Wilderness Therapy in Sweden

Swedes and Nature


People in Sweden have been imprinted by the challenges of surviving a harsh climate.  The connection with weather, wind, seasons and a need to be close to nature for well being is deeply rooted.  

Wilderness Therapy


Today, there is a documented mental health crisis among the youth in Sweden.  Established mental health treatments are not able to meet their growing need and calls for help. Wilderness Therapy has one answer in a country of vast open spaces of mountains, forests, lakes and islands.  



The new generation is growing up in a country that quickly is becoming multicultural.  How we address and care for the challenges to integrate diversity will determine the health of our society,  people and the natural environment we are part of and all depend on.  There is also the First Nation, Sapmi, indigenous to the north of Scandinavia, with an urgency to restore their rights to land and culture.  Wilderness Therapy in Sweden will consider the need of a variety of programs for a diverse population. 


Pilot project


Pilot projects are currently being developed to offer young people in need the opportunity to participate in the first Wilderness Therapy expedition in Sweden.  Their symptoms might be depression, anxiety, low self esteem, relational difficulties and/or self-harming behaviors.  

Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy


Wilderness Therapy in Sweden is inspired by the clinical model AEDP, developed by Diana Fosha, PhD, in the USA.  It's a relational healing-oriented, body-centered and transformational model of therapy.   




"We are wired to connect" (Diana Fosha, 2010)..... with each other and with Nature.  The combination of Wilderness Therapy and the pathos of AEDP will provide an ultimate opportunity for restoring resilience through safe, nurturing relationships with experienced therapists and nature guides.  

Maria Palmer


Maria is founder of VIS (Wilderness Therapy in Sweden), social worker and licensed psychotherapist, Maria is educated and active with the AEDP network and has over 30 years experience as a therapist for children, adolescents, families and couples.  While living in the USA, she was introduced to Wilderness Therapy as a treatment option.  Impressed with the results, she is passionate about  introducing this modality to youth and families in Sweden as well.  


Niklas Taliaferro


Niklas works with youth in a residential treatment program and as a wilderness guide.  He is educated in Sweden and in the USA and is passionate about sharing his knowledge and experience about living and working with people in nature.  He is the co-founder of the association Naturliv, offering a wide variety of courses based in the beautiful forests outside of Stockholm.  He is also participating in the development of Wilderness Therapy in Sweden.  In his free time, he likes to work with different handicrafts in nature. 


Petra Ellora Cau Wetterholm


Petra works in Stockholm, Sweden as a Licensed Clinical Psychologist, a Certified Nature and Forest Therapy Guide and as a Mindfulness Facilitator.  As the founder and director of Shinrin-Yoku Sweden, Petra offers ”Forest Bathing” and Forest Therapy as public and private events, individual ecotherapeutic sessions as well as lectures and workshops around Sweden and abroad.  She is passionate to introduce Forest Therapy in Primary Health Care, as a treatment for stress related disorders, anxiety and depression, as well as participating in the development of Wilderness Therapy in Sweden.