The Largest Obstacle: Describing ecotherapy research to peers and professionals

The most difficult part of this summer research has been describing my research to others. Ecotherapy is a generally unheard-of field of research, so most people have no idea what it is and what my research could possibly be about. In this article I will try to explain what my research is about. Before I do so, I would like you to think about what Ecotherapy research could be. Why do you think it is so difficult to describe?

Ecotherapy is a form of therapy that uses nature to heal. Nature is evolutionary healing to humans because humans have spent most of our evolutionary history in nature, using nature as means to survival. Only recently have humans separated from nature.

One goal of my research has been to find existing scientific research proving that nature should be used as a form of therapy. Those that spend a lot of time in nature are likely aware of its benefits. Those that do not spend much time in nature may need more convincing. Scientific research backing the efficacy of ecotherapy will hopefully increase its popularity among the masses.

The Easier Way to Describe My Research

The easiest way to tell people what I am doing is to direct them to Dr. Ibes’ site, which clearly describes what ecotherapy is. The website also describes the specific research of ParkRx, which is important because most of my research has been for Dr. Ibes’ company ParkRx.

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For example, I have added many free, outdoor, public events to the calendar on the ParkRx website. One goal of ecotherapy is to encourage people to spend time outside. Time outside does not need to involve an expensive trip to the Grand Canyon. Time outside should be spent locally, and should be used to socialize and educate.

Another goal of my ecotherapy research is to educate on where people can go. Williamsburg specifically has a plethora of local parks, yet many people don’t know about most of them. If people know where parks are and what they can do at each, then perhaps they’ll be more likely to head outdoors.

People create excuses to not go outside. One of our goals is to break down these barriers.


  1. Caitlen Macias says:

    I really enjoyed reading about ecotherapy through this post. Often when I feel stressed or have a lot on my mind, I go for a walk, run, or simply sit outside. The find that the fresh air and sun stimulates my senses and increases my focus. I would love to learn more about ecotherapy and what you have found in your research.