Nature Play Therapy as a Healing Way for Children, Teens and Families: Incorporating Nature

Updated: Mar 7

The 13th chapter in Nature-based Play & Expressive Therapies is authored by one of our editors Jamie Lynn Langley, LCSW, RPT-S and is titled Nature Play Therapy as a Healing Way for Children, Teens and Families: Incorporating Nature with Play and Expressive Therapies. Families are often so busy that the simple yet wondrous aspects of playing outdoors are too often neglected. As mental health issues for children and adolescents are on the rise, the ever-growing research supports the important benefits of spending time in nature. This chapter explores nature play therapy as a way to provide both structured and unstructured nature-play experiences for children and teens, as well as their families to facilitate connection, thriving, and healing. The therapeutic activities offered in this chapter can be utilized in various ways both indoors, outdoors and even over tele-health. Some of the activities are game-play oriented and others incorporate a variety of creative and expressive arts. All are grounded in the therapeutic powers of play. The author provides a NaturePlay Kit to explore and incorporate nature. Practitioners are also encouraged to prescribe nature-play activities for children, teens, and their families outside of sessions to further their time in nature for more healing and fun together.

When asked about the meaning of this chapter for her, Jamie said, “In the realm of Nature Play Therapy, being a ‘wild child’ is not only a good thing- it’s needed! Children are meant to run, jump, and play outside in rough and tumble ways. They need to shout loudly, take risks, make messes, find hiding places and embark on creative explorations. The beauty is that there is a duality in nature, in that they can also be a 'mild child' in that children and teens can better attune, investigate, focus, find clarity and even rest when outdoors."

Jamie Lynn Langley, LCSW, RPT-S has been in practice for over 30 years in community mental health and in private practice. She integrates nature-based interventions and creativity in play therapy, supervision, and training provided and has authored several articles and chapters on these considerations. She is co-founder and president of the Tennessee Association for Play Therapy and on faculty at Middle Tennessee State University. Learn more about her her work RIGHT HERE.

You can purchase a copy of Nature-based Play & Expressive Therapies and download your handouts that accompany the book over on our HOME PAGE.

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