Association of Nature and Forest Therapy (ANFT)

Forest Therapy Guide Training

What Is a Certified Forest Therapy Guide?

Forest Therapy Guides lead calming, easy walks and offer sensory activities to engage participants along the way. These walks follow the ANFT Standard Sequence.

Forest Therapy walks aren’t the same as traditional hikes. Typically, these walks only last 2 to 3 hours and cover a distance of no more than a quarter mile. But even in that short distance, people often feel a deeper connection to nature than they ever have before. During these walks, people can have a variety of experiences, some of which may feel truly meaningful or even life-changing.

"The Forest is the Therapist, the Guide opens the Doors."

- Amos Clifford

What You Will Learn

Certification Pathway

STEP 1:
6-month remote training

Step 1

You will start with a 6-month remote training, covering the content on live calls with your trainers and fellow students. As part of this program you will also be spending a lot of time exploring this practice through nature connection activities outside. After completing this training you will receive a provisional certification as a Certified Forest Therapy Guide.

STEP 2:
4-day in-person immersion

Step 2

After completing at least module 4 and submitting the corresponding assignments, of the six-month remote Forest Therapy Guide Training you're eligible to apply to a 4-day in-person immersion. During this time you will have the opportunity to be guided on forest therapy walks by your trainers and to deepen into this practice. You have two years time to complete this step. To view the available immersions click here.

STEP 3:
Get your certification

Step 3

After completing the 6-month remote training and the 4-day in- person immersion, you will receive your permanent certification as an ANFT Certified Forest Therapy Guide and be part of the largest Forest Therapy Guide Community Worldwide. Click here to see the guide directory.

2024 Forest Therapy Guide Trainings

6-month remote training

The trainings listed below all cover the same content and follow the same curriculum. They have different names and different schedules to offer as many options as possible

IMPORTANT: Before you send out your application, please make sure that the schedule for the calls works for you and your time zone. Check the detailed Schedule for every cohort in the detailed description or Compare the different schedules here.

What you will get from your training

14 modules, over 120 lessons

Over 14 live calls with your trainers and cohort

Small group discussion calls with trainers

Downloadable manual

30+ short videos, recorded by different trainers

40+ assignments/ self exploration activities

20+ nature connection activities

Access to research papers and studies

Fun Facts and Reflections

Remote Forest Therapy walks guided by trainers

Guide your own walks and debrief them

Access to the largest forest therapy guide's community worldwide

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.

We Train Forest Therapy Guides

Forest Therapy is a practice that emphasizes the therapeutic benefits of spending time in nature. During a guided forest therapy walk, trained guides facilitate an immersive experience in nature, allowing participants to connect with their surroundings and them selves through their senses. The aim is to slow down and become aware of the present moment, creating a deeper connection with the natural environment.

We train guides, not therapists. The role of the guide is not to act as a therapist, but rather to facilitate an environment that allows the forest to be the therapist. Guides are trained to provide “invitations” that encourage participants to engage with the natural environment in a mindful and sensory way. By doing so, participants can unlock the healing potential of the forest, with the guide serving as a facilitator of the process.

In Forest Therapy, the emphasis is placed on the sensory experience of the forest rather than intellectual understanding. Forest Therapy Guides do not aim to impart the factual expertise of naturalist knowledge, but rather prioritize nurturing curiosity and asking good questions. Unlike other approaches to nature education, Forest Therapy Guides focus on developing a deep connection with the forest through attention to the senses, rather than imparting traditional knowledge.
Forest Therapy guides who have acquired basic proficiency in the practice can integrate Forest Therapy techniques in their own field. This integration can lead to excellent results in fields such as psychotherapy, professional life coaching, expressive arts, mindfulness meditation, PTSD recovery, and more. Guides are encouraged to bring their creativity and experience to create new or modified invitations for Forest Therapy and share them with other guides on a private online group maintained by the Association.

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.

"I feel so prepared."

“I completed the training in June and recently started taking my clients on nature therapy walks. The feedback has been fantastic! What struck me was how well the training prepared me. I felt I had a plenty of tools and that I could adapt the therapy to any client. I know how to choose a location, talk about the process with clients, and deal with surprises. I feel so prepared. As a psychologist I find nature therapy an invaluable way to assist clients in accessing something healing that can't be accessed through talk therapy. Thank you!”
Christa Smith
Psy.D., Licensed Clinical Psychologist
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