February 28, 2017, by sustainablenottingham

Being Outdoors

Dr. Kathryn Morris-Roberts, based at the University’s Counselling Service, talks more about her initiative to make use of outdoor campus spaces for counselling workshops.

What inspired you to start running the Being Outdoors workshops?

Typically counselling sessions and workshops with students take place indoors. However, research has shown how our natural environment can support our sense of well-being (MIND, 2013); the workshops aim to harness this to help manage symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress. The sessions are based around the seasons, aiming to introduce participants to being outdoors and connecting with their sensory awareness through a series of participatory exercises.  These exercises are drawn from a variety of counselling traditions, including ecotherapy and mindfulness.


What are the potential benefits for students looking to get involved in the sessions?

Students are under a lot of pressure to perform, both academically and socially, and often holding down a part time job. A combination of these pressures can mean students often struggle with common issues including perfectionism, procrastination and anxiety. When stress levels get too high, many find it difficult or impossible to focus and concentrate on their studying.

Autumn leavesThese sessions aim to arm students with a variety of insights and techniques that can be used in other contexts. They encourage participants to focus on the experience of the present moment, making use of outdoor spaces on campus.


What can UoN campuses and outdoor spaces offer us?

As adults, we are increasingly funnelled into being indoors, for work, study and socialising. Encouraging workshop participants to consider the benefits of making use of these gardens and hidden corners of campus is a great way to change perspective and support our everyday sense of well-being.


These workshops are free and can be booked via the University of Nottingham Counselling website. There are a maximum number of spaces per workshop, with sessions running 9.45am to 12pm. Upcoming dates for Being Outdoors workshops are:

  • 20th March
  • 19th June
  • 18th September (PG only)
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