Presentation Details

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Eleventh International Literacy and Education Research Network Conference on Learning

The Counselor's Use of Nature to Enhance a Sense of Belonging

Dr Darline Hunter, Dr Cheryl Sawyer.

Many students, especially those of diverse language and cultural backgrounds feel disconnected from peers, school, society, and themselves. The counselor, through the use of nature, is a prime resource for increasing a sense of connection and belonging to the learning community. The latest neuro-biological research indicates that there is a genetic need to feel connected to others. The educator/counselor must attend to this basic biological and emotional/social need to belong in order to facilitate learning. This sense of connectedness has the potential for decreasing problematic behaviors and increasing behaviors which enhance learning. Counseling sessions which incorporate the use of nature and animals can enhance this innate need to feel connected to others, which can then in turn, increase the potential for learning.


Dr Darline Hunter  (United States)
Assistant Professor
School of Education
University of Houston, Clear Lake

Dr Darlene Hunter is a counseling psychologist and assistant professor of counselor education at University of Houston, Clear Lake, Texas. Her research interests are in the counseling areas of spirituality, emotionally disturbed children, multicultural and pet therapy.

Dr Cheryl Sawyer  (United States)

School of Education
University of Houston, Clear Lake

  • Counseling
  • Diverse cultures
  • Nature
  • Pet Therapy

(Virtual Presentation, English)