Nature Based Interventions for Anxiety and Anxiety Disorders – Developing a Program that has Impact.

Dr Katie Carter1
1Curtin University, School of OT, Soc Work & Speech Pathology, Curtin University, Australia


Anxiety and anxiety disorders are some of the most common mental health conditions within our community. Providing supportive and individualised approaches to working with people experiencing episodes of anxiety has become increasingly important for schools, community organisations, support workers and other mental health professionals.
The effect of nature based programs and services has begun to be well documented and understood with specific mental health benefits. However not all programs and services are going to achieve the same results. Generic wellbeing programming does not necesarily work to ameliorate anxiety related challenges. To be able to address this common child, adolescent and adult experience, specific approaches are required. This may mean partnering with a mental health based organisation to increase the parameters of regular programming or it could mean ensuring that participants have adequate mental health support outside of this program.

This presentation will provide a background of what the current research identifies as best emerging practices in developing nature based approaches for anxiety related challenges. There will also be an opportunity for case studies from around the world to be identified and their specific parameters understood. Finally participants will be given an opportunity to work in a small group to begin developing an anxiety related program or to adapt an existing program to support people experiencing anxiety.

Dr Katie Carter has a 20 year background in community mental health and trauma program and practice oversight with Australia and in other international settings. This has ranged from inner city to remote locations and most often intersecting with the areas of violence, abuse and trauma integration.

She has worked in private practice, specifically with women who are recovering from complex trauma and has researched and developed approaches including trauma informed yoga to support recovery and integration work.

She has spent many years working with support and community workers to increase their confidence and understanding of mental health related issues, so that they may share relational and holistic support services to work in conjunction with more medicalised or main stream approaches.

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