Spending time with Geoffrey on a 1:2:1 basis on the Nature Therapy course enabled me to go much deeper with my forest school teaching. I was expecting to develop my teaching and thus the children’s learning but I was not expecting to connect more with myself. I often thought… how did I do that?
I was really buzzing when I left and genuinely feel different: I am a more confident practitioner now. The children have benefited hugely from Geoffrey’s ‘games’ and have responded so positively to all of them. Teachers have noted improved listening and concentration and team work in the classroom as well.
We’re all winning! I cannot recommend this course highly
Tara Bell - 2016
"I met Geoffrey when we attended an all-day workshop together at a Wilderness Therapy Symposium in Boulder, Colorado, where Geoffrey also facilitated his own workshop later that weekend. We had the opportunity talk about our work, and I was inspired by the transformative qualities his nature-based addiction therapy had on his clients.
When I was doing the research a year later for my own book, Contemplative Hiking Along the Colorado Front Range, I drew upon Geoffrey’s work with clients and trees as the basis for one of my chapters. I facilitated the exercise myself and found that it opened up a new way of “seeing”, deep intuition, and listening to an inner knowing that we don’t often access in our busy, technology-distracted lives.
As an Eco-psychologist, I know the power that nature has over our hearts and souls and psyche. I’ve led about 60 contemplative group hikes where I live in the last two years and have spoken with countless people who claim that their sense of inner peace and connectedness comes from an intimacy with nature, both the nature outside and the nature within.
Geoffrey’s work is a reminder that we all possess incredible powers of healing within ourselves, if we just remember how to access it through contemplative time in nature."
Eco-psychologist - USA
"The Natural Awareness training for counsellors and psychotherapists has had a big impact on me both personally and professionally. I left the weekend training feeling elated that I had developed much greater access to a deeper part of myself. My overall confidence and trust in myself have also grown and I’ve felt remarkably centred and grounded ever since. It has now been almost six weeks since I attended the course and thankfully those changes seem to be permanent.
Geoff is an amazing teacher who just seems to radiate warmth, knowledge, experience and personal integrity which caused me to immediately feel safe around him. He was able to convey what some might find difficult to express in a very clear and straightforward manner. That combined with the use of the natural environment meant I felt enough safety and trust to open up and explore parts of myself that I perhaps would not normally visit in a group setting.
As someone who has had a history of generalised and social anxiety, the emphasis on almost purely experiential learning with very little preamble about the exercises was initially a bit of a challenge for me. As it pressed some of my old anxiety buttons about not knowing what I ‘should’ do next. But due to the structure of the exercises and Geoff’s careful guidance at appropriate moments, I found I was quickly able to put aside the overly active cognitive part of my mind, and switch easily to being in the moment and tune into what my ‘heart’ was telling me.
During exercises Geoff seemed able to sense just when to step in and provide assistance and when to hold back and let me struggle with it long enough to find my own answers. When he did provide assistance he skilfully asked questions which guided me to look deep within and find my own answers and thereby gain a greater learning.
The weekend went surprisingly quickly and was packed literally from morning to bedtime with activities. I thoroughly enjoyed all the games, although I found the Drum Stalk; Meet a Tree and The Earth Tree and the Invisibles to be particularly powerful for me. I was really quite surprised and impressed by how effectively the Natural Awareness games provoked and stirred up normally unconscious thoughts patterns and emotions, and drew them quite clearly into my awareness where they could be processed.
The Natural Awareness course also turns out to be remarkably good value for money particularly when compared to the number of hours you get with classroom based training over a weekend. We stayed in a camp in the woodland in which the training took place, and the training began as soon as we had finished our breakfast, and continued right throughout the day until bedtime, stopping only for tea breaks, lunch and dinner. This worked out at approximately 25 hours of training over the weekend, the equivalent of between 4 to 5 days of standard classroom training.
I would have absolutely no hesitation in recommending Geoff’s Natural Awareness course as it is crammed to the brim with superb content, it is well taught, it is great value for money, and it is also a powerful and positive personal experience.
Why was I drawn to the course?
I was drawn to the course for several reasons. For about as long as I can remember I’ve felt a strong connection with nature and in darker personal moments have found my own interaction with nature to be very healing and transformative. My interest in eco-therapy grew from my own healing experiences with nature, and over the years I have sought out different ways to integrate nature into my own psychotherapy practice. I was drawn to the Natural Awareness training in particular because I have had some prior experience of bush-craft and tracking, and an interest in some of the more shamanistic and spiritual aspects of those skills. I also liked the experiential focus of the games, as from experience with my own clients, getting some people to tune-in to their somatic self / ‘heart’ / intuition, can sometimes be difficult in a traditional therapy room setting so I am always on the lookout for useful alternative approaches.
How does it fit with my model?
As an integrative psychotherapist I make use of many modalities and therapeutic approaches including self-relations psychotherapy, gestalt, trance, and mindfulness, NLP, CBT and TA to name a few. I am finding that the Natural Awareness processes integrate like the missing piece of a jigsaw puzzle either by adding something that’s completely missing to a particular model, or by adding additional flexible ways of working that I feel could help many stuck clients make a breakthrough. One model I follow closely is the Self-Relations Psychotherapy model, and it seems to dovetail in beautifully with Natural Awareness. I often find that clients become disconnected to some degree from their somatic self in an attempt to tightly control their feelings and reactions, or the opposite occurs and they let that side of themselves run wild and they go out of control. I feel the Natural Awareness exercises would assist as a way to help people develop a ‘felt sense’, would aid in their self-exploration to find their own positive resources, and help them to find ways to re-balance and reconnect in a positive way with parts of themselves.
