We welcome Peter, a Wentworth Falls eco-psychology practitioner, to the Wild Mountain Collective. With graduate science degrees in ecology and sustainability, and a PhD in ecopsychology, he draws on a 20 year professional career in environmental planning, as well as community activism focused on nature conservation and environmental protection. Over 10 years ago, as part of his doctoral research, he developed his NatureConnect Program to help people deepen their connection with nature and facilitate psychological healing, spiritual wellness and self-understanding.
Peter’s NatureConnect Program is a contemplative, perceptual and heart-based strategy that allows participants to expand their consciousness and sense of self by facilitating a heightened, compassionate perspective towards nature, reality and life situations.
The Program conducted in tranquil bushland settings offers a gentle nature-based contemplative connection practice to nourish a heightened perspective towards life and its challenges in a way that can help increase life meaning, mental resilience and deepen connectedness.
As Peter observes: “I offer my expertise in, and my passion for, ecotherapy as a way to help clients experience deeper connection and inner peace. I bring years of doctoral research and connection practice, as well as dealing with my own mental health and existential challenges, to offer an authentic, integrated approach for healing at all levels of our being: energetic, physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. I combine scientific, contemplative, imaginal and heart-based techniques and knowledge to offer transformative outcomes. I enjoy seeing my clients let go and become present to the beauty and spirit of natural places.”
Many people are not able to live their journey into wholeness in part because of their worldview, their focus on surviving and/or the outer life and being overwhelmed by busyness and stress such as financial insecurity, relationship breakdown, the challenges of ageing, work demands, loneliness and fears. Many are struggling with emotions and feelings associated with stress, trauma and loss of meaning that threaten to overwhelm them. More than 20% of Australians at any one time are dealing with a recognised mental illness and many more are troubled by existential concerns. Not only are we struggling with these personal issues but many are experiencing anxiety, despair, anger, frustration and depression by witnessing the ecological devastation, mass extinction and the oppressive threat of the climate emergency.
Two of the fundamental causes of psychological suffering is the chronic absence of perceived or real autonomy to effect change for the better. Whether we are dealing with trauma, isolation or mental health illness, whether we are overly attached to a detrimental belief system, a role or particular persona, or addicted to a substance, lifestyle, technology or activity, if we know we need to change but feel a lack of autonomy to effect change, then powerlessness and hopelessness can maintain or heighten the suffering. The other cause of suffering arises from the insecurity and loss of life meaning by profound disconnection to a deeper sense of self, to others and to our world. Social isolation and lack of life meaning has detrimental health effects as well as increased mortality risks.
The NatureConnect Program can help deal with both these causes of psychological suffering by providing a structured framework and support that can enhance self-empowerment and connectedness through an experiential, contemplative process of tapping into the power of the mind, soul and heart, as well as the healing effects of nature. The Program helps to nourish states of mind to more profoundly engage and relate to natural settings and life in a richer, more meaningful way which then allows for a calmer, compassionate, higher perspective to unfold. It is within this inner spaciousness that difficult psychological issues can be dispassionately and calmly engaged with. The Program is more than a coping tool for mental health and developing resilience, it is also a spiritual practice to help us connect with the sacred, the Divine and our deeper nature’s. More than ever we need a spiritual practice that aligns us with our true nature and connects us with the deeper reality of Oneness.