The capacity of front-line public services is crucial to everyone’s wellbeing: these include the NHS, local authority functions, and parts of the voluntary sector. Currently we are seeing a severe upturn in burnout and staff turnover in many areas, alongside rising demand and shrinking resources.
During 2019, we ran Woodland Resilience Immersions for Hospital Doctors, GP’s, and mental health professionals. In 2021, we aim to work mainly with group bookings from a specific organisation or team, rather than open programmes. The description below gives you an indication of the programme format.
WOODLAND RESILIENCE IMMERSION FOR GP’S
Nature-based ways to resource yourself and your practice
HAZEL HILL WOOD, NEAR SALISBURY: JUNE 10-11, 2019
A new approach for health professionals:
The endless grind between rising demands and shrinking resources puts many health professionals at risk of depletion or burnout. Woodland Resilience Immersions offer a different way to gain new insights and skills, to raise your resilience and nourish your wellbeing.
These intensives have been jointly developed by Westminster Centre for Resilience and Hazel Hill Trust, which runs a 70-acre woodland centre near Salisbury.
WHO IS IT FOR?
Participants to date include a wide range of professionals in the NHS, and other parts of the health and care sector, such as hospices and private care homes, including hospital doctors, GPs and mental health professionals, with participants ranging from junior doctors to consultants, from carers to senior managers.
WHAT WILL I GET FROM IT?
You can expect an array of new, practical resilience skills which you can use and share with colleagues, even when time is very short; a sense of renewal and resourcing; fresh insights into systemic issues of stress and burnout for your team and the wider organisation. Here are some participant quotes:
“Techniques were shown that can be used daily.”
“I felt the staff were very aware of all the participants and really cared about our wellbeing.”
“I want to leave behind in this fire the idea that showing emotion makes me weak.”
Formal evaluations by Westminster Centre for Resilience are available, and show significant reductions in mood disturbance, tension and other factors.
Whilst the idea of Nature immersion for medics may seem novel, there is good research evidence for it, for example in the book Your Brain on Nature from Harvard Medical School. Programmes can be tailored to different client groups and a range of formats.
The three main formats offered are:
One-night residential: Typically a 24 to 36 hour workshop including overnight stay at Hazel Hill Wood (see more below). Key elements include:
- Conservation work and physical activities together to de-stress, relax into the woods and shift gear.
- An evening campfire circle for sharing, mutual support and insights on work stresses
- Learning about resilience from the woodland ecosystem, and practical tools for our own wellbeing and our teams.
- Practicing simple techniques based on applied neurobiology, mindfulness and traditional sources which can be used in everyday work.
- Processes and time to consider better approaches for tackling work challenges and systemic pressures.
Action Learning Programme: A group of 10-18 participants share a journey over 4-8 months exploring issues in depth, which may be individual, team, or systemic. Each programme typically involves residentials at Hazel Hill Wood, plus group sessions in the workplace, online support, Skype calls etc. These programmes can be delivered in partnership with Westminster Centre for Resilience or with others, or by our team.
One-day non-residential: This would cover some elements of the one-night residential, but on a taster basis.
Woodland Resilience Intensives have at least two facilitators, one a medical professional, one from Hazel Hill, both with extensive experience of resilience programmes for the health sector. The lead facilitators are:
Marcos Frangos General Manager of Hazel Hill Trust. Has led numerous resilience programmes for health professionals and other front-line services, and managed wellbeing strategy in large local authority.
David Peters trained as a GP and has worked in a range of professional roles in the NHS. Founder and Director of the Westminster Centre for Resilience (WCR), now an Emeritus Professor.
Daghni Rajasingam is a consultant and Deputy Director for Postgraduate Medical Education at Guys and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and has worked closely with WCR for several years.
Alan Heeks Founder/Chair of Hazel Hill Trust. Many years’ experience in using ecosystems as a model for human resilience, and has created the Seven Seeds of Natural Happiness model. See www.naturalhappiness.net.
Jane Sanders is a psychotherapist and group leader with a special interest in ecopsychology and deep ecology, with several years’ experience of leading resilience and wellbeing groups at Hazel Hill Wood.
Alan Kellas worked as a GP in NHS, private holistic and self-help settings, then as a consultant NHS community and inpatient psychiatrist for children and adults with learning disabilities, and as tutor on the whole person care programme at Bristol Medical School. He has a deep interest in nature connections as a factor in health.
ABOUT HAZEL HILL WOOD
Hazel Hill is a magical 70-acre wood, near Salisbury. It has simple, yet beautifully crafted off-grid wooden buildings with lovely indoor and outdoor group spaces, basic accommodation in bedrooms and sleeping lofts (or camping), good hot showers and compost loos, plus a sauna. The wood is run by an educational charity whose aims are to promote wellbeing, resilience and sustainability through programmes at the wood for a wide variety of client groups. The food is outstanding!
WHAT WILL IT COST?
The total cost for a 24-hour residential is around £250 per person, including facilitation, accommodation, and food, for 14 participants. If this cost is beyond your budget, some funding support may be available through Westminster Centre for Resilience or Hazel Hill Trust.