WHO WE ARE?
✿ The EFTI trainers have a total of 50 years combined clinical experience working in the areas of mental health, physical health and social wellbeing. They have worked in health promotion, disease prevention, treatment and rehabilitation and have worked across various settings in communities, clinics and hospitals. All trainers have ten years + experience of nature connection work and international training. They are experts in the field.
✿ We have established four localised organisations operating within our individual countries to develop and promote Forest Bathing/Therapy training programmes in Europe:
All four operate under the umbrella organisation EFTI. It is with deep gratitude to the forests and the natural world as well as to all those who have gone before us, our friends, trainers and collaborating Forest Therapy Guides all over the world, that we now share our work and vision with you.
✿ EFTI have identified a growing need to offer a variety of high quality Forest Bathing/Therapy services in Europe; to develop Forest Bathing/Therapy with the awareness of different cultural contexts and to offer local support.
✿ EFTI trainers have also presented their own research and practice at the following international conferences: Institute of Public Health (Ireland); Nature Connections Conference (UK); International Conference on Landscape and Human Health (Austria); International Forest Therapy Days (Finland), Camp Conference - Nordic Outdoor Therapy (Norway); and Forest Europe Conference (Slovakia).
✿ Specific nature based programmes designed by the trainers include KIDS and Forests, Clinical Forest Therapy for Mental Health Populations and Forest Therapy for Occupational Stress.
✿ Our trainings are currently delivered in English, Spanish, Swedish and Portuguese
Petra Ellora Cau
Petra Ellora Cau works in Stockholm, Sweden as a Licenced Clinical Psychologist, a Certified Nature and Forest Therapy Guide and as a Mindfulness Facilitator. As the founder and director of Shinrin-Yoku Sweden, Petra offers Forest Bathing as public and private events, as well as lectures and workshops around Sweden and abroad.
Petra has specialized in the fields of neuropsychiatric and neurodevelopmental disability, in clinical mindfulness based interventions such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and in method and program development.
She is a strong advocate for methodological development of Forest Therapy and integrating Nature Supported Treatments into the Public Health Care System. As such she is presently pioneering in Sweden by implementing and assessing Forest Therapy in Primary Mental Health Care, a programme adapted to the needs of adults diagnosed with exhaustion Disorder, anxiety and depression including associated Stress Related health challenges.
What has influenced her work the most besides her work as a Clinical Psychologist, is her lifelong Nature Connection, her background in the Performing and Visual Arts as well as the many years spent in retreat and living at a Zen Buddhist Temple.
She was the first Nordic/Scandinavian resident to receive her certification as a Forest Therapy Guide in 2016, by the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs.
Since 2007, she is a trained facilitator of MBCT (Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy), by Prof. Mark Williams, Oxford, England, and MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction), created by Dr. Jon Kabat Zinn at the Center for Mindfulness, Massachusetts, USA.
She has been invited to present her pioneering work with Forest Therapy in Mental health Care at several conferences and gatherings such as the Camp Conference for Outdoor Therapy in Norway and the International Forest Therapy Days in Finland. Since 2016 she has appeared in daily newspapers like Dagens Nyheter, Svenska Dagbladet, Göteborgsposten and monthly magazines such as Vi, Modern Psykologi, Må Bra, Amelia, Yoga för dig and in Tv-shows at TV 4 Nyhetsmorgon.
Shirley Gleeson is a Nature and Wellbeing Consultant and the founder of EcoWellness Consulting Limited, formerly known as Nature, Health & Wellbeing Ireland. She lives in Dublin. Shirley holds master’s degrees in both health promotion and social work and has over twenty years experience working in the areas of health and social care in the public and private sector. She designs nature based interventions to improve and enhance people's health and wellbeing and facilitates nature-based training for mental health professionals.
She was the first Certified Forest Therapy Guide in Europe, after completing her training in the U.S with the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs (ANFT) in 2014. She was a mentor and trainer with the ANFT and has mentored guides from all over the world.
Shirley has extensive postgraduate training in ecotherapy, expressive arts therapy, counselling, stress management, dialectical behavioural therapy skills, behavioural family therapy and therapeutic use of mindfulness.
She has presented her forest therapy research and practice at international conferences in Ireland, the UK and Austria and recently addressed the United Nations in Geneva on the topic of forests and human health. Shirley trained as a nature guide with Eco Training in South Africa and has completed an internship with the South African National Parks. She has a deep love and respect for nature, especially trees.
Shirley’s work has featured in the Sunday Business Post and Irish Times as well as numerous national magazines and radio
Alex is the founder of the Instituto de Baños de Bosque and the Instituto de Banhos de Floresta de Portugal and collaborated as a consultant specialist in the expert group on Human Health and Well-being to the Forest Europe, Ministerial Conference on the Protection of forests in Europe.
Alex is the author of “Sentir el bosque: La experiencia del Shinrin-Yoku (baño de bosque)”, Grijalbo, edited by Penguin Random House Editorial Group.
As opposed to the daily stress of urban life, he facilitates and develops nature connection techniques so that all people can experience the health benefits of natural environments.
He develops programs for companies and organizations in the continuous practice of supporting companies to reduce stress, to prevent Burnout syndrome, to improve the well-being of its collaborators and to stimulate creativity and teamwork. Alex is committed to promoting this practice to support everyone to surpass their established limits and improve their well-being.
Alex developed the KIDS&Forest Program for adolescents at risk of social exclusion, where he worked with different institutions for the young people engagement.
Based between Barcelona and Lisbon, he has participated in events and trainings in Spain, Portugal, Ireland, France, United Kingdom, Slovenia, Croatia, Slovakia, Costa Rica, USA and Australia, among other locations.
He is trained in business management, sociology, non-verbal communication and leadership. He holds an E-MBA by EAE Business School of Barcelona. Also, he attend a Forest Therapy Guide training with the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs (ANFT). He was the first ANFT European Trainer, training and mentoring guides from all over the world.
He has been featured and/or interviewed in different countries by: TVE 1, RNE, TV 5, Antena 3, Condé Nast Traveler, Euronews, El Periodico, LaVanguardia, Huffpost, On Barcelona, Betevé, Diari Ara, El Mundo, El Diario Vasco, Burgos Conecta, Revista Cuerpo y Mente, TimeOut, Lecturas, RTP, SIC Mulher, TVI, Publico, Visão, Pais, Sábado, A nossa Prima, Revista Calm, Revista Saber Viver y Revista Q, Diario de Burgos, Norwegian Airlines Magazine among other media.