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My thinking about using Placefulness in coaching and consultancy

Placefulness: Project


The environments we spend time in shape our identities and our thinking.

When you walk into a room do you feel the same as when you walk into a forest? I imagine the answer is no. Our bodies are tuned to sense what is happening around us even if we are not consciously aware of it. Placefulness involves tuning in to where you are with both your mind and body and letting the place support your thinking. Many of the great thinkers, artists and composers in history had their best ideas whilst outside and especially whilst walking. There is now much scientific evidence to support what we have known for generations, that walking helps our creative thinking and eases distress.

Being in nature is particularly beneficial to us as the research around Shinrin-yoku or Forest Bathing has shown and the benefits include..

  • lowering the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline

  • suppressing the sympathetic or 'fight or flight' system

  • enhancing the parasympathetic or 'rest and recover' system

  • lowering blood pressure and increasing heart-rate variability

and this leads to a better immune system, more energy, reduced anxiety, depression, anger and stress.

Our bodies are also always vibrating, these vibrations are generated by our heart beating, our breathing and also through our emotional state (Traube-Hering waves). The world around us is vibrating too and through these vibrations we 'notice' each other whether the other is a person, animal or plant, although this is often beyond our conscious awareness. This type of attention is often called involuntary attention or 'soft fascination'. This type of attention requires no mental effort. To listen to the birds singing or watch clouds floating in the sky or the sun setting requires no effort and this gives our head a break. Our mind can wander, reflect and help restore our ability to think more clearly and creatively.

The power of Placefulness is in taking mindfulness and forest bathing to another level. A level where you are fully present in nature and let yourself be led by it as you consider the questions that are keeping you awake at night. It is about being part of the ecology of the world - being eco-led rather than ego-led.


Listen to the place you are in, follow where it draws you and notice how your thinking changes.

"Nature takes our breath away and breathes new life into us." (Qing Li, p222)


Scientists research effects of infrasonic vibrations in humans 

Shinrin-Yoku: The Art and Science of Forest-Bathing, Dr Qing Li. Penguin Life, 2018

The shaping of us: How everyday spaces structure our lives, behaviour and well-being. Lily Bernheimer. Robinson 2017


A typical Placefulness coaching experience includes

  1. Settling in to the place where we are meeting for our coaching session by noticing the sounds, sights and smells around us for a few minutes.

  2. Bringing to awareness the issue(s) that you most want to deal with and working together to find out where to focus first - what is most figural for you here in this place.

  3. Keeping the question you are focusing on in your mind look around and see where you are drawn to go. This may take many forms including...

    • walking and talking

    • looking closely at a leaf bud or other natural object

    • collecting items to map out people and issues you want to explore

    • drawing

    • writing

    • sitting in the cabin and looking out at nature and talking

  4. You may want to repeat steps 2 and 3 a few times as your understanding grows.

  5. As the session closes we reflect on what has happened, how your awareness has changed, identify any actions you wish to take and finally consider what is left to do, if anything.


Together we can experiment with the best places for you and I will be there to encourage and support you as your ideas ebb and flow and begin to take shape. Once you have a shaped idea we can explore and experiment with what comes next.

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