What: A 3-hour self-care program utilizing nature-informed therapy tools, mindfulness, group connection & reflection, and movement.
When: April 30th 10:00-1:00pm
Where: Baltimore County, MD
Who: Mental Health Practitioners
Why: To slow down + take time to show up for yourself.
As Therapists, we expend a lot of energy. We handle our own lives, and our own shit (because God knows we all have it!) and show up for clients day in and day out. With the shifts that accompanied COVID, many of us switched to telehealth. We have been going through a pandemic, political uprising, massive social and political shifts all the while supporting our clients struggling in some of the same ways we are.
We are spending more time on screens. Research has shown that meeting people on a screen expends even more energy then meeting with people in person. The lack of eye contact, technological challenges that often arise, hyper-energy focus, and blue screen exposure all impact our energy levels and therefore our well-being.
I see many therapists who put their own self-care on the back burner and who just can't do that any more.
Being in Nature, using mindfulness and movement, and connecting deeply with other people are all ways we come home to ourselves, reset our nervous systems, give our brains the true rest and replenishment that they need. I've seen that to be true for myself and my kids, as nature has become an integral part of our lives especially during the pandemic. It has inspired me to get trained as a Nature Informed Therapist, and create this program just for mental health practitioners as I talk to more and more who are experiencing compassion fatigue and burn out.
I hope you'll join me as we create a space to share, use mindfulness to ground into ourselves and the natural world, learn some new tools and perhaps revisit some already known, revisit our purpose and intentions, and get to know each other a bit!
My intention is that you leave feeling nourished, with a renewed energy and resilience to take on the rest of your life and be a powerful presence for your clients and any other important people in your life!
The Nature Reset program will be held Saturday, April 30th 10:00-1:00pm at a location in Baltimore County, MD.
You can register at the link here, after which you will receive a confirmation email with informed consent to sign electronically and further details as the date gets closer.
By taking some time to prioritize your self, you are better able to show up for your clients & your families. Everyone is better for it! Looking forward to connecting with you! - Nathalie
What to Expect:
An approximate schedule of activities (open to change and flex depending on intuition and group vibes:
Opening circle - grounding meditation, check-in, tuning into our surroundings + info about the benefits of Nature on mental health (given to us by Nature-informed Therapist Kate Gerwin).
An integrative values exercise - reminding us of our priorities and how we're living up to what we believe in - using nature and body-based practice
Hike - with talking
Pause - sensory meditation
Introduction to Awe walk and the benefits of experiencing Awe
Silent journaling, hike, and sitting meditation
Closing circle - time for processing, reflection & a closing grounding meditation
Of course you can read all about me on my website, but I thought I'd make it easy for you and add a bit about myself right here!
I'm Nathalie, the founder of Upward Spiral Wellness. I have been a therapist for 7 years, in private practice for 3 with a Master's degree from the Pastoral Counseling program at Loyola University (when it still existed!). I'm also certified as a Holistic Health Coach, Yoga Teacher, and Stepfamily Coach. I'm in training to be certified as a Nature-Informed Therapist. I'm a self-proclaimed personal growth junkie! I've been studying and practicing meditation and mindfulness for years most seriously of the Vipassana tradition as taught by S.N.Goenka.
My private practice has taken me all over the map - from Holistic Health Coaching walk-and-talk sessions, to Mindset Coaching for a female entrepreneur business program, to creating a telesummit for Step-moms to feel more empowered and resilient in the blended family life, and now having a major focus on supporting therapist to be more empowered both professionaly and personally. As you can probably tell from my experience, I tend to have a coach-y style, can be compassionately direct although I still use psycho-dynamic theories and IFS concepts frequently. I LOVE bringing people together to build community where people feel truly seen and heard and held. I have done it in various ways in my personal life and am now extending that passion and strength into my professional life. Covid took me from seeing 25-30/week, mostly through insurance as I worked to pay back credit card debt, to letting go of my paneling, charging private pay and shifting to 10-15 clients a week, with a newfound passion for the importance of self-care and prioritizing our well-being.I should add that in addition to the emotional load of the clients I see, I also have an 11 year old step-son, a 7 year old birth son, a 2 year old birth daughter, and a 13 year old pug mix in addition to my wonderful but also human partner of 9 years.
In my experience as a therapist besides private practice, I've worked in clinics in West Baltimore, in-home settings all over the county, and city schools. The therapy profession is a special profession, and has been particularly challenging during the time of Covid. Now more than ever it's time for us to practice what we preach, and prioritize our own well-being in as equal a measure or maybe even more so than our clients.
My own personal beliefs are that mental health therapy is part of the revolution that won't be televised, as we work to uncover trauma and emotional programming that comes as much from our parents as from the culture at large. Getting back in touch with nature, our own as well as the earth, is what will help us be more conscientious, kind, people who do good for other people and the planet.
Mindfulness, Nature, Connection
Let's start with Mindfulness:
I know that most likely you are well-versed in the benefits of mindfulness. I personally learned and teach mindfulness techniques in the tradition of Vipassana meditation, as taught by a man from India named S.N. Goenka. I use the practice and the concepts in everyday life and it has been tremendous in supporting me to recover from a binge eating disorder, deal with stress, have more power in the ways I handle myself as a business owner, set boundaries, and honor and take care of myself in so many ways. (I wonder how many of you feel the same.)
As I'm sure you know, our minds can be like ping pong balls taking us down all kinds of paths that aren't necessarily that helpful for us or our health and well-being! Whew it is a constant practice and muscle to develop and grow our ability to choose where our minds take us instead of the other way around! I'm looking forward to bringing my experience and tools, and incorporating the earth as a grounding mechanism into the 2-hour Nature Reset program I'm hosting in just a week and a half!
Then there's Nature: We all have roots in nature-based living. Your ancestors and mine, as well, lived in nature-based societies. Recent science has shown us the power of mindfulness, its effects on the brain and mental health and well-being, and now also the impact of being in nature and exposing our senses to natural sights and sounds.
There's even a name for the restful benefits being in nature provides us - a term called "soft fascination". A wonderful article titled, "How soft fascination restores the tired brain" talks about the benefits (find the article here), and here is an excerpt for you:
"Distractions, multitasking behaviors, loud noises, bustling urban environments, poor sleep, and many other features of modern life seem to promote attention fatigue. On the other hand, certain activities seem to reinvigorate the brain in ways that support directed attention and self-regulation processes. And one of the most studied and effective of these — as you’ve probably heard — is spending time in nature.
“Getting out in nature seems to relax the brain’s frontal lobes and relieve this attention fatigue,” says Phil Stieg, MD, PhD, chairman of neurological surgery and neurosurgeon-in-chief at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center."
And of course, Connection: Many therapists feel isolated in their work. Although we are constantly with people, many of us do not make time and space for ourselves. But the thing is, we have feelings too! We need to be heard, seen, and validated. A lot of "normal people" don't understand a therapists experience. What a weird profession, after all! Finding out the deepest most secret places in other peoples lives, knowing everything from their daily habits to their relationship to their mom, to the things that secretly drive them crazy.
My intention is that you get some space to be seen and heard. There is so much power in allowing ourselves to connect with others with similar life experiences. I think this alone will leave you feeling replenished and energized.
The Nature Reset program for therapists is a way for you to disconnect to the relentless onslaught of stimulation of everyday life as well as a break from putting out energy to others. This of course makes you a great therapist, and it is so so important to find ways to re-energize yourself so that you don't end up depleted!