Beth Collier

Course Leader

Beth Collier (M.A., MBACP), is a Nature Allied Psychotherapist and supervisor, seeing all her clients in natural settings working in allegiance with nature to explore our emotional worlds. She started to work with clients within nature in 2012 and since 2014 has only offered nature-based sessions.  Beth has theorised our relationships with nature from an applied psychotherapeutic perspective, developing Nature Allied Psychotherapy as a modality of practice for ongoing client work. Her forthcoming book Nature Allied Psychotherapy; Exploring Relationships with Self, Others and Nature will be published by Routledge. Beth has a B.A. (Joint hons.) in Comparative Religion and Social Anthropology, an M.A. in Psychotherapy and Counselling and an M.A. in Human Rights.

Beth is a naturalist and bushcraft practitioner with an interest in traditional ecological knowledge and ethnopsychology. She enjoys natural navigation, tracking and basketry and has experience of wilderness living in Scotland and Sweden. Beth has a certificate in Advanced Wilderness First Aid. She has a life long passion for nature stemming from a rural upbringing.

Beth is the Founder of Wild in the City, an organisation supporting the well-being of urban residents  through connection with nature, offering experiences in bushcraft, natural history and ecotherapy; using the skills of our ancestors to nurture a deeper connection with the natural world and a sense of belonging to communities past and present.

Beth has a particular interest in supporting people of colour in finding their place in UK natural settings and creates opportunities for the representation of black leadership in nature.

Her work has produced ethnographies of our intimate, emotional relationships with nature. This includes ethnography of disconnection and it’s impact on the development of cultural attitudes which shun nature; experiences of people of colour in nature in UK settings and white attitudes to black presence in nature.

Beth regularly speaks at conferences and seminars on nature and well-being, from psychotherapeutic and anthropological perspectives including recent presentations at the Smithsonian (Washington D.C.), Tate Modern, Association of Social Anthropologists and Friends of the Earth. Her practice and research has been featured by Therapy for Black Girls, BBC’s Cities: Nature’s New Wild, Ep3 Outcasts, BBC CountryfileBBC London News, BBC London Radio, ITV News, ITV Lorraine and MTV Timberland Presents Concrete Green with Loyle Carner.

Beth is a Fellow of the National Association for Environmental Educators, a Fellow of the London Environmental Educators Forum, a member of Natural England’s Nature Recovery Network management group, and a visiting lecturer at the Wellbeing Faculty of the Institute for Arts in Therapy and Education. She is a former Trustee of the National Park City Foundation.

Beth established the Nature Therapy School to provide high quality training to psychotherapists and outdoor professionals interested in collaborating with nature in their work supporting emotional health. She has run trainings in Nature Allied Psychotherapy since 2014.

Beth worked in the human rights field for 16 years, the last 8 of which she ran a research consultancy working in partnership with UNHCR and was commissioned as an international expert on gender based persecution. Between 2008 – 2010 she was Research and Policy Manager at the Mental Health Providers Forum, leading four panels of experts in a review of methodologies used by NICE in the evaluation of the effectiveness of psychological therapies from scientific, philosophical and service user perspectives.  She is co-author of Recovery and resilience: African, African Caribbean and South Asian women’s narratives of recovering from mental distress, London, 2011, Mental Health Foundation and Survivor Research and is author of Country of Origin Information and Women; Researching Gender and Persecution within the Context of Asylum and Human Rights Claims, London, 2007, Asylum Aid.

Beth is a regular speaker on nature and health from psychotherapeutic and anthropological perspectives and has recently given the following conference presentations;

  • Breaking Colonization’s Hold on the Environment; panelist, Taking Nature Black, Audubon Naturalist Society, (virtual) Washington DC, 26 February 2021
  • When Eco-Anxiety isn’t Eco-Anxiety; Psychotherapeutic perspectives on presentations of eco-anxiety within the therapeutic process, notes from Nature Allied Psychotherapy, European Association of Social Anthropologists, 16th EASA Biennial Conference, Panel: Privileged fear: Europe and the concern for environmental catastrophes, (virtual) University of Lisbon, 22 July 2020
  • Nature Allied Psychotherapy, Confer, Cafe Psy, London, 15 November 2019
  • Cultural Practice as Environmental Activism, Women’s Environmental Leadership Summit, Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum, Washington DC, 12-14 September 2019
  • Black Presence in Green Spaces: an ethnography of overt and covert contestation of belonging in natural settings in the UK, Association of Social Anthropologists, University of East Anglia, Norwich, 4 September 2019
  • Nature Allied Psychotherapy, Wild in the City Festival, New Addington, 19 August 2019
  • Nature as Therapy, TateLates, Tate Modern, London, 26 July 2019
  • Keynote:  Nature and Well-being, Launch of ‘More Trees Please’ campaign, Friends of the Earth, Garden Museum, London,  19 June 2019
  • People of Colour in Nature, Belonging and un-belonging in the English countryside, MK Gallery, Milton Keynes, 2 May 2019
  • Nature based Psychotherapy as a modality for ongoing client work, Small Earth, Confer, Snape Maltings, Suffolk, 9 November 2018
  • Black History Month: Black Presence in Green Spaces, Wild in the City, Diorama Arts Centre, London, 29 October 2018
  • Making more space for nature – from a relational perspective, The UK in 100 seconds premiere, Friends of the Earth, Prince Charles Cinema, London, 24 September 2018
  • Does time in nature improve our mental health?, Panel discussion, Conservation Optimism Summit, University of Oxford and Zoological Society of London, Dulwich College, April 2017
  • Challenges of urban lifestyles to wellbeing and the value of nature to emotional health, The Making of a National Park City, Royal Festival Hall, Sept 2016
  • Natural Therapy: The benefits of nature within urban lives, London College of Communication, Wild: ReNaturing the City symposium, London, 10 February 2016
  • Nature and Emotional Health: Using Nature as a Therapy Room, London Environmental Educators Forum, Fellowship Awards, London Zoo, 12 January 2016
  • Making Greater London the World’s First National Park City, Valuing Our Natural Capital: A Health Perspective, Official Launch, City Hall, London, 17 July 2015
  • Reimagining Well-being, Health and Well-Being and the New Forest National Park; Healthy Forest, Healthy People: A Joint Agenda?, Beaulieu, 28 April 2015
  • Reimaging London’s Emotional Well-being, What if We Made London a National City Park?, Greater London National Park, Southbank Centre, 24 February 2015
  • Emotional Leadership: Responsibilities, Risks and Competencies for Outdoor Practitioners, Institute for Outdoor Learning, National Conference, Loughborough,17-18 October 2014
  • Therapy in Urban Natural Spaces; Developing Positive Relationships In and With Nature, University of Brighton, Ecotherapy Symposium, 20 June 2014

Barbra Chengu

Course Administrator

Barbra is a mathematics teacher by training, with a background in statistics research on agriculture. She was formerly an administrator at the High Court in Harare. Barbra grew up in a small town in Zimbabwe. She has extensive knowledge of the special benefits and medicinal uses of indigenous trees and shrubs. Barbra has four children and spends most of her time tending her smallholding in Mashonaland. She is also a member of the CamFed Association which caters for the education of the girl child in Africa.