Counselling or psychotherapy

My name is Lyndsey and I am currently a teacher. I am planning to retrain to be a counsellor/psychologist working with young people and vulnerable adults in the outdoors. I want to involve talking therapies, rock climbing, hiking, pet and equine therapy, wilderness, camping and outdoor cooking to support people with anxiety, trauma etc and special needs. I live in Devon and courses are limited. I am wondering if it best to qualify in psychotherapy or counselling? The BACP accredited psychotherapy training here involves Buddhist psychology which might not be practical enough for me. But the counselling training might not  lead to outdoor/adventure therapy in the same way. 
Many Thanks.

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  • Hello Lyndsey - your post is now several years old and I'm wondering how your journey went. I'm developing a therapeutic practice to take my leadership work deeper into nature. Would welcome any reflections.

    Very best for 2022!

  • Hi Lyndsey,

    Your future vision sounds very rich and exciting, but I would say it's definitely worth really taking your time on this journey - it's potentially for life. A good grounding in a thorough training is the first step - one that involves/requires you embarking on your own personal therapy. Without this your work will be very limited, and trainings that do not ask students to undergo therapy can lead those students into a lot of unconscious tangles. Although this may take you around 4 years, the right course (and that will be a matter of searching) will root you in a necessary balance of theory and experience, and from there you can grow and deepen. You can probably do ecopsychology courses while you're training, or aim to do something post-graduating. There are many courses out there, which is why it's important not to rush into anything, and to really consider your choices. It can be tempting to take what appear to be short cuts, but they never work - on any level! very best of luck with your transition,


  • Hiya Lyndsey

    Maybe go for an initial counselling or psychotherapy training you're drawn to once you've met the trainers and looked at the syllabus? In my experience that's as important as whether it's counselling or psychotherapy or whether it's accredited. I agree with Michael, the difference between the two are very grey! From what you're planning to do, it sounds like further group work training may be as important as counselling/psychotherapy training? Or maybe you've done that already.

    If you decide to do a certificate in counselling locally I'd recommend contacting Ken Rabone and looking at the First Certificate course at the Dartmoor Centre for Counselling and Psychotherapy in Newton Abbott: 

    There are then quite a few ecopsychology events on offer - many advertised here. My colleagues and I run a post-qualifying year called 'Wild Therapy', a residential training in nature-based and ecopsychology practice. The website's:

    Wishing you well in choosing your course(s)!

    Kamalamani, Bristol

  • Hi Lyndsey,

    The distinctions between counselling and psychotherapy can be very grey. Some would say that counselling is dealing with specific issues eg a particular client group within a limited session frame, say 6 session.  While psychotherapy is going deeper, is more open ended not so issue focussed and requires a deeper understanding of the therapeutic frame and theory. Having said all that this is still very grey as often counsellors work long term with clients and are working psychotherapeutically and vice versa.  I am not sure if BACP have a better definition so you might want to look on their website.

    On the Ecopsychology and Nature Based Practice side.

    See for info on training which could be what you are looking for either to complement or to deepen into for your practice.

    Best wishes

    Michael Connors

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