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Leighton Russell

Mathew Wilson, Writing 2

May 17, 2017


Nature Based Therapy

The relaxing and enjoyable properties of nature are generally accepted by many people.

However, there are some who either do not know this truth or do not accept it as fact, and far

from being a merely a difference in preference, it is often such people that need to know this

aspect of nature the most. Therapists and counselors are making it more common practice to send

their patients with stress related disorders to a nature-based therapy program.

In the article How Do Participants in Nature-Based Therapy Experience and Evaluate

Their Rehabilitation? a group of Swedish researches show from the patients perspective what it

is like to go through such a therapy session from start to finish. My first job was to study and

understand the initial text in order to most appropriately be able to translate into another genre.

Here I used thoughts from Bunns article How to Read Like a Writer and decided to ask

questions about why the author or in this case the authors make certain choices. As Bunn says,

the kinds of questions you ask should be determined by the genre of writing you are reading

and since the genre of academic writing is based heavily on the analysis of evidence across

nearly all its disciplines, I thought it was appropriate to question the authors choice of evidence,

not merely its reliability but for insight into the authors intentions. Interestingly, I found that one

of the types of evidence used was direct quotes from the patients who had gone through the

nature based therapy. In these quotes, participants explained how their lives had changed, and

their stress disorders dissipated throughout this treatment. This revealed the important emotional

implications of this research, that it focused on bettering their quality of life. In the use of these

dictated answers to simple questions like how are you doing? the authors reveal that achieving

a place of emotional and even spiritual stability is the importance of this work. Though they

collected qualitative data, it was still very much in the context of the academic genre it was

written in: a peer reviewed journal article. I began to wonder how the same evidence would fit

into a more emotion based genre of writing, namely poetry.

I found that this qualitative and more emotion based evidence fit into my new genre quite

well, however I had to make the decision of rejecting the more analytical evidence. The use of

logic based arguments and analytical conclusions is seldom used in poetry, and thus I made the

choice not to use this aspect of the initial translation in my poem. Although this did cause my

translation to lose the reputability that would serve it in other genres, it did not make much of a

difference in poetry were such authority is often disregarded.

Another motive for me to translate this academic article into the genre of poetry was the

ability to shorten it and condense it down. I think this ties in very well with Zinssers article

Simplicity and the overall theme that meaningless fluff gets in the way of the true argument of

any form of writing. This thought can be seen in his opening line which adequately sums up his

thoughts throughout the entire article Clutter is the disease of American writing. We are a

society strangling in unnecessary words, circular constructions, pompous frills and meaningless

jargon. While translating a half dozen pages of material into a handful of lines is by no means

comprehensive it did force me as a reader to choose what I thought was the most important part

of the initial text, in the context of my new genre of poetry. Im not saying that this entire article

can be summed up in a short poem, but I believe that if it were, it would look something like my


I thought my translation fit very well into the poetic genre that I choose especially in its

use of length. Poetry represents the ultimate distilment of an idea, thought or theme, and thus it is

often not lengthy to serve the purpose of most appropriately optimize the efficiency of word use.

Just like in every genre, the title plays an important role in expressing the purpose of the author

and in my translation, this demonstrated the thought that being in nature not only feels enjoyable,

but that it is actually therapeutic in the most quantifiable and goal oriented way. This was an idea

or theme taken directly from my initial text.

I also had to consider the audience of the initial text and the new audience of my

translation. In most academic articles, the audience is professionals in their respective field, and

in this case, the authors are addressing professional therapists and counselors. My audience

would probably be individuals who may be in need of this therapy but have not received it yet.

Because of the length of a poem, especially a short one like this, it can be read quickly and

passed on quickly finding itself read by many readers and displayed in many places, even

possibly on the walls of a counselors office addressing someone who may not yet know the

healing powers of nature. This presented a challenge, to target an audience that does not yet see

their own problem, and are therefore not looking for any solution. However I believe my

translation met this problem by clearly articulating the audience of the text in the first stanza as

those that deny beauty and reject peace.

Finally, my translation did have the ultimate goal of maintaining the argument that the

original work had. In the words of the authors, nature was an important source for the

existential reflections to arise and develop (Salin). This revealed the central argument of the text

that the deeper and spiritual reflections that come from being in nature are what most helped the

participants to recover. I believe that I adequately maintained this central argument in my poem,

especially in the description of the voice of the personified Mother Nature. That as you listen

to the song of the daisy, a time of metacognition arises that allows your soul to be rejuvenated,

your identity reborn, your passion rekindled, and your peace regained.

In conclusion, I found that translating this particular article into a poem allowed me to

highlight certain aspects of it, namely the emotion side of it, and also to bring out other aspects

of the topic like the folly of rejecting nature and thus bring a more well-rounded view of the

topic of nature-based therapy to the table. While it does not encapsulate everything from the

initial text, my poetic translation optimally accentuates the most important aspects of the article

in a poetic context.

Works Cited

Bunn, Mike. How to Read Like a Writer. 2011. In Writing Spaces: Readings on Writing,

Volume 2. Parlor Press. Copyright 2011. Print.

Salin, Eva, Josefa Vega Matuszczyk, Gunnar Ahlborg, Jr., and Patrik Grahn. "How Do

Participants in Nature-Based Therapy Experience and Evaluate Their Rehabilitation."

Journal of Theraputic Horticulture 22.1 (2012): 9-22. Print.

Zimmerman, William. Simplicity. 1980. Simplicity. In On Writing Well: An Informal Guide to

Writing Nonfiction. New York: Harper & Row. Copyright 1980. Web.