Nature and Forest Therapy Guides

What some of our students
are saying

Some of the testimonials we received from our students

The experiences of our students during the training speak for themselves. Check out some of the testimonials that our forest therapy guide students shared with us.

"I experience nature in a totally different way. I also feel different and have a new perception when I am part of a group. I feel I matured so much throughout these learning experiences. I learned to listen, guide without pushing, help without directing, support but not solve for others, understand how resilient we all are, and trust myself, others in their own journey, and the Forest. Beautiful experience all around. Much gratitude"
—Emiliano, Chico Cohort   

"Big thanks to my trainers for the ongoing support and for modelling trust,openness, gentleness, love, patience, inclusivity and hospitality (and so muchmore)… This has been one of the best programs I've ever been on where I'vediscovered more about myself (my being) and deepened my connections with self,others, nature and other beings before my time…It has been a wonderful learningjourney of discovery and unfolding, as I begin to find and step into my placein nature, and to connect with a community of nature-lovers with big hearts forthe more-than-human-world. When I started the program, I thought I was going tolearn what the guide does (Doing), but what I really took away was learning howto be a guide (Being) in nature. There were many highlights from the program,but a key one was learning that I'm not alone, and that the Forest has my back.As a guide, the idea of trusting and partnering the Forest/Nature is veryliberating for me and allows me to be my authentic, playful self, and to be onewith the Forest/Nature. While the coursework/assignments feel a bit overwhelmingat times, they have helped me deepen my learning as a guide as well as todiscover and confront some of my learning edges."
—Gho Phek Suan, Gingko Cohort

"Since finding out that I was accepted into this program, I have found nothing but support and encouragement along the way. It's challenging in all the authentic and good ways challenge can present itself, and usually that means needing to grow and understand yourself as you take on new possibilities. This was a beautiful course, rife with meaning, and something that has changed me in both complex and subtle ways. Rediscovery of the lost parts of yourself isn't always electric and profound, it's sometimes quiet and soothing...a river you always knew you were made of and can just jump back in again."
Kate, ChicoCohort   

“Nature has always been incredibly important to me, I always knew how therapeutic spending time in nature could be but never had the framework or words to express what I felt. This training allowed me the space to find the words, framework and so much more. This training has fundamentally changed the way I see and experience nature, and consequently how I see myself and all beings. As a Child and Family therapist I believe growth can come in many forms. I have always wanted to incorporate nature into my clinical practice and treatment goals with my clients and never felt confident in how to do this. This training has given me the knowledge, tools and confidence to look outside the therapy room in nature, with nature to support my clients and greater community in ways I never could before." 
GabrielRischall from Hummingbird cohort  

"I was very tentative about joining a 6-month virtual course but I have to say the time we spent together as a cohort learning alongside our mentors was incredible. The time, effort, dedication,and careful shepherding by my mentors has allowed me to grow as a new guide and embrace the way of a guide as a lifelong journey."  
—Aaron,Forest Therapy Guide  

"My trainers could not have been more helpful.  During the unfolding of the course materialthey were supportive while allowing space to think for ourselves and wereskilled at consolidating the information. I did not feel unsupported or left unsure any any time, quite theopposite. And what a journey this has been! I am so grateful that I was somehowsteered in the direction of ANFT.  I amso grateful for my trainers and fellow trainees and the safe space created by them.  I loved the gentle unfolding of this course;how we seemed to learn everything at just the right time to learn it. I lovedthe complete acceptance of our trainers demonstrating as well as explaining theWay of the Guide. The impact on my life in particular was being shown a  practical path  that fitted with my belief system about theearth, while extending my knowledge and vision. ANFT has given me a directionto help our earth and its human and other-than-human beings."
—Claire Gingko Cohort

"The ANFT curriculum is very well thought out and comes from a strong lineage of wisdom. The online mode of training moves at a seamless pace and allows time to digest and integrate the material presented. The majority of the learning occurs outside, in the student's own watershed. While the practice incorporates the best aspects of Shinrin Yoku, it goes beyond it in a way that touches the human soul, and facilitates personal discovery and an authentic relationship with who we are as nature, which is so needed for the healing of our planet."

"As I've gone deeper into my experience of ForestTherapy, I noticed a healing taking place around belonging. Spending time inthe forest feels like coming home, and it has been opening up the awareness ofhow interconnected everything is. I feel a similar feeling of belonging andcoming home to myself. In my family I've carried this narrative of beingdifferent, not fully seen, and not supported in the ways that I needed. That narrativehad been projected into other areas of my life. But lately I’ve been noticing ashift taking place. I've been feeling a sense of belonging around work. I'vealso been feeling a sense of belonging around what I consider are my uniquetalents and gifts. Like I don't have to guard them, but instead they have aplace in this world."
—Patrick from Bluebells Cohort

"As I am regularly spending time in nature and connecting to the more than human world, more and more I feel like I am not in mere survival mode - which is a mode I feel like I have been in for a very long time. The more I am slowing down and deepening into this training, the more Ifeel like I am decrusting and reconnecting to aspects of myself I had neglected for a long time.  I feel more present in my body and connected to my feelings and that makes me feel more able to hold the container of this work with and for people."
—Jennifer Prince from Bluebells Cohort  

"This course met every one of my objectives. I was looking for a rigorous learning experience that would embody the Japanese practice of Shinrin-yoku (ForestBathing) that resonated with a western audience. I researched several programs and selected the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy (ANFT) and have not been disappointed.  The program’s motto of “The Forest is the Therapist and the Guide opens the Door” is emphasized throughout the program. We learned how to help our participants open themselves to the natural environment, whether it was a forest, desert, wet land, or city park.  We learned important information about the areas we would guide. We learned about what made a good trail, potential hazards, and how to deal with challenges. Our instructors were knowledgeable and guided us through a lot of material with a gentleness and kindness that totally amazed me.  I come from a technical background of Information Technology, Project Management, Process Engineering and Financial Planning; and the course allowed me to slowmy pace and change my way of thinking. If you are looking for a way to improve people’s relationship with themselves, others, and the more-than-human-world; I would recommend it."
—Grant Lucas, Hummingbird Cohort 2021

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Human communities, like forests, thrive on diversity.
The Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs is committed to creating and sustaining a welcoming, equitable, and inclusive environment for new guides, participants and contributors from all cultures and backgrounds. We strive to be a place of belonging for all people interested in cultivating healthy relationships within human communities and the natural world.

The Pathway to Training and Certification

Our Forest Therapy Guide Trainings are cohort-based and use many modalities of learning. They begin with a study program lasting six months, facilitated by our trainers, who are among the most experienced Forest Therapy Guides in the world, many having practiced and trained in forests in many countries. After this you will meet with trainers for a four day immersion to practice the skills you have learned and get feedback. Typically, you will be certified at the end of this immersion. Candidates who complete all steps of the training and certification process, and have demonstrated competency in all of the certification standards, will earn the status of Certified Forest Therapy Guide.

Beyond this, many participants report that this training profoundly affects many aspects of their lives. We don't make any promises of personal transformation; our aim is to train competent guides. But there is something about how the training experience deeply re-connects people to nature and themselves that can indeed be transformational. Many people experience forest therapy, including the training, as a kind of “spiritual experience that is not called a spiritual experience.” Perhaps you will also.

Note: Before you can be certified as a Forest Therapy Guide, you must possess a current Wilderness First Aid (WFA) or Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certificate. This is obtained from third-party organizations like NOLS. The class is typically a two-day event that and costs $175-300 USD; online versions of the class may be less expensive. Being able to respond to minor first-aid emergencies is a critically important skill for all Forest Therapy Guides.