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Nature Informed
Biopsychosocial-Spiritual Wellbeing

A Nature Informed Health and Wellbeing Model

The "Nature Informed BioPsychoSocial-Spiritual Model of Well-being" is a sophisticated framework that builds on G.L. Engel’s (1977) Biopsychosocial model, integrating the role of nature in human health. This enriched model underscores the profound impact of natural environments on our biological, psychological, social, and spiritual wellness. It suggests that our well-being is deeply interconnected with our ecological surroundings, influencing everything from our physical health to our sense of purpose and connection. By factoring in the natural world, the model presents a more comprehensive understanding of human health in the context of human development, health, and disease.

Nature Informed Health & Wellbeing Model

1. Biological Wellbeing – Pycho-Evolutionary

Incorporating a psycho-evolutionary framework, this dimension of the model examines the profound influence of biological determinants on overall well-being. It encompasses the integral aspects of physical health, genetic predispositions, and the physiological underpinnings that influence psychological and emotional states. Central to this nature-informed perspective is the acknowledgment of the symbiotic relationship between our exposure to natural elements—such as sunlight and clean air—and the enhancement of physical health and mental health. This approach underscores the evolutionary benefits derived from our interaction with the natural environment, which is pivotal in the optimization of our well-being.

2. Mental Wellbeing – Attention Restoration

Drawing from the principles of Attention Restoration Theory, this facet of the model is dedicated to the cognitive domain of well-being. It addresses the spectrum of cognitive capabilities, from basic perceptual skills to complex processes such as reasoning, problem-solving, and creativity. It also embraces the critical elements of attentional capacity and mental resilience. The nature-informed model posits that engagement with natural environments acts as a catalyst for cognitive rejuvenation, aiding in the restoration of attentional resources depleted by the demands of modern life. This restorative effect of nature not only enhances immediate cognitive functions such as memory and focus but also contributes to the long-term maintenance of cognitive health, fostering emotional regulation and psychological flexibility.

3. Social Wellbeing – Attachment Theory

In the Nature Informed BioPsychoSocial-Spiritual Model of Well-being, social connections are nurtured through the prism of Attachment Theory. This theory emphasizes the fundamental human need for strong, enduring relationships. In the context of natural settings, these social bonds can be further enriched. The interaction with nature facilitates opportunities for social engagement and encourages the development of reciprocal relationships not only between individuals but also between humans and the environment. This bidirectional kinship emphasizes that as we care for our natural surroundings, we also derive immense psychosocial benefits, reinforcing our innate need for connection and belonging.

4. Spiritual Wellbeing – Psycho-Spiritual

Central to the psycho-spiritual dimension of the model is the profound bond between an individual and the natural world, which is recognized as a wellspring of existential significance and intentionality. This aspect acknowledges the profound experiences that nature can evoke—such as awe, a sensation of transcendence, and a deep-seated feeling of unity with the environment. These experiences often lead to a sense of greater purpose and can contribute to an individual's spiritual journey. By fostering this intimate connection with nature, the model highlights the therapeutic potential of the environment to enrich the human spirit, to offer solace, and to nurture a sense of belonging to something larger than oneself.

Integrative Approaches and Practices

•    Evidence-based Nature Therapies: Incorporate Nature Informed practices, such as Forest Bathing, horticultural therapy, and ecotherapy, into traditional therapeutic frameworks to enhance healing and well-being.

•    Nature Mindfulness and Meditation: Utilize mindfulness exercises in natural settings to deepen the connection with the present moment and foster a sense of inner peace and awareness.

•    Ecopsychology Practices: Engage in practices that explore and nurture the psychological relationship between humans and the natural world, promoting eco-conscious behaviors and sustainability.

Heidi Schreiber-Pan, Ph.D.: Fostering Wellbeing Through Nature

Dr. Heidi Schreiber-Pan is a distinguished leader in the field of Nature Informed Therapy, widely recognized for her innovative contributions to mental health through the Nature-Informed BioPsychoSocial-Spiritual Model of Well-being. With a rich professional history spanning over twenty years, Dr. Schreiber-Pan has consistently been at the forefront of bridging the gap between the natural world and psychological practice. Holding esteemed qualifications, including a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology and a Master's degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Dr. Schreiber-Pan has grounded her research and therapeutic methods in robust academic foundations. Her Ph.D. dissertation, which focused on connectedness to nature and the role of spirituality in predicting well-being and resilience, has laid the cornerstone for her groundbreaking work in the field. As a certified Nature Informed Therapist and a vanguard of ecopsychology, Dr. Schreiber-Pan's pioneering research and practice have significantly contributed to the integration of ecological principles within traditional psychological frameworks. Her therapeutic approach is informed by a deep conviction that nature is intrinsically linked to our emotional, cognitive, and spiritual well-being. Dr. Schreiber-Pan's dedication to this integrative approach led to the founding of the Nature Informed Therapy Center, where her transformative therapeutic model has positively impacted countless lives. Her role as an educator has further amplified her influence, with workshops, seminars, and scholarly publications spreading her insights across the mental health community. Her popular book “Taming the Anxious Mind”, “The Outside Within” have bee acclaimed for it’s practical tools to manage anxiety and insightful exploration of the human-nature connection. An enthusiastic advocate for the outdoors, Dr. Schreiber-Pan's passion extends beyond her clinical and academic endeavors. She actively participates in volunteer work with environmental organizations and her efforts to promote green practices within her community. Dr. Schreiber-Pan's visionary perspective not only prioritizes individual wellness but also emphasizes the importance of environmental conservation as a component of public health. Her unwavering commitment to this holistic view has established her as an esteemed figure in her field and a guiding light for those pursuing a harmonious, nature-centered approach to health and wellness.

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Embark on a transformative journey with Nature Informed Therapy and embrace a holistic approach to well-being that honors the symbiotic relationship between our inner health and the natural world.

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