google-site-verification: google6110f9a75ac52450.html
top of page

Transformative Healing in Nature's Embrace

Embark on an Immersive Therapeutic Adventure where Nature’s Wisdom Guides the Journey from
Grief to Gratitude

About the Training

Unlock the profound connection between healing and the natural world in this intensive backpacking journey tailored for therapists.

The Challenge of Grief and Bereavement

In the quiet spaces left behind by loss, therapists encounter the profound challenge of grief and bereavement. It is here, in the depths of sorrow and yearning, that we are called to guide those who grieve towards a path of healing and acceptance. Grief, with its complex tapestry of emotions, defies a one-size-fits-all approach. Every individual’s journey through loss is as unique as the relationship they mourn. Bereavement ushers in a vulnerability that can disrupt the very foundation of one’s being, challenging one's identity, sense of security, and place in the world. For therapists, navigating these tender landscapes requires not only a deep well of empathy and understanding but also a robust framework of techniques and interventions that honor the individuality of the grieving process. The delicate task of supporting clients through mourning to find meaning after a loss demands expertise, patience, and an attuned presence. Our training faces these challenges head-on, offering a space where professionals can refine their skills and enrich their therapeutic repertoire. Through an experiential approach that harmonizes with the rhythms of nature, therapists can foster resilience, growth, and transformation in those they serve. Join us to explore the intricacies of grief and bereavement, to expand your capacity to support, and to discover the profound healing that nature can facilitate in the wake of loss.

A Journey from Mourning to Meaning

In the heart of nature’s grandeur, our intensive backpacking training provides a transformative path from the depths of grief to the discovery of new significance. Participants are guided through the complex emotional landscapes of mourning, employing nature-informed therapy to foster a profound connection with the healing rhythms of the wild. We recognize that grief, though universal, is uniquely experienced by each individual. Our training merges theoretical understanding with the practical applications of bereavement work, empowering therapists to craft personalized interventions that resonate with the soul-stirring elements of nature. Amidst the whispers of the forest and the steadiness of the mountains, we'll explore the vital intersection of loss and growth, helping clients find solace and strength in the embrace of the natural world. This is more than a course—it's an odyssey that redefines the bereavement journey, turning sorrow into a profound opportunity for personal and professional growth. Join us as we embark on a quest not just to navigate grief, but to redefine it, offering a beacon of hope to those who have lost their way.

Your Path to Professional Competence

Embrace a journey of professional development with our 5-day advanced intensive backpacking Nature Informed Therapy Training specifically crafted for grief and bereavement counseling. As the winding trails deepen your connection with nature, so will your understanding and proficiency in supporting those grappling with loss.

In this immersive educational environment, you will:


  • Gain Insight into Grief: Acquire a comprehensive understanding of the human grief response, shaped by the wisdom of both contemporary research and timeless natural processes.

  • Develop Expertise: Learn to apply Attachment Theory, the stages of loss, and the tasks of mourning to create nuanced, empathetic responses to the varied experiences of those you counsel.

  • Master Intervention Techniques: Equip yourself with an arsenal of nature-informed tools and interventions designed for immediate and impactful application in your practice.

  • Enhance Personal Awareness: Recognize and reflect upon your own experiences with loss to enrich your empathy and effectiveness as a bereavement counselor.

  • Engage with Innovative Theories: Dive into the principles of nature-informed therapy and their seamless integration into grief counseling, forging a new path in therapeutic practice.


This course is more than an accumulation of hours towards your professional development; it's an affirmation of your commitment to excellence and a step towards mastery in your role as a compassionate, skilled guide through the terrain of human grief.

Upcoming Trip

Course Start Date
Course End Date
6 Days
Allegheny Mountains, WV

Program Overview

Empower your therapeutic practice with the transformative power of nature-informed grief counseling. Our hands-on approach will equip you with the tools to address loss on a profound, elemental level."

