I am so horribly uncreative, but I did create “tree therapy.” “Tree therapy” is what I used to suggest to my counseling clients who were having trouble getting out, or verbalizing, re haunts that were obviously troubling them. I told them to go into the woods and talk openly about what was troubling them to a tree, encouraging them to “just put it into words.” A similar ploy was to have them put “it” into writing and then ceremonially burn the paper. Sometimes I would encourage them to tell of their woe to a pet, and later to a friend, or a pastor, or family member, or to myself. But the point was to verbalize, to “get it into words,” or (borrowing from Shakespeare), to “unpack my heart with words.” And, to complete the process, it is necessary to take the advice of Richard Rohr and tell of the anguish or self-loathing to one other person, this being tantamount to “confessing our sins one to another.”
It is tremendously powerful to put thoughts and feelings into words. “The grief that does not speak whispers the o’erfraught heart and bids it break,” said Shakespeare. And George Eliot advised, “Speak words which give shape to our anguish.”
Now, there is one other dimension to “tree therapy.” It was also very therapeutic to encourage clients to plant a tree, or any type of plant, or flower and care for it. This was to facilitate “getting out of yourself” which is a basic problem with most garden-variety neuroses.