How I developed it further?
Since the training I’ve been very excited about Natural Awareness and have spent a lot of time thinking about combining the principles with my own therapeutic approaches. I’ve already come up with a few potential new games, some of which I’ve tried with quite remarkable results. I look forward to sharing them with the Natural Awareness community once I’ve field tested them more fully."
"Geoffrey's workshops are completely extraordinary. As a natural-born cynic, I attended the first one with a lot of doubts. Geoffrey was working with three young lads who had more than their fair share of troubles in life. Although I could just have observed and filmed, Geoffrey and the lads invited me into the workshop. I was drawn into a bubble of trust and calm that had a very profound effect on me. Geoffrey has a way of working - calmly, slowly, with humour - that really draws you in. His ability to connect with the natural world, and to share that connection to others, is really profound.
Games that seem simple and even child-like when described, took on a huge significance in my mind. We were all deeply affected by the experience. I wanted to see more and returned for a one-on-one session. To describe what happened physically, you might think I'd been on a survival course: I lit a fire by rubbing sticks, I slept outside in a leaf shelter, I learned how to use peripheral vision in the dark. But this would completely miss the main outcomes of the workshop: I asked and answered questions about my inner life, my family and my motivations which were long overdue in the asking. Amazing".
Director of Project Wild-Thing
“Geoffrey is a very sensitive, intuitive professional whom has the
ability to help his clients to make contact with the NOW by teaching them to
trust their instincts and each other.
I've had the privilege to work with Geoffrey on various occasions where he used a mixture of survival techniques, outdoor games and counselling. The outcome was amazing: a majority of his clients were able to identify with how their thinking affected the addictive process.”
“Geoffrey is one of the most
interesting people I have ever worked with, and one of the most humane, gentle
and kind people I have ever met. It has been a pleasure to know and work side
by side with, he has helped me centre all focuses on the client’s needs in the
most natural and simple way, in the here and now and learning to hear the
patient through a very different view, the clients view!
He is dedicated to the cause of helping others through his professional experience and through his life story, extremely positive in all his actions and can feel the individual need of the client. I would recommend Geoffrey without a second thought, there are a few people I would trust with in the workplace, and Geoffrey is one of them. I will be willing to answer to any question regarding Geoffrey and his professionalism”.
Senior Addiction Counsellor Promis
It has always been educational, both
personally and professionally. He is an expert in his field, delivering a very
high standard of facilitation and instruction, brought together from a wide
variety of professional and personal experiences. I find his work inspiring and
ground breaking which comes across with awareness, sensitivity and intelligence
and a high level of integrity I highly recommend Geoffrey's services.”Rob Fallon
"It has been an exciting revelation for me to see how effective these games and the use of interventions alongside them can be. By incorporating my counselling skills with an understanding of Natural Awareness, I am realising that a therapeutic relationship – both one-to-one and within a group – can be created for psychological growth and change. I now feel confident that this can work just as well – if not better – in a natural environment rather than in the therapy room. The immediacy of the messages and metaphors offered by nature in each moment is a magical and spontaneous tool that can be harnessed to support the human process in the most natural way.
Geoffrey… offers a depth of knowledge and understanding; learnt over a lifetime of committed service to all of nature and his fellow human beings, which he shares with great generosity and impeccable patience. As a facilitator he is outstanding in the level of attention and availability he gives to workshop participants. The weekend provides great value for money, clocking in at 25 hours of teaching over the two days. It’s refreshing to come across a teacher who is straight up and authentic enough to seek honest feedback and respond consistently from the heart. The measure of a good facilitator is the level of trust that they manifest within a group; at all times I felt safe to explore some of the darker places inside me as well as being able to unashamedly celebrate how great it is to be alive in the wild."
"I’ve always had a strong innate connection with nature… but I’d never done a Nature Awareness workshop before. My first experience of Geoff’s work was “Tracking Intentions”; an afternoon of tracking games in the woods at the Wild Heart Gathering. We were a group of about 12, and our opening circle revealed that although we were from a wide variety of backgrounds we were all pretty connected with nature, heart and spirit; both in life and work. Geoff had a wonderfully grounded presence, and I felt that he could hold a great depth of inquiry and growth in our work together.
What I found most fascinating were the many levels on which the tracking games worked; teachings came through the dynamics within the group as well as our own individual experiences, through connection out to nature and inwards to our intuition, and through a growing awareness of and reflection on the metaphors offered in our tracks and our tracking process. Geoff gave us clear instructions, but didn’t let us know what learning to expect from the games; leaving the earth bare for us to track our own learning in whatever direction that took.
The biggest revelation came in a game where the track maker, unbeknown to the trackers, laid tracks whilst imagining herself in a certain situation. Geoff asked me to say how the tracks made me feel. He was very insistent in his questioning, and I felt really put on the spot; not really sure what I was being asked. But suddenly I felt gripped with a fear…almost terror, and found that, despite myself, I had had a gut reaction to the tracks which reflected their being made by someone imagining that they were being chased through the forest! Which was indeed the case.
I like learning by doing and being (rather than studying books or attending
lectures!), and this work proves how effective such learning can be. Geoff has
a gift for holding a group, and allowing enough space for group interactions
and individual reflection to lead to profound shifts in understanding. Of
course, nature works her magic too – I reckon if you’re open to growing this
work will take you far!"
Natural Awareness Taster Day at the