  • Core Principles of Nature Informed Therapy

  • Understanding the Human Grief Response

  • Intersection of Grief Counseling and Nature Therapy

  • Practical Tools and Interventions for Immediate Use


Learning Objectives

  • Familiarization with death, dying and the consequent grieving process

  • Become familiar with the basic concepts of Attachment Theory (Bowlby)

  • Human Grief Response including complicated grief

  • Five Stages of Loss (Kuebler-Ross)

  • Four Tasks of Mourning (Worden)

  • Become familiar with the general guidelines for counseling grieving people

  • Increase skill in counseling special populations, particularly children and adolescents

  • Increase awareness of personal loss material and its consequent effect on counseling bereaved clients

Backpacking Component

Our distinctive backpacking component is the core of the transformative experience in our Nature Informed Therapy Training. Delve into the wilderness and discover not just the landscapes around you, but the inner terrain of grief and healing.

Integrative Learning Experience:

  • Trail-Based Education: Each day begins with a 5-7 mile trek, stimulating both body and mind, preparing you for an afternoon of in-depth learning.

  • Nature as Co-Therapist: The natural world becomes a partner in the therapeutic process, offering a profound context for understanding and healing.

Skill Enhancement:

  • Backcountry Proficiency: Whether you're new or seasoned, elevate your backpacking skills with hands-on experience and expert guidance.

  • Seminars for Success: Optional seminars on lightweight gear, food planning, and navigation ensure you are well-prepared for any backcountry endeavor.

Logistical Ease:

  • Small Group Focus: Limited to 8 participants, ensuring a personalized and intimate learning atmosphere.

  • Inclusive Arrangements: Gear rental options and provisioned meals for convenience and ease.

Program Details:

  • Duration and Timing: A 6-day, 5-night journey from Wednesday to Sunday, designed for optimal learning and experience.

  • Sustenance on the Trail: Nutritious meals are provided, with vegetarian options available, allowing you to focus on the immersive experience without the worry of food preparation.

By integrating backpacking into our curriculum, we offer a unique synthesis of adventure and education, creating an unparalleled platform for personal and professional growth in the field of grief and bereavement therapy.


About the Trainers

Heidi Schreiber-Pan


Dr. Heidi Schreiber-Pan is a distinguished mental health clinician and the innovative founder of the Center for Nature Informed Therapy. With a doctorate in Counseling Supervision and a licensed clinical professional counselor, she specializes in the treatment of anxiety and grief. As a celebrated public speaker and the author of "Taming the Anxious Mind: A Guidebook to Relieve Anxiety and Stress" as well as "The Outside Within: Stories of Nature's Role in Psychological Well-being," Dr. Schreiber-Pan's expertise is widely acknowledged. ​ Her approach is rooted in the belief that the natural world plays a crucial role in psychological health and well-being. Dr. Schreiber-Pan's transformative programs blend outdoor adventure with therapeutic insights, empowering individuals to conquer their anxiety and find peace in the wilderness. ​ Join us for an inspiring journey with Dr. Schreiber-Pan, where the calming power of nature and expert guidance combine to offer not just a backpacking experience, but a pathway to inner serenity.

Wilderness First Aid Certified
Heidi 2.jpg

Phillip McKnight


Meet Phillip McKnight, a seasoned mindfulness instructor and avid adventurer whose passion for inner exploration matches his love for traversing expansive trails. As a thru-hiker of the Appalachian Trail, Phillip has not only charted the path less traveled but also immersed himself in the profound tranquility of the great outdoors. With a Master's in Instructional Systems Design and certification from the International Mindfulness Teachers Association, Phillip has honed his ability to craft transformative mindfulness experiences. His commitment to this practice was further enriched by his time as a Fulbright Scholar in Laos, where he embraced the intricacies of cross-cultural connections and their impact on mental well-being. Phillip's approach is both heart-centered and strategic, focusing on fostering understanding and resilience across diverse communities. Whether guiding hikers along the AT or leading mindfulness sessions, Phillip empowers individuals to cultivate awareness, compassion, and a deepened relationship with the natural world. Join him for a journey that transcends boundaries and elevates the spirit, as he co-leads the Nature Informed Therapy Training with his unique blend of expertise and empathetic teaching.

Wilderness First Aid Certified

Logistics & Registration

Prepare to engage with nature and deepen your therapeutic skills on this enriching 5-day journey. Here's what participants need to know:

Investment in Growth:

  • Training Cost: The fee for this comprehensive program is $1,100 per person, covering all aspects of the training, materials, accommodation, and provided meals.

  • Scholarship Available: Limited need-based scholarship available.  Apply here.


