Working in the Field: An Introduction to Eco-TA

This programme is the first of its kind – an introductory experience into ecotherapy and holistic education practice and theory.  Hosted by the Berne Institute and delivered by Hayley Marshall, PTSTA (P) and Giles Barrow TSTA (E), participants will be given opportunities to explore how nature, landscape and environment can provide powerful agency into clinical and educational practices.

Whilst ecotherapy and holistic education have been around for some years, they have, so far, remained outside of mainstream TA theory and practice.  We see this programme being at the growing edge in terms of integrating these timely, earth-spirit based themes into the work of the TA practitioner. Whether it’s with a view to healing trauma with clients, building connection to natural agency, or promoting holistic development through learning, this programme will engage the practitioner with the outdoors, as classroom or therapy space, or perhaps something quite new entirely.

The workshops will each involve extended periods working outside in the local landscapes and engage participants beyond the familiar theoretical and applied territories, into the somatic and embodied regions of what it is to be a therapist and educator.  Topics will include working therapeutically with protocol, symbolic movement and experience, script, liminality, cycles of development, story and myth, clarifying vocational purpose and eldership.  Practical aspects of working outdoors with clients will also be covered, and it is intended that participants try out ideas in between workshops, feeding back and having supervision incorporated into the process.

In terms of working together across the fields, as trainers we think it would be good to combine our styles around the exploration of the impact of nature and the landscape on the group process amongst other things. Some ideas we’re having include something facilitating an exploration of new personal and professional ‘forms of knowing’.

We want to do this through incorporating the natural world in a blend of therapeutic and educational processes; we view the natural world as a meeting place for all sorts of disciplines.

The workshops form a programme of study and experience and it is expected that participants attend all three sessions. The programme spans a seasonal shift and this will involve being outside so suitable outdoor wear is essential. The first and second workshops will be based from the Berne Institute, Kegworth and will involve field visit to the Derbyshire countryside. The second workshop will take place at Mill House, Earl Soham, Suffolk a smallholding, and will involve fieldwork in nearby woodland and coastline.


Workshop 1: Evening Wednesday 29th January – Friday 31st January 2020
Venue:                       Berne institute, Kegworth, Derby, UK

Workshop 2: Evening Weds 18th March – Friday 20th March 2020
Venue:                       Mill House, Earl Soham, Suffolk IP13 7RP

Workshop 3: Evening Weds 22nd April – Fri 24th April 2020


Wednesday  6pm – 9pm
Thursday                  9:30am – 5:30pm
Friday                         9:30am – 4:00pm

Refreshments will be available throughout the two days. Lunches are not provided; please bring your own and expect that these may take place outdoors.

We anticipate high interest in this programme so early booking is advised.  Further details about course content, recommended reading and practical arrangements will be provided to confirmed participants.

Cost: £895 Members of The Berne Institute / £995 non-Berne Institute Members

Hayley Marshall is a UK based TA psychotherapist supervisor and trainer with 24 years’ experience. She trains and supervises outdoor psychotherapists, and facilitates an ongoing advanced outdoor practitioner group in the Peak District. She co-authored a ground breaking article on the outdoor therapeutic frame in the European Journal of Psychotherapy in 2010, and has written a chapter on clinical outdoor practice in Ecotherapy: Theory Research and Practice published by Macmillan in 2016. She has also written a column on TA outdoor therapy – The View from Here – for The Transactional Analyst, and is currently writing a book chapter on working with trauma outdoors.

Giles Barrow is a teacher by profession and experienced TA trainer and supervisor.  Based on a smallholding in east Suffolk, he is often working with individuals and groups out on the farm, along the coast and in ancient woodland. He has written widely on educational TA, co-editing the International Guide to Theory & Practice with Trudi Newton, published in 2015. Giles is also the lead tutor at the Berne on the EdTA MSc/CTA programme.