An exploratory study of the use of metaphor in the practice of ecotherapy

Van der Heyden, Yoav (2004-03)

Thesis (MA)--University of Stellenbosch, 2004.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to explore the underlying mechanisms inherent to the interaction between human beings and the natural environment. Using an exploratory approach, the study aimed to uncover conceptual understandings of the Ecotherapy process. As a platform for deeper investigation, the metaphor as a narrative symbol presented by participants was offered for interpretation. Using the transcript of an anonymous participant's experience during an ecotherapy trail, four trained ecotherapy facilitators from the National Peace Accord Trust provided open interpretations of the underlying mechanisms of the process. From an analysis of selected excerpts presented by participating facilitators, key themes are introduced and discussed as source of interest for future research. Predominant themes that emerge from the study are the significance of symbolism, the notion of embodiment, the continuum in the process of connection as well as existence of a spiritual dimensions to the healing process in the natural environment. A number of the shortcomings of previous research, as well as within this investigation are discussed. This study suggests that there is a definite need for further qualitative and emperical investigation of the ecotherapy process as a therapeutic intervention. The findings of this study are intended both as a platform for future research initiatives as well as a resource for ecotherapy facilitators and participants.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die doel van hierdie studie was om die onderliggende meganismes inherent aan die interaksie tussen die mens en die natuurlike omgewing te ondersoek. Die studie het beaag om met 'n eksploratiewe benadering die konseptuele beginsels van die Ekoterapie proses bloot te lê. As vertrekpunt is die metafoer, soss beskrywe deur die deelnemers, as narratiewe simbool beskou vir meer dieperliggende interpretasie. Die transkripsies van die deelnemers se ervarings gedurende die ekoterapeutiese staptog is deur vier professionele ekoterapeutiese fasiliteerders van die "National Peace Accord Trust" geïnterpreteerom die onderliggende meganismes van die proses te identifiseer. As verwysingsbron vir verdere navorsing is die gereduseerde opsommings van die betrokke fasiliteerders geanaliseer, sentrale temas geïdentifiseer en bespreek. Sentrale temas wat uit die studie na vore gekom het, was die betekenisvolheid van simboliek, die besef van liggaamlikheid, die kontinuum in die proses van konneksie-vorming, sowel as die voorkoms van spirituele dimensies geduurende die helingsproses in die natuurlike omgewing. Tekortkominge van vorige, sowel as die huidige navorsing, is ook aangespreek. Dit blyk uit die studie dat In defnitiewe behoefte aan verdere kwalitatiewe en empmese navorsing rondom die ekoterapie proses as terapeutiese intervensie, bestaan. Die bevindinge van hierdie studie behoort te dien as 'n vertrekpunt vir toekomstige navorsing, sowel as 'n verwysingsbron vir ekoterapeutiese fasiliteerders en deelnemers.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/49839
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