Trek and Learn:

  • Daily Itinerary: Mornings will be dedicated to hiking 5-7 miles, immersing participants in the healing power of nature. Afternoons are reserved for learning and practicing experiential grief counseling techniques.

Exclusive Group Experience:

  • Intimate Setting: To ensure a personalized and focused experience, we are limiting the group to just 8 participants. This small group setting fosters deeper connection and individual attention.

Equipment Support:

  • Gear Rental: For those in need of equipment, we offer gear rental options to ensure you have everything necessary for a safe and comfortable experience.

Duration and Timing:

  • Program Length: This intensive training spans 5 days and 4 overnights, beginning on Thursday and concluding on Monday, designed to fit into a workweek schedule.

Culinary Details:

  • Meals Provided: Nutritious meals will be supplied throughout the trip. We will cater to vegetarian dietary preferences; however, we may not be able to accommodate other specific food preferences due to the nature of the adventure.

Packing for Your Adventure

  • What to pack: For a detailed rundown on what to pack for your backpacking journey, ensuring you're well-equipped for whatever the wilderness throws your way, be sure to visit our comprehensive packing guide. With our expert advice, you'll be ready to hit the trail with confidence.

Participants are encouraged to bring their curiosity, openness, and readiness to explore both the wilderness outside and the emotional landscapes within. Join us on this unique expedition where professional development meets the profound serenity of the natural world.

CE Details

Center for Nature Informed Therapy has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 7473. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. Center for Nature Informed Therapy is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs. Nature Informed Attachment & Trauma Therapy Training course will receive 12 NBCC credit hours. 

Please note that CE credit approval from the ASWB for Social Workers is pending at this time. 

This program consists of 12 NBCC clock hours of continuing education instruction. Credit requirements and approvals vary per state board regulations. Please save the course outline, the certificate of completion you receive from the activity and contact your state board or organization to determine specific filing requirements 



Q: Do I need prior backpacking experience?

A: While having prior backpacking experience is recommended, it is not mandatory. For those new to backpacking, we offer a comprehensive how-to session with Payton Schreiber-Pan, our wilderness skills expert. This personalized training is available at a rate of $30/hr to ensure you are well-prepared for the journey.

Q: Can I rent gear for the trip?

A: Absolutely! We provide rental options for essential gear, including backpacks, tents, sleeping bags, compression sacks, and sleeping bag liners. All gear is high-quality and will be prepared for you upon arrival, ensuring a hassle-free experience.

Q: Is there a shuttle service available?

A: Yes, for your convenience, we offer a shuttle service from BWI airport directly to the trailhead in West Virginia. This allows for a seamless transition from travel to the tranquility of nature.

Q: What is the food situation during the training?

A: All food for the duration of the trip is provided by us. We take pride in offering wholesome, nourishing meals to keep you energized throughout the training. While we are unable to cater to specific food preferences, we do offer vegetarian options to accommodate dietary needs.

Q: What should I expect in terms of physical activity?

A: Participants should be prepared for moderate physical activity. Daily hikes will cover 5-7 miles, mostly in the morning. The terrain may vary, with some inclines that could be challenging. It’s a balanced mix of activity and learning, with afternoons dedicated to grief counseling training.

Q: How will the training address safety and first aid?

A: Safety is our top priority. All our guides are trained in wilderness first aid, and we will carry a comprehensive first aid kit. Before departure, we’ll review safety protocols and ensure that everyone is informed about handling potential emergencies.

Q: What will the sleeping arrangements be like?

A: Participants will be camping in tents or hammocks with rainflies, provided either by themselves or through our rental program. The group will set up in designated backcountry areas, experiencing the full immersion of wilderness.


Q: Will I receive any certification upon completion?

A: Yes, upon successful completion of the training, participants will receive a certificate recognizing their proficiency in nature-informed grief and bereavement therapy techniques, applicable to their therapeutic practices.

Q: What if I have dietary restrictions due to health reasons?

A: We strive to accommodate health-related dietary restrictions. Please inform us in advance, and we will work with you to ensure your dietary needs are met within the limitations of our wilderness setting.

Q: How large will the group be?

A: To provide an intimate and focused experience, the group size is limited to 8 participants. This ensures personalized attention and a conducive learning environment.

Questions about the training?

Thanks for submitting!

bottom of page