarding the potentials for treatment applications incorporating wilderness experiences within clinical psychotherapies. This study facilitated answering three guiding research questions, generating a comprehensive perspective of wilderness as healing benefitting clients by using (a) wilderness therapy, (b) experiences in nature, and (c) relational psychology combined with the philosophies of both transpersonal ecology and ecotherapy practice. This work stands as a foundation for furthering understanding. The potential implications for use within treatment for at-risk youth, women, and families are vast. Additional research is required to develop specific recommendations for practice with these and other populations. Definition of the field through further research is the most critical recommendation for future study.

Read the entire dissertation here in PDF format.

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