Creating A Therapeutic Alliance With Trees
Tree consciousness is the idea that trees have a spiritual energy and a conscious mind that is awake, intelligent and able to communicate with other conscious minds. Tree consciousness suggests that trees are aware of themselves and their surroundings and that their interactions are more than physiological responses. Tree consciousness also suggests that it is possible to communicate with trees through extra sensory perceptions and even enter into a dialogue with them. In my experience trees are highly communicative. A single tree can be a busy social community embodying not only their own autonomous spirit, but many other nature spirits and spirit animals.
Relational Depth and Person-Centred Theory
Relational Depth is a terms created by Professor of Counselling Dave Mearns and is used in counselling to describe a significant moment of connection that occurs between two people. Relational Depth is a synchronisation of energies, when all surrounding noise melts away and all that exists is the recognition between two people sharing a moment. Carl Rogers, an American psychologist, developed Person-Centred therapy. He believed that given the right conditions, through a process of change, a person could reach their full potential and become their true self. The core principles of person-centred theory are unconditional positive regard, congruence and empathy..
Congruence is transparency in what we think and feel. Empathy is when we displays a sense of deep understanding towards another’s feelings. Unconditional positive regard is the valuing of an individual’s uniqueness. In working closely with the trees we can transfer the core principles of person-centred theory and adapt them into a tree-centred practice. Nurturing this unique connection with the trees can support relational depth to occur. We have an opportunity to reach our own personal potential through working closely with nature and we can support the trees in their wellness and growth.
When we are creating a positive regard with trees we are demonstrating that we value them and that we accept that they too are autonomous beings. In ways that are personal to us we may like to demonstrate our positive regard towards trees. For instance an example may be to study the life cycle of a particular tree or to explore a local woodland and record the roles that the insects, animals or fungi have in aiding the trees life cycles. We may also enjoy creating an illustration of our favourite tree or writing a poem in honour of our growing friendship with them. We may simply enjoy walking by trees in a mindful way. Trees respond to these gentle offerings and they begin to remember each time we visit.
One of the few places we can truly be ourselves is alone within nature. Trees offer us a peaceful place to explore our thoughts and feelings. Trees are natural confidants, secret keepers and holders of wisdom. The more we share of our thoughts and feelings with the trees, the stronger the bond becomes. Being honest and open in our intentions for communicating with trees demonstrates our integrity. When we spend time with trees we may like to offer the trees a blessing, or we may need some clarity on a problem or a little inspiration for a creative project. Being clear in our request or offering supports us in entering into a dialogue with the tree spirits.
Being understood by another being is a need that we creatively find ways to nurture. We can find this sense of understanding or empathy from the trees and the woodlands. In turn we can also offer our empathy to the trees. In offering our empathy to the trees, we are drawing our awareness and understanding to their experiences as autonomous tree beings. An example might be to place a hand on a tree trunk and close our eyes, we can then try to sense the nutrients and the water being absorbed up through the roots and imagine what this might feel like for the tree. This practice encourages active listening and supports us in intuiting subtle messages from the trees. In offering empathy we are building upon our dialogue with the trees that will encourage in time a relational depth experience.
A Therapeutic Alliance With Trees
Offering the core principles of positive regard, congruence and empathy within a tree-centred practice displays our devotion and commitment in creating a relationship that is equally therapeutic. If we offer to the trees that which we are capable of giving towards their wellness and growth, they will support us in reaching our full potential. Trees are wonderful supporters of our creative pursuits, they encourage us to explore our feelings and process our thoughts. They ground and purify our nwyfre and they support us in cultivating inspiration. In offering support, honesty and understanding to the trees we are building a strong tree-centred therapeutic alliance that will lead us down a magical path of relational depth.
Yours in the heart of the woodlands.