Using Nature to Create Safety for Medical Trauma Integration

Updated: Mar 8

Chapter 7 in our book Nature-based Play & Expressive Therapies is authored by Lisa Dion, LPC, RPT-S and Rose LaPiere, LPC, RPT-S, ACS and it's called Using Nature to Create Safety for Medical Trauma Integration. Creating experiences for emotional and relational safety is a central and essential part of trauma integration. When a child does not have a felt sense of safety, it is much harder approaching the uncomfortable thoughts, feelings and body sensations that are held inside. Nature has an amazing ability to create safety for trauma integration as it can be both an external regulator for a child’s activated nervous system, as well as a way for a child to safely access the stored trauma in the body. Because medical trauma is a topic not often addressed in the literature, this chapter contributes several case examples of clinical interventions involving nature as related to medical trauma challenges. The use of nature huts, the child’s symbolic play in nature, use of nature photographs, and nature-journaling are all ways to help children and their families become regulated as they process the traumatic medical experiences is explored. In each example, nature is shown to be an integral part of the treatment process for deep integration and healing.

Lisa Dion says, "Nature has always been such an integral part of my own healing journey and trauma integration and has often been one of my greatest external regulators. In fact, it was in and through nature that I really learned as a child what it meant to attune to myself and the world around me."

Lisa, LPC, RPT-S is is an international teacher, creator of Synergetic Play Therapy, founder and President of the Synergetic Play Therapy Institute, and host of the Lessons from the Playroom podcast. She is the author of Aggression in Play Therapy: A Neurobiological Approach for Integrating Intensity and is the 2015 recipient of the APT Professional Education and Training Award of Excellence. Learn more about Lisa's work RIGHT HERE.

Rose LaPiere reflected on why this chapter feels so important and said, "Our chapter brings to light the importance of understanding medical trauma and how nature can facilitate co-regulation to help children heal."

Rose LaPiere, LPC, RPT-S, ACS is a family therapist, writer, presenter, and EMDR consultant. She has been working with children adults and provides consultation through the lens of attachment, mindfulness, therapeutic powers of play, interpersonal neurobiology and family system theory. Rose has a passion for integrating natu

re and sand tray into her therapy practice. She is currently serving on the board of the World Association of Sand Therapy Professionals and is and one of the editor’s and author’s of the book Nature-Based Play and Expressive Therapies: Interventions working with children, teens and families. Learn more about Rose's work RIGHT HERE.

You can order your own copy of our book Nature-based Play & Expressive Therapies and download your accompanying handouts RIGHT HERE.

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