• Olivia Köhler

What is (systemic) nature therapy actually?

Has the sound of water ever told you something or has the wind consciously interrupted you? Have you ever stood on a mountain or hill, for example, and that triggered something very specific in you?


These are examples of our living relationship and the interconnectedness between us humans and natural spaces, which are deeply rooted in our human history. Systemic nature therapy is interested in exactly this - the human being in space. It assumes that the surrounding space, especially natural spaces, have an impact on how we feel, think and act.


Systemic nature therapy includes elements of the given nature and the man-made world besides social constellations


The classical systemic approach, which is the most widespread and practiced therapy and counseling approach besides psychoanalysis and behavioral therapy, understands the human being in interaction with his social constellations. Complementary to this, in systematic nature therapy interaction and communication are not exclusively linked to human systems, but also include elements of the given nature and the man-made world in the constellation of a being.


Systemic nature therapy is thus a nature-dialogical method that serves to counsel and accompany individuals, communities, teams and organizations. It is an action- and experience-oriented form of guidance outdoors in nature. One can speak of a non-directive procedure and phenomenologically oriented process coaching that goes beyond purely linguistic and intellectual forms of intervention.


Exploration of the quality of relationship to natural spaces and to the elements that are effective in them


On the one hand, we work with the natural principles that are fundamental to the topology of a given landscape, such as the coast and the sea, the forest or the mountain space. On the other hand, we dive deeper into the elements of fire, earth, water and air that are effective in them.


Both nature and ourselves are an expression of the interplay of the four elements. We humans are as diverse and peculiar in our elemental composition as the various natural places. We find clues to our connection to the elements fire, earth, water and air in our body, its movements, in our emotional and linguistic landscapes, as well as present life themes.


The flowing middle between body, psyche and soul


The dialogue with space can take place on several levels of perception and through different forms of expression - just as natural space expresses itself in different facets.

  • Our body: concrete contact and sensual grasp of the surrounding space

  • Our psyche: rich complexity of thoughts and feelings

  • Our soul: interwoven with the subtle dimensions of life

In systemic nature therapy, we look at the fluid interconnectedness between these three dimensions and see how they express themselves. In doing so, we follow the idea of a moving center from which our being can look into the world and have an impact.



The three dimensions of body, psyche and soul are connected and express themselves in different ways


Aliveness and the effect of nature therapy


When we are outdoors together we become more familiar with our body, we train the attention of our psyche and are encouraged to encounter the soul space. This strengthens self-healing and belonging, and promotes health, well-being, and physical and emotional resilience. The orientation is towards what resources are already within us.


Get in touch


Feel free to call or write me if you have questions or want to know more - or find more information about my various offerings here.




This text is based on the whitepaper "Alive Connected" from Nature & Healing, where I am currently deepening my training as a systemic nature therapist.